It’s a good thing he’s so cute.
It’s also a good thing I have the Facebook Memories app to remind me of how utterly sweet and tiny Sir Walter Scott was when we first met him last year in June.
Love at first sight. June 11, 2019
I needed those reminders, because recently Walter (no longer tiny) was the cause of a very long sleepless night.
To be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault. On May 29, the temperature soared, reaching 90 degrees for the first time this year. Derek and I weren’t prepared for the sudden warmth. We don’t have central air and since we were both out all day, we didn’t turn on our dining room air conditioner until we got home. Our bedroom window unit was still out in the shed. Even with fans running, our house was hot and stuffy.
“We’re going to have to sleep with the bedroom door open,” I said.
My husband eyed Thor and Walter.
“Great,” he said. “You know we’ll have company.”
I wasn’t too worried. After our older cat Milo died, we let Thor sleep with us whenever he wanted. He’s a placid fellow, and just drapes himself at our feet and snores. Derek can outsnore both man and beast, so Thor’s nasally rumblings didn’t bother me.
Walter is a different cat – he’s all about the action. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that kittens sleep 16 to 20 hours a day, because from the time we brought him home at 8 weeks, it was clear he could catnap, but long stretches of sleep were not in his wheelhouse.
It also became clear that Walter is a fervent Mama’s boy. My son paraphrased a Bible verse to describe his devotion thusly: “Where Mama is, there Walter will be also.”
And he’s a cuddly cat. While he’s not allowed to spend the night in our room, he does curl up in bed with me every morning after breakfast. We both catch a brief bit of shuteye before embracing the day in earnest.
He also knows the nighttime drill. Each evening I get into bed to read before Derek joins me. Well, joins us, because as I mentioned, Walter is rather attached to me. He likes Derek, too, but not at bedtime. Derek’s arrival means Walter’s exit.
Our furry feline tries to circumvent his ouster by feigning death or hiding under the bed.
“Walter, it’s night-night time,” Derek would say to the prone cat.
Walter squeezes his eyes shut and won’t budge when Derek pokes him. If he doesn’t make a sudden dash under the bed, my husband picks up the tabby’s inert body, carries him from the room and deposits him on the sofa. Then it’s a sprint to see which of them will make it back to the bedroom first. Personally, I think the exercise is good for both of them.
On the hot night in question, after cranking up the fans, we let sleeping cats lie. Thor slumbered on when we turned off the light. Walter trilled questioningly.
“Go back to sleep,” I said.
So, he sunk his head into my pillow and snuggled up next to me. A few minutes later, he patted my face.
I ignored him.
He licked my eyelids.
He laid his whiskery chin on my nose.
I couldn’t breathe, so I nudged him off.
A slight thud and the tinkling of his bell, notified me he’d left the room.
I’d just nodded off, when I felt a soft body land at my side. Then a wet, slobbery piece of felt hit my cheek. Having taken his required catnap, Walter decided it was playtime and brought his beloved gray mouse to bed. The mouse is attached to a string, and usually I wave it around while he chases it and pounces on it.
“One a.m. is not playtime Walter,” I whispered, tossing the toy toward the door as hard as I could.
Walter loves a good game of fetch. He had the mouse back in bed before I could close my eyes. I refused to throw it again, so Walter found someone else to annoy. He discovered Thor, sound asleep on Derek’s feet and launched himself toward the unsuspecting senior tabby.
Hissing, growling and mayhem ensued as Thor fled from his tormentor.
“One cat down, one to go,” Derek mumbled.
His mumble alerted Walter to his next victim. He sprang from Derek’s feet, landing with a thunk on Derek’s stomach.
“Oof! Get him off of me!” Derek roared.
And so went the rest of the long night. Sometime around 5 a.m. I noticed the house had cooled considerably, but my head was sweating due to Walter’s proximity to my pillow.
I scooped him up, put him in the hallway and shut the door.
Piteous, heartbreaking, tiny meows poured from the hallway.
I put my cat-warmed pillow over my head.
“You’re in the doghouse, Walter,” I said.
A few hours later I opened the door, and Walter came running. Weaving in and around my ankles, stretching up his paws, eager to be in my embrace.
Like I said, it’s a good thing he’s so cute. It’s also a good thing Derek has our window air conditioner ready to go. Who knows? We may see 90 degrees again someday, and this time we’ll be ready. No more cats on hot, sleeping Hvals.
Walter the morning after. Not one bit sorry.