My long standing prediction finally came true: our obnoxious cat has finally driven us from our home.
Spice, our perpetual baby, turns thirteen tomorrow. She has always been extremely needy. Sometimes, she expresses this by sitting quietly and companionably on someone’s lap. More often, she cries—loudly, and almost constantly for long periods. I love her, I just don’t like her a lot of the time.
Spice, like most cats, thrives on schedules. Her schedule since—well, probably since Aly left for college—has been to complain loudly when she decides we should go to bed. She harangues us as we dress for bed. She demands to be let under the covers, then jumps out of bed for a quick snack from her bowl, which she likes to chew while hovering over our heads, standing on our pillows. She might sleep for a while, but only until one or both of us get up to use the bathroom in the night. After that, she needs to be let out on the porch. If we refuse, which we usually do, she’ll cajole us by combing our hair with her claws, kissing our ears, crying, and/or pouncing on our feet. This generally goes on until we get up in the morning. She’ll usually cry for various reasons for the next half hour or so, before settling in on our bed to sleep the morning away.
As one might imagine, this got old the first time she did it. We’ve tried just about everything to get her to stop, with no luck (see Modifying Cat Behavior and Personal Firearm Responsibility).
Recently, I remembered the guest cabin! We started sleeping over there, and have enjoyed long, full nights of uninterrupted sleep. We feel wonderful! Spice doesn’t like it, but she’s adjusting.
We tried a night in the cabin on a recent weekend, but learned that we haven’t yet broken her routine. We’ll try it for a while longer; hopefully, she’ll create new rituals for herself that don’t involve us. Aly plans to come home later in the summer, which should break things up even more.
We wouldn’t do this if the guesthouse weren’t so pleasant. We have periodically looked for excuses to spend more time over there, and this opportunity works well for us at the moment. The upper 1/2 story sleeping loft feels like a club house or tree house. We have our faithful old cotton flannel double sleeping bag spread on the mattress, making a very cozy place to spend the night. We feel like we’re on a sleepover or camp out. When the novelty wears off, or summer guests come to stay the night, we’ll return to our own bed.
Slowly, inevitably, Spice is calming a bit as she ages. She’s reaching her elder years, and may become more cuddly and less needy as she ages. I can only hope that’s true. We’ll need to put up with her negative traits for another year or two, after which Aly, graduated from college and settled into her adult arrangements, will likely take her off our hands.