My feline alarm clock

My feline alarm clock

I have been an early riser since childhood and have never had to be woken up in the morning. I say this because the other members of my family (read sons) subscribe to the view that one cannot get up unless one is woken up.

Things have changed since our cat, Odie, has moved into our bedroom and onto our bed. She sleeps at my feet. In the beginning, she used to get up at 3 am and demand “breakfast”. After a few days, she realised that I get up just a couple of hours after her “breakfast” time and she decided to let me sleep till then.

Once it is time for me to rise, she doesn’t give me a moment’s peace. Small paws dig into my chest and stomach and soft meows urge me to wake up. If that doesn’t work, she turns around and brushes my face with her soft furry tail and licks my fingers with her little rough tongue. She has all the air of a mother waking her child for school — gentle and loving but very very firm.

“Get up! Get up! Get up!” say her gradually ascending meows. She doesn’t have a snooze setting, so pleading with her to let me sleep a little longer doesn’t work. She has taken on the job of ensuring that I rise on time and she takes her job seriously. A more duty conscious cat there never was!

She does not relent even on Sundays when I sleep at least an hour more than usual. What does she know about Sundays and Mondays, after all? The cartoon character, Dennis, once told his parents when chided for waking them early on a weekend, “But I get just as hungry on weekends as I do on week middles!” Odie, too, gets just as hungry on Sundays as on other days.

Sometimes, I think it is not because she is hungry that she wakes me. She wakes me because that is her self-appointed task. She seems genuinely concerned that if I don’t go about my chores from early in the morning, the family will have nothing to eat and no hot water for bathing!

Even if I lie in bed with my eyes open, she is not satisfied. I have to leave my bed and stand on my feet before she is convinced that I have really wakened.

So I get up and after the ritual of stroking, cuddling and purring, which is our way of saying good morning to each other, I shuffle to the bathroom. When I get back, I find the little angelic devil fast asleep, her duty done!

In all this, she takes care not to wake my husband who he remains completely unaware of all the early morning activities in the room!