Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

Thumps in the Night

February 23rd, 2011

Sandburg may write that Fog comes on little cats feet. In our house, it is more like Ahab at night on the deck. (A nod to Rockwell Kent for the transformed etching here.)

Chi thuds and thumps in the dark as the restless captain did. She brings with her alert-making caution.

Be it known that her back end does not work well. Some genetic neurological disorder makes walking into loosely controlled swaying. It’s as though her rear legs weren’t getting the executive messages in time. Even with her every-other-day steroids, she is free of pain but not of clumsiness.

Thus in the dark, when she is ready she thuds four flights of wooden stairs up two high stages of the old house. She gives long, distant warning, but not with meows or cries. Instead, it is the slow thump, thump, thud, thud.

Then we are in anticipation. Jumping up on our high bed requires deliberation nightly. She almost always goes to my side (yet why, as she’s not my cat and doesn’t come to me for affection and I am farthest from the door?). I can’t hear her on the carpet but know she is sitting and considering before committing.

By then, I have made sure to clear landing room. Numerous times, she has found my arm or leg as a good climbing hold for ten claws. The suddenness of the stabbing leaves memories that amplify the dread beyond the relative low pain and small amount of bleeding.

When she leaps up, it signals the preparation for the rest of the night, the announcement that the three of us can sleep. She’ll tend to take a minute, sometimes two, to find the best spot. That is often between my ankles or between our sets of feet.

On occasion, she is not in for the full night. In that case, she goes to the other side of the bed, closest to the door. Again, she long considers her leap perhaps 30 inches to the carpet. The shifting weight tugs the comforter. Big thump again as she lands, followed by claws on wood in the hall, and a long chorus of thumps in pairs — front paws, rear paws, front again…

My sister lives way out in coyote lands of Northern New Mexico. She gets different night noises, and claims when she is asleep, she’s gone for the duration. Here, night comes on big cats feet and decides when we can sleep.