Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kitty Olympics

I have two cats at this point, I'm not a crazy cat lady yet. I'm simply someone being driven slowly mad by the creatures that inhabit my house. For some reason, my cats have recently decided that nighttime is the right time for making a racket. They used to do a bit of wrestling and get it all out of their tiny little systems by about midnight or so...no more. These days, it's full scale, all out open warfare from roughly 11 pm until the wee hours, the combat usually taking place at the end of my bed. It's such a big sister/little brother dynamic going on right now, you can even run the dialogue in your head. She: "God, you're SUCH a dork! Get out of my room!" He: "Make me, you can't even catch a bug...OWWWwwww!" She: (pitch rising exponentially) "Get out of here now! Mooooooommmmmmmm!" He: "I wasn't doing anything and she jumped on me, moooooooommmmm!" This is only the opening salvo for the evening's entertainment. The activity level usually reaches fever pitch at about 3 am when one or the other of these feline tornadoes decides to raid my eight year old's room for anything from legos, Hot Wheels cars, marbles, or my personal favorite...a golf ball. If you've never personally experienced the sound of a golf ball bouncing down hard wooden stairs at three in the morning, you've really missed out. It begins with an odd sort of rumble as the ball makes its way down the uncarpeted hall, you don't wake up, but it pierces your conciousness in a small way. Your dream of a field of sunflowers suddenly involves monster trucks and earth moving equipment. Once the ball reaches the cliff edge, it stops due to the physics of the staircase...this is not acceptable to the furry hunter. The target must keep moving for this game to be any fun at all. One extra nudge from the kitty idiot and the fun REALLY begins. The golf ball tips over the edge in what I imagine is extreme slow motion and hits the first step with a fairly, but not yet earth-shattering clunk. This will not wake you, but your dream has left the sunflower field entirely and has shifted completely to the monster truck/earth moving equipment rally. Now the ball has picked up speed and the remainder of the stairs are progressively louder, the CLACK/CLUNK at an increasing speed will actually propel you out of your bed to head for the nearest doorway, despite the fact that you do not live in an earthquake-prone area. Once you come to full awareness, you begin to puzzle out what has just happened. A quick look out the window reassures you that no sort of explosive device has detonated in front of your home. A glance around the room confirms that the house is still standing. One look at the wide-eyed creature crouched under the chair and the truth begins to dawn...this is all HIS fault. He sees comprehension spreading over your face, he knows you know and it's time for damage control. At this point, the furry doofus decides this is a good time to do the twining around the ankles while purring loudly trick...he's sure it's going to work as it has saved him so many times in the past. He's never been so wrong in his short (and getting shorter) life. By now, you're wide awake and any hope of simply falling back to sleep is lost, someone is going to pay. The cat realizes this and takes off, following the same path as the offending golf ball. After a fifteen minute search for the evil beast, who by now has forgotten his crime (the benefit of having a brain the size of a walnut), you're completely awake with hours to go before sunrise. The cats are thrilled to have an audience for the remainer of the evening's competition and pull out all the stops. You are then treated to kitty Greco-Roman wrestling, this generally involves a fair amount of growling, rabbit kicks and an alarming amount of hair flying around the living room. The next event is kitty cross country racing, any and all traversable surface is fair ground. The starting point is usually the back of the couch, followed by a leap over (not always successfuly completed by all competitors) the coffee table, a sprint from dining room to kitchen. This is where things get interesting as the terrain change is not always handled well by at least one, if not both racers. Someone enters an out of control skid, not stopping until a spectactular crash into the refrigerator. Recovery is key at this juncture, as the corner by the bathroom must be successfully navigated in order for the contender to have a chance at winning this event. A final sprint through the office, down the uncarpeted hallway for the final corner back into the living room, a leap back onto the back of the couch (again, not always well executed and sometimes culminating in an inglorious crash onto the floor behind the couch) and the winner of the cross country event is crowned. The final competition of the night is mighty hunter games, a very similar event to the one that started the evening's recreation. The twist in our final event is that, instead of inanimate objects as the prey, the cats have decided to stalk and scare the crap out of each other. It begins with the winner of the previous event attempting to lord their win over the other from a perch in the back of the couch. The loser, not being a very good sport at all, has decided that a king of the hill type game will even the playing field. After a far more graceful leap and ensuing tackle, both cats disappear from view behind the couch, you know they've survived the fall from the amount of thuds and yowls being emitted from no man's land. Soon, one emerges and heads of into the darkened kitchen as if their tail was on fire, closely followed by the other. A few more circuts around the downstairs, several more skids across the kitchen floor and a minimum of one more face plant into the appliances and the game is over. I don't even think anyone ever wins that game due to the distinctly disgruntled looks on both their faces.

This is the point that you come to believe you can go back to bed for a few hours, the cats must be exhausted and will need some sleep. You're dreaming, they wait until you are NEARLY, but not quite, asleep and come looking for affection and kudos for a game well played. With my cats, it generally involves loud purring and attempt to take over my pillow...or use me as theirs.

And my friends without cats think I'm mean for waking them if I see them sleeping during daylight hours.