Callaghan’s been embroiled in an ongoing struggle with Nounours ever since we brought the big guy home with Ronnie James to our Little House in the Rhône-Alpes in October 2012. It’s that ancient grievance of many a cat-parent: Kitty insists that you wake up when he wants you up, not when you wish to wake up. Sometimes, he wants you up long before you want to get up.
Some cats do this, some don’t. The Wrah-Wrah never did it. Nounours always has, and he mostly targets Callaghan. He doesn’t try it on me very often. When he does, he fails… I don’t get out of bed when Nounours demands it. Fortunately for me, I usually don’t even remember his efforts. I’m able to fall back asleep immediately if I’m abruptly woken up, which may or may not be attributed to the anti-anxiety medication I take before I go to bed. Whatever the case, Kristi – 300; Nounours – 0!
Callaghan – 0; Nounours – 732.
This has been Callaghan’s number one complaint in life for the last few years. If he had any hair on his head at all, he’d have long since ripped it out.
Every once in a while, he opens a discussion about what to do, meaning, he’ll tell me his ideas, and I’ll listen. His latest brainstorm was to shut Nounours in his studio/office with a bowl of water and a litter box.
“But I would ONLY do it at the time that he wakes me up,” he clarified. “Not before we go to bed. That way, he’ll know why he’s in there.”
That’s right… Nounours will know why he’s in there. He’s the Einstein of cats.
Callaghan cycles through phases of thinking that Nounours tries to wake him up because he’s hungry, but that theory always fades away in the face of evidence to the contrary.
1). Are the little bowls of dry food (“crunchies”) empty? –> Never. We always make sure they’re filled before we go bed.
2a). Does Nounours want his canned food breakfast? –> Maybe.
2b). If the answer to 2a is “yes”: Who feeds the cats their canned food breakfast? –> Mommy.
2c). Who does Nounours try to wake up? –> Daddy.
My own theory is that poor Nounours tries to wake up Callaghan in order to verify that he’s still alive. Daddy has been lying in one position for 3 hours! Must make sure he’s not dead!!
He loves us both, but Callaghan is his favorite.
Nounours will wake up Callaghan by jumping on him. Or he’ll head-butt Callaghan’s face. Sometimes, he’ll sit on his face. Rounding off his repertoire, he’ll incessantly issue loud meows and yowls that reverberate throughout the house.
“He doesn’t stop! He won’t stop, and I can’t get back to sleep,” Callaghan grumbles. “So FINALLY, I get up.”
“As soon as I’m up? He lays down and goes to sleep! Why does he wake me up if he just goes to sleep once I’m up?!”
“Maybe he wants to make sure you’re still alive,” I suggest.
Some days, Callaghan is so wiped out from Nounours-related sleep deprivation that he’ll set about getting revenge. His favorite revenge strategy is to sneak up on Nounours during the day when he’s napping and pounce on him with his hands, doing his best Nounours imitation to “show him what it feels like”:
“Nouuuuuuuu-nours! Wake up! Wake UP, Nounours!” Callaghan sing-songs in Nounours’ ear, vigorously ruffling Nounours’ fur. “TIME TO WAKE UP!!”
I have photographic evidence of this, of course.
Callaghan’s logic is simple: “If I don’t get to sleep, then he doesn’t get to sleep.”
Nounours doesn’t respond to these random assaults on his slumber, though. At the most, he’ll crack open one eye, then close it again and resume sleeping. He is not phased. He is Nounours, laid-back to the point of obliviousness.
I try to help. I’ll sometimes intercept Nounours in the middle of the night if I’m semi-awake and he walks behind my head to get to Callaghan. I’ll grab him and hug him to my chest, and he’ll lay there purring for a while. I fall back asleep, though, and then Nounours continues on his way. Destination: Daddy.
“THANK YOU for protecting me, Baby,” Callaghan tells me the next day. I’m his bodyguard, protecting him from the big, lovable cuddle monster that is Nounours.
Callaghan did try putting Nounours in exile one time recently. He got up when Nounours jarred him awake, and he put him in his studio/office with a bowl of water and the litter box. He told me about it later, when I asked why there was a bowl of water in his office.
“It was just for half an hour, and then I let him out,” he told me, proud of himself. “And he didn’t meow at all after that!”
But the whole process was tedious, and the tedium mostly defeated the purpose.
We’ve since considered and ruled out several possible solutions. Then I went online to search for others. I came across some advice on an ASPCA page under the heading:
What to Do If Your Cat Keeps You Awake at Night
In the penultimate bullet point, it’s suggested that “…you might need to shut him out of your bedroom at night. If he cries and scratches at the door, you can discourage him by…” They complete the sentence with several options, including the following:
“…you can set a ‘booby trap’ outside your door.” A booby trap?
“Try hanging your blow dryer off the bedroom door knob, or placing your vacuum cleaner five or six feet away from the door.” I’m imagining how the ominous sight of a vacuum cleaner might ward off a cat. But the blow dryer? Where are they going with this?
“Plug the dryer or vacuum into a remote switch (available from Radio Shack).” A mental image is starting to form.
“When your cat wakes you by meowing outside your door, you can hit a button on the remote to turn on the appliance.” I’m cracking up. I’m laughing so hard, I can hardly get the words out as I read them to Callaghan.
“Your startled cat probably won’t return to your door after that!” Concludes the paragraph. No kidding?
I’m a little surprised at the ASPCA for suggesting this; in my opinion, it would be a traumatic thing to happen to a kitty who only wants to be with the people who love him more than anyone in the world. Poor Nounours! The idea of setting a scary booby-trap for him after he’s already upset about being locked out of the bedroom really kind of breaks my heart. Callaghan says I’m too soft on Nounours, and maybe I am, but that’s why Daddy is the main disciplinarian. What a cliché are we.
Wrapping this up, I’ve got a new Nenette pic from the week:
Happy Friday, All!