Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pillow Talk

I want to thank everyone who wrote in and admitted that they, too, didn’t know everything they expected to know by now. We are a timid yet hardy tribe, carefully averting our eyes from our water meter and hoping our significant other doesn’t die before walking us through the home-insurance paperwork. But this week has not been about a member of the family who doesn’t know something; this week has been about the family member who knows everything. I refer, of course, to the cat. Lulabelle has found the new place to sleep. I may pick her up and remove her, I may shout and wave my hands; I am even allowed to tempt her with the extra-stinky wet food as an incentive to take her naps elsewhere. But she knows, and she expects me to figure out eventually, that right now she simply must sleep with her capacious kitty-bottom ground into Consort’s pillow.

There are a few problems with this. The first being, of course, ewww; it’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep when your mind starts wandering to the thought that where your nose is, a cat’s sphincter was. We’ve gone through a lot of pillowcases this week. The high point was when I gave Consort the last available pillowcase, which was an ancient Boots-the-monkey-from-Dora-the-Explorer ruffled sham from Daughter’s pre-school years, but we had to take that off because the simian rictus was interfering with his sleep.

There’s also the problem that even if he wasn’t so acutely aware of the nose/sphincter thing, he’s actually allergic to cats. Most days, he’s a real trouper, sniffling quietly into a tissue and adding a shot of Bendadryl to his morning coffee, but no immune system appreciates an allergen being applied directly to the nasal cavity and the eye sockets. Anything near the Pillow of Feline Delight must also be cleaned, which means sheets and duvet covers. This past week, the washing machine wouldn’t finish spinning before I was unloading it and tossing in new piles of pima cotton with a coating of American Shorthair.

Clearly, she needed to be exiled from the bedroom. This didn’t seem hard, as it’s our usual policy. She sleeps with the kid, or draped over the couch, or crooning sweet nothings to the hard-drive. Before this week, she’d come into the bedroom once a day, in the morning, shouting something about wet food. She’d then herd me to the laundry room and make me use my opposable thumbs. But now she wanted the pillow, she deserved the pillow, and I was irrationally denying her the pillow. Luckily for us, she has the time and the patience to clue me in to our painfully mistaken I was. At first, I just kept the door shut. But during the day I’d have to go in to the bedroom, either to change after working out or grab something or possibly bring in yet another load of de-haired sheets. I’d come back out and shut the door behind me. An hour later, I’d think “Gosh, I wonder where that darn cat is now?”, and on a whim check the bedroom. I’d open the door and there she would be, sprawled on Consort’s pillow neatening up her bikini area. After the first day, I’d only go into the bedroom after clearing the hallway for all potential feline invaders; before leaving the bedroom again, I’d do a quick cat-scan.

[Sorry.]

Didn’t matter; she was in there at least three times a day, weaving her hair into his side of the bed. Such was her need to sleep on his pillow that she developed the ability to pass through solid matter and render herself invisible as needed. I tried to present this to Consort as a testimony to his charms, but he was busy removing a quilt of cat-hair from under his contact lens. But daytime apparating was as nothing compared to the nighttime productions. We go to bed, I shut the door, and there is blessed silence for eight seconds. Then I hear a football-shaped body slam against the door:

LULABELLE: LET!

(Thud.)

LULABELLE: ME!

(Thud.)

LULABELLE: IN!

(THUD.)

QUINN: Lulabelle, hush. Go eat your stinky wet food.

(Silence.)

(THUD.)

LULABELLE: PILLOW!

QUINN: Stop it!

(Consort pulls pillow over his head to try to block out sounds of feline rage.)

LULABELLE: AUGH! He’s touching my pillow!

(Thud.)

And the the musical portion of the evening begins. Some nights it’s got kind of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta tone, the fair ingenue pining for the lost love; other nights, it’s a darker song, a Valkyrian maid swearing vengeful death upon those who hold her love hostage. What it is never is brief, and it increases in ferocity and high notes if she senses we’re awake. We pull the covers over our heads and breathe shallowly.

CONSORT (Softly): Come on, it’s just a little indoor-outdoor cat.

QUINN (Softly, yet resentfully): I know.

CONSORT: Very sweet and quiet.

QUINN: That’s what her previous owners had told me.

CONSORT: You’ll barely even notice she’s around.

QUINN: In case you haven’t observed, I’m under here, too.

Eventually, though, our bickering stops. We have to stay together, for the sake of the pillow.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

EASY DEAL..GIVE HER HIS PILLOW,
BUY HIM A NEW CLEAN ONE, AND ALL
WILL BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD, SHE
WILL HAVE WON, BUT WE ALL KNEW SHE
WAS GOING TO ANYWAY, RIGHT???

2:23 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Who said...

Forget about keeping the cat away from the pillow - keep the pillow away from the cat. Put it in the closet.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh just surrender the pillow, already! ;)

Or maybe it's Consort she's really after?

Peace - Rene

"Desperate Housecats"

5:13 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'm a little uncomfortable admitting this, but ever since I've gotten my first puppy, I'm much more comfortable with animal anusus than I ever thought I would be. *SIGH*

I've turned into one of "those" pet owners. The ones that let their dogs lick their faces even though in the back of my mind I know he's been licking other things - LIKE HIS BUTT!

Well, now I'm off to go take a scalding hot shower.

9:33 PM  
Blogger guerrilla girl said...

Priceless! We've been there, too. I stand the pillows on end now. Milton didn't care for the pillows falling on him when he tried to cozy up to them, so he gave up on the pillow project.

However, he's not given up on claiming whatever seat the spouse is trying to use should the spouse be so foolish as to move for a nanosecond. And once Milton has deposited himself on said seat, the serious grooming of his nether areas begins.

You can almost hear him sing, "Nanny nanny boo boo!"

11:27 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

You cannot win with cats. You can't. They will drive you insane and still they will win. So, I concur with commenter #1. Give her the damn pillow. Put it on the floor of the laundry room or on a chair someplace that she likes. She will think she's victorious and will abandon that pillow so fast your heads will spin. Because she's a cat and that's what they do.

Meanwhile get consort to pick out a brand new pillow and then put up a cheap but latchable screen door on your bedroom door. She can look, but she can't get in.

Cats. They are interesting pets. Mostly worthless, but fun to watch. You just can't outsmart them.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Delightfully Healthy said...

I feel your pain.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Michaéle said...

Decidedly, cats DO rule the world. I almost had to administer my Epi-Pen while reading your post (yes I'm THAT allergic to cats) but even though I can't have a cat of my own, my four dogs keep me in line...way down the line of the chain of command in this house.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I, for one, REFUSE to let the animals remotely NEAR my pillow (allergies and I am a BIT OCD). One a good night we have two pugs and a cat in the bed. I NEVER surrender the pillow. My husband? Is Doctor Dolittle. He will sacrifice his COMFORT for the snorting for the pug by his face. No thanks! I love them dearly...But please! Mind the hygiene!

2:50 PM  
Blogger cathy said...

Don't waste your money on a new pillow! She will just desert the old pillow and take over the new one. The minute you cease to care about the old pillow, so will she! I live with two of the creatures and you just can not win...ever! I'm thinking of writing Old Dueteronomy in for President, he's just bullish enough for the job.

2:56 PM  

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