Friday, June 3, 2011

Rest for the Weary

Cats sleep a great deal. It’s something that I’ve noticed over time, but only because I’ve been a particularly keen observer of the feline animal.

I envy cats their ability to sleep. More precisely, I envy cats their opportunities to sleep. I suppose one can sleep as much as the average house-cat if one doesn’t need a job, doesn’t have many hobbies and whose principal interest in life, aside from food, is sleeping.

Cats seem to be able to sleep, or at least rest, anywhere and at any time. They will sleep in the sun - in the middle of summer, with their bodies covered in fur and their temperatures higher than humans - or sleep in the shade. They can sleep on soft cushions or hardwood floors. They can sleep in the quiet of a country Sunday morning or the back of a car at rush-hour.

My cats enjoy resting. After waking from a long night’s sleep, there’s nothing they like more than recovering with a lengthy nap. Yet each has his or her unique way of lying, and preferred places for sleeping.

Tungsten is my only true lap-cat. She likes lying on my lap, and will let me know when she thinks it’s time for me to quit whatever silliness I am doing (if it doesn’t involve her, it’s silly) and sit, thus providing a lap upon which she may recline. At times, she will lie more or less straight, with her head upon my knee. At others, she will curl in a ball, periodically covering her eyes with her paws. She enjoys curling her little orange form around my hand, and dozing with my fingers on her side or stomach. It must make her feel secure; perhaps she likes the warmth of my hand.

When away from my lap, Tungsten likes the cushion of the dining chair nearer the wall. There is apparently a noticeable difference in comfort or texture between the chairs’ cushions, because she will choose one over the other. This is her favourite spot; she rarely resorts to the cat-trees, as does Josie, almost never snoozes on the floor, as will Tucker, and doesn’t care for drifting off beside me like Renn. There are other places in, on or at which she sleeps, but they are rarities.

Josie loves her cat-tree. The top platform is the best for her, and though she will lie on lower levels to peer out the window, only the highest is right for sleeping. These platforms are covered with carpet-like material, fibrous, made of plastic and no doubt highly toxic if ever set ablaze, but this does not worry my Chubs. She will flop down on the platform, sometimes resting her head on the parapet that runs around three sides of the highest level of the highest cat-tree, and drift off to dream of...whatever her unconscious conjures up.

But her places of relaxation are more varied than Tungsten’s. She will sometimes choose the other dining chair cushion - the one Tungsten does not prefer - on which to lie, though she rarely sleeps there. The duvet, when folded at the end of my bed, provides my Chubs with ease, and she may be found there frequently. But there has come into the house new furniture - armchairs downstairs in the library and a loveseat and ottoman in the back parlour - which she has decided are good enough for her. I was thinking of obtaining more cat-beds for the house, particularly downstairs, but since the armchairs’ arrival, the cats don’t seem to need anywhere else to curl up. And the back parlour is the sunniest room in the house; Josie, though not much of a sun-cat, has found sunshine more to her taste when it falls on the softness of padded upholstery.

Renn can sleep almost anywhere. His favourite place is near me, though I say so myself. When I sit on the couch to read or listen to music, he will usually jump down from the lower sitting room cat-tree, where he has been resting and keeping an eye on the neighbourhood, and come over to curl up in the corner of the couch half a foot from me. First he will raise his paw at me, letting me know he needs some attention, and then turn in circles. Sometimes, he will prefer to lie right against me, in which case he likes to have his chest rubbed ad infinitum, and will sometimes drift off like that. As with Tungsten, he enjoys the feel of my hand on his chest and will look up, wondering if there is a problem, when I try to take it away.

But Renn is flexible. He will lie on the bedroom cat-tree and watch the birds; he will rest on the duvet on the bed; he will snooze on the new ottoman in the back parlour; he will form himself into a ball on an armchair downstairs. My big boy is undemanding when it comes to his leisure.

Finally, we come to Tucker, who sometimes likes what appears to be the least comfortable situations. He’s still not accepted by the others, and so usually sits apart from them. When I’m on the couch, his place is on the arm to my left. Despite being of a completely different build than Renn, who can straddle the arm of the couch easily, the roly poly one manages to maintain a position despite seeming ready to slip off at any moment.

He also likes the armchair opposite, where he snoozes leaning against the little table next to it. Again, it seems rather an awkward position, but he likes it. Once, he managed to lie there next to Renn.

He too enjoys the firmness of the downstairs armchairs and I’ve seen him indulging in the relative expansiveness of the new loveseat in the parlour. Occasionally, he burrows under the covers of the bed.

But he is a cat who doesn’t appear to mind unusual positions or hard surfaces. Oftimes, he will simply spread himself on hardwood or linoleum, his legs stretched out behind him, his ‘bathing beauty pose’, ready for his photography shoot on a beach.

Each cat finds his or her own place for much needed relaxation. Each has his or her own tastes, preferences and sense of comfort. It’s not where or how one rests after all, but whether indeed one does rest. And a cat will always achieve that if given a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Awww! How can anyone not accept sweet Tucker? You can tell how adorable he is just reading about him and seeing his photos!