Though our cats breakfast at 6am, oftentimes they decide at 5am, “I’m bored. Let’s have breakfast now.”
When they decide they’re ready to eat at 5am, they bring our attention to that decision. In the silent stillness of a sleeping house, they stand in the windowsill and pull the blinds away from the glass, then release them so that the wooden slats crash against the window and startle us awake. They crouch at the foot of our bed and claw the rug, making loud shredding sounds.
If we’ve left the bathroom door open, they go in there and find the narrowest sliver between the shower curtain and the wall. Then they jump in and out of the tub through that space so that the plastic curtain rattles and makes godawful crinkling plastic sounds. The acoustics of the small bathroom amplifies the ruckus so that it sounds like landscapers shaking giant plastic tarps over our ears.
They bat spectacles, books, keys, water glasses off our dresser or bedside tables. Our bedroom will be silent. Then we’ll hear the slow, intermittent slide of a small object across the painted wood surface. Just enough for us to wonder what the cats are about to push onto the floor, racking our half-asleep brains for what battable thing we might have forgotten to put away, is it breakable, will it spill, do we need to get up and stop the cat or just let her keep pushing until the thing crashes down to the floor.
This morning Tootsie chose the walking and standing on my face method of irritation. This method starts out silent. Just her walking back and forth across my neck and torso, her little pink paws like pistons on places where my breath needs to pass, making me go “oof” when she steps on them. When this didn’t succeed in getting me out of bed, she stood on my face with her back paws, then reached up the wall with her front paws to bat the painting above my head. She pulls the corner of it up the wall, then lets go so that the painting swings back and forth on the sheetrock, scritch, scritch, scritch.
Finally at 6 I got out of bed and fed them. And now they are just as sweet as can be. Tubbles is curled on me as I type, purring. She’s got her head tucked against my hand in a way that I’m certain means I love you so very much thank you for being my wonderful human you give me a happy life and I am content and also see how cute I am?
So the answer is, you can be incredibly, unbearably irritating and still be loved. Especially if you give that love back and make the person feel special in the ways that person likes to feel special. Also, it doesn’t hurt to be fuzzy and cute.