Friday, November 26, 2010

The Undercover Cat

Time for Dinner

Despite having a very nice fur coat, cats are heat-seeking little creatures. Quint is certainly no exception, so when he trots into our bedroom at around 6:00 a.m. each morning to fulfill his duty as Carol’s alarm clock, he’ll often end up crawling under the sheets and blankets of our bed to snuggle with us for a while before someone gets up to feed him. Once he settles into a warm spot somewhere near the small of our backs, he decides that breakfast can wait for thirty minutes or so and that an extra morning nap is the perfect thing at the moment.

After that thirty minutes of warmth and closeness, the backup alarm trots in. Hedge is the backup alarm clock. Once he realizes that Quint his again succumbed to the lure of the safe, warm people-nest, he jingles into our room and warbles a query to Quint who responds with an answering chirp and a lashing of his tail. Quint’s tail lashing is soon followed by Hedge’s leaping up onto the bed. This causes Quint to crawl out from under the covers and begin the morning game of Chase. Chase continues in and out of our bedroom until someone gets up and serves breakfast.

Throughout all this, Quint still carries out the primary alarm functions, the tail lashing, the dashing across the bed, the trampling of Carol and I, and the jumping onto the floor with a loud thump. Hedge doesn’t thump, or trample, due to the fact that he is so light footed that if it weren’t for the bell on his collar we would rarely know where he is. The only way we know that Hedge is on our bed is when he lies down and leans against us. When he jumps down, he makes almost no sound. But for the jingle of the bell on his collar and the occasional chirrup, you would never know he was around. You can be putting cat food into dishes in the kitchen and, seemingly from nowhere, suddenly there is a black cat rubbing against your ankles. Hedge, if he were allowed to go outside, would be the perfect hunter; a fast, silent and deadly killer whose prey would never become aware of him until his needle sharp claws had found their mark. He has a bit of the Cheshire in him, too, in that he appears and disappears at will. He sits within a shadow, completely concealed and perfectly camouflaged, until you see a pair of glowing yellow eyes peering at you out of the darkness.

This morning’s wake-up call was particularly memorable. After a lovely Thanksgiving get-together with friends and family yesterday afternoon and evening, Carol and I, after we had returned home, had stayed up late and watched a movie. This morning was a perfect morning for sleeping late and so we did. Quint and Hedge are understanding about this sort of thing, but only to a point. Breakfast must be attended to and indulgence of human sloth can only go so far. Quint had crawled into bed with us and fallen fast asleep, willing to be as slothful as his human companions. Hedge, though, was hungry and leaped up onto the bed to let everyone know that it was past time for breakfast. Quint began the usual tail lashing and Hedge commenced an attack on Quint’s tail as it writhed about under the blankets. I chuckled and surrendered. Hedge was right, it was time to get up and start a new day.

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