We took the 6 Subway from Queens to Manhattan, to my sister’s apartment, on Saturday night, after our visit with Bill’s daughters. It worked out that she was away for the weekend. Liz has two cats, Fred and Wilma, who are fine staying alone for a couple of days but didn’t seem to mind when we moved in for a night.
Fred is a big, gray, tom cat my sister adopted from a shelter. He’s missing part of his right ear and what’s left is a mangled lump of fur, giving him some unnecessary street cred. He was a biter when he first came home with Liz and scratched anyone walking by but, over time, she’s broken him down to being the lover he is now (until he’s had enough and he’ll let you know when that is). When I finally sat down to relax, at the end of a long day, I became the object of Fred’s affection. He jumped up on the back of the couch, wedged himself between the wall and me and proceeded to nuzzle and rub his head against mine. He’s done this before, to us and others, it’s one of his quirks. If you sit down long enough in his presence you will be pampered by the big guy. He burrowed and purred, eyes half closed, then bit at my hair and tried to sink his teeth into my scalp, another stunt he pulls when he’s done with the romance. Just like that, we went from sweet to slightly demonic as he leaped from the couch to chase Wilma around the room. I heard an occasional meow and hiss as the two went barreling through the dining area, into the front hallway, a distance I could count off in about thirty-five paces.
When we turned out the lights and got into bed Wilma sprang to action. The bedroom doesn’t have a door, there’s no way of locking them out. In the dark, I heard the lamp on my sister’s dresser go down with a loud thud; Bill set it upright A few minutes later the lamp on her bedside table did the same, landing on the floor. Foolishly, I picked it up and returned it to the table. Both times I whispered, loudly, “Wilma!” as if that was all that was necessary to make her stop. Over and over again, she’d jump up onto the bed, crawl over my body and onto the side table, knocking over the lamp, a book, a knickknack. My sister keeps a water-filled spray bottle nearby for these rambunctious occasions; I squirted her more than once or twice but she kept coming back for more. By now I could hear Bill’s deep breathing and I knew he was sleeping through this; I wanted to know how? Eventually Wilma settled down, choosing a spot on my pillow, just above my head, to curl up in; she rested a paw on my neck, nails retracted until I tried moving, then used a little pressure to encourage me not to. We both stayed that way until she grew bored and started her routine up again. It didn’t last all night, I know I got some sleep, but we definitely played her game far longer than I wanted.
The next morning Bill asked me, jokingly, “did Fred go out last night.” He never made a sound, never came near the bed, slept all night in the other room.
Liz, you know I love Fred and Wilma! But, next time I see Wilma sleeping peacefully, in the middle of the day, I’m going to poke her, pet her, and maybe knock something over right near her ear.