Sleeping Arrangements: Slice of Life #sol19 6/31

Smudge is the first to arrive and the last to leave. He waits for me to lift the blanket, then he darts underneath, circles once, and curls into a crescent with four cold feet pressed to my side.

Smudge likes to sleep on top of the blankets too

Then comes Toast, whose soft belly drapes across my throat like a scarf. Her purrs are light vibrations that tickle my neck. She is restless, catnaps for a few minutes, then shimmies under covers, pivots and re-emerges in a Sphynx pose on my chest, tiny paws tucked under my chin. Another short nap and then she’s scooting further under the blankets and circling into a ball on my stomach. Finally, she slides down my hip and claims Smudge as her pillow.

I recognize Chipotle by his distinctive little wheeze. Because he’s the favorite, I try to accommodate his preference. I scoot over if he wants to wedge himself beside Smudge. I twist to slide Toast off my chest before her cat nap is finished if he wants to be held like a baby. I roll from my side to my back when he decides that under the arm would be best.

Oliver is always last, but he has no intention of gracefully accepting whatever spot is left. I try to direct him to Smudge’s side, since Smudge is the only one who reliably likes him, but Oliver has his own ideas as well as an uncanny ability to sense just the spot where his arch frenemy, Chipotle, is already sleeping.

Oliver ignores my attempt to direct him to safety and headbutts the blanket hard by Chipotle. I eventually give up and let him in. Suddenly he is the most awkward creature ever, unable to find a place for his paws that don’t already contain cat. Most nights he steps on Chipotle’s ear and then his belly and then his tail and then his belly again before finally finding the cat-free zone by my hip. Before their recent tenuous detente, so much stepping on in the middle of the night would have led to a roiling cat fight under the covers, but this time Chipotle doesn’t stir. Oliver finds the right spot, relaxes, and suddenly the whole bed rumbles with his purrs.

Detente 1: My foot will touch you while we sleep, and I will not die from it.
Detente 2: All of our feet will curl together while we sleep, and we will not die from it.
Detente 3: We will stretch out side by side but never touching, and we will pretend we are alone.
Detente 4: We will sleep touching each other, but we will not be happy about it.

They are still asleep when I wake up. Most mornings I lay there petting them, listening to Toast’s gentle purr and Oliver’s happy snorts and snuffles. Eventually I lift the covers back, careful not to uncover Smudge, and the two closest to the edge of the bed reluctantly stretch and spill to the floor to let me out. Smudge slumbers on, undisturbed by our absence.

I get my coffee and my notebook, and before I am even sitting in my chair, they are back, tired from so much sleep, ready for their morning nap. A new kind of jostling begins as each cat jockeys for the coveted upper lap position. Chipotle always claims it first, but Oliver has a wily way of securing it at last.






22 responses to “Sleeping Arrangements: Slice of Life #sol19 6/31”

  1. Adrienne Avatar

    Amazing post – and this from a dog person. I love how you capture each cat’s personality with your description of their sleeping preferences.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha! I love cats best, but I’m always happy to read a slice about dogs too. Any pet slices–just bring them on!

  2. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    I love this! I don’t even know which picture is my favorite, but I’m leaning toward the last one with Oliver gazing up adoringly and triumphantly into your face! The ‘detente’ section is so perfect.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, he does this pretty much every day once he claims the top spot. I loved that I could clearly see the story of their detente through my photos!

  3. arjeha Avatar

    Love this. Why is it that cats like to go under the covers? Molly and Ned do the same thing. Molly likes to curl up in the middle of my back while Ned likes to keep my fee warm, unless he is pushing Molly out of the way because he wants her spot.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So funny! Their little dynamics are so endlessly interesting to me too. I think it’s very odd that they like to sleep under covers. How do they breathe??

  4. shellymkeller Avatar

    I love your description of each cat along with photos. Ginger, my older pug, loves to sleep under the covers. Rylee, younger pug, will just walk or lay wherever without care if she is on Ginger’s head, back, tail, etc. as long as she is where she wants to be or gets to where she is going!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Their personalities come through so clearly just in your comment here! I can only imagine the snuffling that Ginger can do trying to breathe under the covers!

  5. readingteachsu Avatar

    That’s a lot of maneuvering, adjusting, accommodations, and love.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes it is! A decent night’s sleep isn’t always possible!

  6. carwilc Avatar

    What an amazing portrait you have captured! They all sound like such characters! Do you ever get to sleep or do you just adjust cats all night long?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha, that is a fair question, and some nights it definitely feels like there is more cat adjustment than sleep!

  7. Amanda Regan Avatar

    I love your descriptions of your cats’ personalities! I give you credit for being able to sleep with four cats. I also loved all your pictures, but that last one is my absolute favorite!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And sometimes I have five or six, depending on whether the others decide to sleep. But these are my every night four!

  8. karpenglish Avatar

    Thank you. I really needed a nice long post about charming cats. I have tons of pictures like yours, though I only have two cats. (My son wants more and we keep him away from the cat shelter or we’d have 50!) They don’t like to be under the covers except when I am making the bed, but if I am lying down, sleeping, sitting, or almost sitting, I am instantly covered in cats.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Sometimes we just need a post about cats! I totally sympathize with your son. Seven is turning out to be a good number. We had nine for about a year, and that was too much. There were territory issues and behaviors. But seven is perfect! (I still want more, but I am trying to remember the experience of nine!)

  9. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    These photos make me want to get a cat! My daughter and I loved reading your post yesterday!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      You should definitely go right out and get a cat! Though remember my advice on adopting cats, and get two! (Two is always better than one, and the whole litter is best!!)

      1. Trina Haase Avatar
        Trina Haase

        I would…but my daughter is allergic! So that could be a problem!

  10. Amanda Potts Avatar

    The four levels of detente are the best. Too cute. I’m glad Chipotle and Oliver are finding a modicum of understanding.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s been a few days since they’ve had a fight, so…. fingers crossed! It’s still a work in progress, and I really think jealousy is at the root! They each always want the coveted spot, and they each have the same idea about what the coveted spot is!

  11. Elizabeth Avatar

    Great détentes!

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