I love "newbie" cat owners. My good friend and fellow author Linda Rettstatt has been sharing her cat stories with me for two years now, and I have invited her to share her morning routine with her roommate and personal "mews" Binky.
As a new cat owners (or should I say 'servant'), I'm completing my two-year internship. Just when I think I'm trained, I discover something new I have to learn about cats. My cat, in particular, Binky.
Let's go back to July, 2009. I had recently moved into a new apartment--alone. Nice. Then I considered the benefits of having a pet--someone to greet me warmly when I came through the door at the end of a long day. An adoring little creature who would gaze at me with unconditional love and curl up in my lap in the evening. What I got was Binky. She was six years old and named Minnie, a name I couldn't live with because it brought back nightmare memories of my second grade teacher.
On the way to the shelter to bring my cat home, I passed a street sign for Olivia Lane. Olivia. A nice, feminine, dignified name. The problem: the cat refused to acknowledge me when I called her Olivia. (Okay, so I've since learned cats generally refuse to acknowledge unless food or some other reward is involved. For them.) Because of an often cute and sometimes annoying habit she has of pretend-sucking on almost anything, I began to call her Binky. And she responded when I did.
Hence, I give you Binky. My furry, sandpaper-tongued, almost-human alarm clock.
I work four days a week and have to be up at 6:15 a.m. I'm a sound sleeper and, so, set an alarm clock and the alarm on my cell phone fifteen minutes apart. But who am I kidding? I'll never need either one--even on my days off. Binky has her own alarm that goes off between six and six-thirty every morning. She has no concept of 'day off' and 'sleep in'. All she knows is, morning is breakfast time.
I am generally wakened by first a paw jabbing through the sheet, then tugging the sheet down. It's a feat for her, since she was front-declawed by her first owner. But never underestimate the determination of a cat. She will dig me out of three layers of blankets if necessary. Then her back-up alarm goes to work. She licks, starting with an exposed arm and hand, working her way to my face. If I cover my face with an arm, she'll find a space to squeeze her little furry head through. When I open my eyes, I am staring into hers--one of which has a black heart-shape surrounding it, reminding me she could have at one time held the leading role in Godspell.
And why is it so important I get out of bed? Well, she wants her breakfast, of course. But then, she wants to take her after-breakfast nap. Here--
Her morning antics can be annoying, but tell me this: How many mornings is it that you wake up laughing?
Linda Rettstatt is an award-winning author of nine novels, writing stories for women--stories of strength, love, humor and hope.
You can read more about Linda at http://www.lindarettstatt.com/ and http://onewomanswrite.blogspot.com/