Each weekday morning, I wake at five minutes after five o’clock. Well, that’s my goal. Because the prime vomiting time in the apartment is between four and five, I generally wake during that hour. On weekends, I sleep to five-thirty. (I have to give the sugar twins their injections at the same time every day.) Some Saturdays and Sundays, Josie will wake me at six minutes after five, thinking that I am over-sleeping. She’s helpful is my Chubs.
Anyway, this morning was a bit different. After cleaning up the puke - Parker threw up at 2.20, so it wasn’t him this time; I think it was Tucker; despite the hairball medicine and laxative, he continues to toss up bile - I fed the beasts. I noticed a new outsider-cat, a white and tabby animal whom I am naming, for convenience, Polydora. She seemed to want something to eat, so I fed her, too. Then I cleaned the litter-boxes, washed and shaved, made the bed. Then I heard the sounds of feline confrontation.
None of mine were in a fighting stance. In fact, they seemed interested in something that was transpiring outside. This wasn’t good. I looked out the door; Polydora was long gone. Instead, Hugo and Smudge (another outsider-cat, and a neighbourhood regular) were facing off. They did not sound as if they were debating the respective merits of eighteenth century French and Italian opera.
I seized a long and sturdy stick (it is used while I am absent to ensure that the door to the ditch cannot be slid open more than an inch) and stepped outside. Before I could distract them by banging on stones and wood, they closed, and the battle was on.
They rolled furiously and the fur flew, most of it Smudge’s black and white hair. Hugo is the bigger and, I am sure, more dominant; Smudge probably wanted simply to retreat but couldn’t afford to turn his back. I started yelling, and advanced upon the combatants, thumping the stick on the ground. They were likely confused by the approach of an unknown quantity - a middle-aged human in carpet slippers shouting incomprehensibly - rather than frightened of me. Whatever the reason, they parted. Now, I pressed my advantage and moved into the three or four feet between them. I spoke more reasonably, urging them apart. They walked, slowly, carefully, in opposite directions. When I returned inside, Hugo was sitting at the corner of a fence looking victorious, while Smudge had retired out of sight.
I calmed down my beasts and finished the morning routine in time to arrive at work almost not late. All this is why I wake two hours before my work-day must begin, even though its location is just ten minutes away by bicycle.
Oh, and just before I left, I saw Cammie dragging her bum across the new rug, and I don’t think she was hoping it was a water-slide. This can’t be good…