I had always wondered how, exactly, it happens. We start out the night in our proper positions: me under the covers with my head on my pillow, the cat curled in in a ball down at the foot of the bed. In this moment, all is right with the world. But at some point in the evening, things change. There is a usurping.

In the wee hours of the night, I come swimming out of a deep sleep to find my face pressed into a seemingly endless expanse of fur. I reach out blindly to readjust my pillow, but I’m trapped in an alien hairy landscape. Somewhere, a mildly irritated muscle twitches, and a tail slaps directly across my upper lip. I mustache you a question, the cat seems to say. Why are you disturbing my rest?

I heave myself upwards, spitting out tufts, and unceremoniously dump the cat back where she belongs. In the round fleece-lined bed I specifically purchased for her comfort, which rests at the foot of our own bed despite its unstylish appearance and tendency to collect pine needles. But as soon as I fall back asleep it happens again. Over and over throughout the night, until I give up altogether. I wake up the next day curled awkwardly like a shrimp, my face cranked sideways to find some non-pelt-infused breathing space.

Later, I resentfully use the hose attachment on the vacuum to clean my sheets and pillow, which look like the aftermath of a particularly vigorous waxing session.

The other night I was still awake when the Great Takeover happened, and I admit I was impressed with her technique. Rather than stepping her way up the bed, which might alert me to her presence, she makes her move in one sudden, silent, no-impact leap. A 5,000 FPS camera might accurately capture her approach, but I don’t stand a chance. There’s nothing to do but wait for the inevitable, and floss the tail-hairs from my teeth in the morning.



55 Responses to “Pelage”

  1. Jo on November 14th, 2013 11:52 am

    Either she loves you and just wants to be near you or she can’t adequately murder you from the foot of the bed.

    Sleep with one eye open.

  2. kim on November 14th, 2013 12:02 pm

    I feel your pain. My six pound chihuahua grows limbs and girth apparently when he sleeps because when my husband and I wake up, we are both clinging to the edges of the bed.

  3. Karen on November 14th, 2013 12:02 pm

    Oh my gosh Linda…loved your story! Still laughing and I can relate. Our cat used to do somewhat of same thing. Gotta love our pets right? :-)

  4. LJ on November 14th, 2013 12:18 pm

    My 15 lb. cat loves to sleep in between my legs – and when you’ve got 15 lbs. holding the covers down – don’t try to roll over…..

  5. Sande on November 14th, 2013 12:18 pm

    Mine stays at the foot after an appropriate amount of petting and cuddling prior to me sleeping. The thing of it is she is directly at the foot of my side of the bed so I find myself not allowing myself to stretch completely out. She doesn’t sleep in the middle of the bed where no one will kick her in the middle of the night. Oh and when I do stretch completely out, she bites my feet. It is amazing what we put up with when it comes to our furry family members.

  6. Kate on November 14th, 2013 12:28 pm

    You have way more patience than me! I start chucking the cat when she gets that close (I rule the bed!). If I’m really tired I will lock her out of the room for a night or two and put in earplugs to avoid hearing the ensuing howling in the hallway. : )

  7. jen on November 14th, 2013 12:58 pm

    Cats are strange aren’t they? Ours always starts out at the end of the bed but usually after I get up to feed the baby, she’s in my spot. I move her back to her own but then when I wake up in the morning, she’s up close to our heads, right in the middle of us. Sometimes, when it is really cold, she squirms her way underneath the covers. That’s a joy when she decides she doesn’t want to be there anymore in the middle of the night.

  8. Joy on November 14th, 2013 1:58 pm

    Seriously…best photo ever.

  9. Cheryl on November 14th, 2013 2:03 pm

    LOVE it! I’ve been there too. We had a kitty that would sleep curled around my head – thankfully, I only took a tail to the face, not a full furry body. The super funny part is that we had 3 cats, and when I was pregnant with our first son, it was as if they were keeping guard over my belly, as all three of them would wrestle for the best belly-spot!

  10. Kim on November 14th, 2013 2:30 pm

    You are my FAVORITE blogger. Please never stop.

  11. Corina on November 14th, 2013 2:34 pm

    You are so not alone with this struggle. Last night one of my fur beasts actually tried to take it a step further and crawl ONTO the pillow instead of right next to it. We tussled a bit. She, needless to say, won, purring all the while. People wonder why I need a MINIMUM of nine hours to sleep to be functional? Simple. It’s because I share a bed with two cats.

  12. Angella on November 14th, 2013 3:01 pm

    Lucy likes to walk across my back (waking me up) in order to drink out of my water glass on my night table (annoying me to know end). Then she either wrestles with her tail in the middle of the bed, or curls up next to me PURRING WITH THE LOUDEST MOTOR EVER.

    Cats, man.

  13. Anne on November 14th, 2013 3:19 pm

    Yes, cats.

  14. Hilary on November 14th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Three words: heated cat bed. It’s like cat velcro: plug it in and just TRY to get her to move elsewhere. (Of course, maybe you’d miss the smothering. It’s okay to admit it!)

  15. Maggie on November 14th, 2013 4:13 pm

    This happens to us nearly every night. Every morning my husband or I wake up thinking about the part of the Josh Groban sings Kayne West’s tweets bit that goes “fur pillows are hard to actually sleep on.”

  16. Wockyjabber on November 14th, 2013 4:47 pm

    Kitty loves you.

  17. Erin on November 14th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Great post and the comments too! I too wake to my cat sleeping next to my head after starting out in his “proper” place, and he also drinks out of my water glass (don’t even want to think about how many years it took before I noticed he was doing that!) I can totally vouch for the benefits of the heated kitty bed. We just use a heating pad. The cats are drunk with delight and will completely leave you alone. And if you put it at the foot of your bed, BONUS! It warms your feet. :)

  18. Anonymous on November 14th, 2013 6:57 pm

    You must get the Evercare Large Roller. Life changing!!

  19. sooboo on November 14th, 2013 7:10 pm

    Loling at “The Great Takeover”. They are stealthy little shits aren’t they. We call it winter kitty syndrome in our house. Your cat is really pretty, but I’m sure that fur gets all over the place.

  20. Mary on November 14th, 2013 7:28 pm

    This is why I sleep on one side of a closed door and my cats are on the other side. I need my sleep. :)

  21. JMH on November 15th, 2013 3:53 am

    This is why our cat spends the night in our (finished) basement. We have put her down there from day 1. The bed is mine and I am not gonna share :)

  22. AlisonC on November 15th, 2013 4:53 am

    My dog starts at the bottom of the bed on the edge but ends up in the exact centre at some stage of the night and I wake up hanging on the edge.

  23. Michelle on November 15th, 2013 6:20 am

    Ha! I loved this. I had to start locking the cats out of the bedroom at night so I could actually sleep. They hated me at first but they are over it now, mostly.

  24. Judy on November 15th, 2013 8:09 am

    I just woke up half an hour ago and am still peeling cat hair off my lips. I have a 25 pound Maine coon who walks around spewing hair everywhere, and his usual sleeping position is at about shoulder level, but always with his back turned to me, because after all, he is The Cat and I am just a human. I love having him there, though.

  25. NancyB on November 15th, 2013 10:45 am

    Our cat either spent the night outside (really! He liked it!) or in the basement because he’d wake me up at 1 or 2 am to go outside anyway!
    Our dog, who loves only my husband sleeps in his bed on the floor until about 3am when my husband gets up for the 10th time of the night and puts him in bed. He immediately goes for the space between MY legs. When we first got him he was in our bed all night but we weren’t getting any sleep because he’s a pain in the ass!

  26. Redbecca on November 15th, 2013 10:46 am

    I have one overly affectionate like that sometimes. I force him into a cuddle headlock like a 4 year old would do and call him my buddy George until he gets annoyed and leaves (Abominable Snowman in WB cartoon: “I will love him and squeeze him and call him George”). Works every time!

  27. Megan on November 15th, 2013 11:01 am

    You are my favorite. This post is also my favorite.

  28. januaryinjune on November 15th, 2013 1:05 pm

    She loves you, Linda. :)

  29. Bruja on November 15th, 2013 6:31 pm

    I fear the feline mutiny that would ensue if I took the electric blanket off the bed.

  30. Lana on November 15th, 2013 7:36 pm

    This is why, as much as I love my cat, he is banned from our bedroom at night. Of course he meows and paws incessantly at our door at 6 am so there’s that.

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    Damn it, I wants arms like yours! I know you work for them, but mine are like a fat grandmother’s arms. Not cool.

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