There is an upside down kitty on my desk. A rather large one – Penny, my Maine Coon, has taken to sleeping all day on the desk, something that severely limits how much work I can spread on it as Penny at full stretch is – well – impressive to say the least. The thing that fascinates me, though are the postures she manages, and not just her – the others as well. I know that cats are much more flexible than we are, but it always amazes me to see a cat stretched out full length, chin up in the air, belly showing upwards – and hindlegs almost tucked under. Naturally she dreams… leading to her paws twitching energetically and her whiskers going like mad. Am Catching Birds, she might say, or, Got It!!
The almost irresistible urge for me is to touch that tummy that is spread so invitingly. When I do it to Izabelle, the response is an enthusiastic curl that wraps her entire body around my hand as she purrs loudly and rubs her face all over it. Penny tends to just open a quarter eye lid and go Hrmpf!, curl her tummy upwards a tiny bit more to ensure that I keep rubbing it – and going back to sleep. With Ulysses I don’t even get near him before he has energetically curled the tummy up, waving his paws enticingly in the air and made urgent chirrup noises to ensure that I come closer. Once my hand has contact, he washes it very, very energetically before holding on to it, so he can use my fingers to clean his eyes (!). Between each eye rub, the fingers get carefully licked clean and then back to the eyes again. Much Easier That Way, he explains, Too Much Fur – Gets In My Mouth ALL The Time. Very Frustrating. Fingers Much More Convenient.
Often the satisfied stretch out of a paw when they sleep seems to have more than one purpose. Just Stretching D’Ar or Penny might claim – while objects and coffee mugs inexplicably make their way to the edge of the table. Really Just Stretching, Penny adamantly states, while visibly making dents in whatever kitten happens to be sleeping at the end of where she can stretch to. Oops, she sighs, as the kitten is steadily pushed along the surface, Guess She Shouldn’t Have Chosen To Sleep Just There. And again Penny – when sleeping on a chair in the kitchen, seemingly fast asleep and oh, so casually sstreeetching her paw down and digging her claws ever so gently into the dog until she gives up and moves somewhere else…
Ianthe and Izabelle have yet to learn the subtleties of using sleep to change things around. They still get excited, so when in the middle of sleep (which inevitably is one on top of the other) one of the starts dreaming and twitching, the other one pounces gleefully – and the whole thing turns into a quick fight. Quick – because after 10 seconds ‘Auntie’ Penny lifts her very large head, hisses and glares – and let’s just say that if cats could whistle and look off into the distance – they would… Weren’t Doing Nothing, they mumble, Just Looking Out The Window! And Penny sighs deeply, puts her head down and streeetches her paw out to oh-so-incidentally poke one of them….