Twenty minutes before the alarm is due to go off, I wake up to find my face being exfoliated vigorously — er, washed with much love and dedication by Angel, who typically sleeps on my pillow. As long as she stays off the sensitive skin right around my eyes and mouth, I can handle that, especially when she’s purring like an earthquake. A moment later, she extends her attentions to my hair, by grabbing amouthful and yanking — ever seen a cat try to pull a knot loose in their fur? She’s a big, powerful girl, who can put a lot of force behind it. Ouch! So I reach up to pet her before this can progress — reinforcing a behaviour I could live without, but too sleepy still to think of anything else and reluctant to discourage her loving mood.
Loki, curled up between my knees, notices that I’m moving and decides I’m awake, so he gets up and walks up the side of the bed to headbutt me, purring, to suggest that since I’m awake I could get up and feed them now. No, I’m awake enough to avoid that one! Cave in, and tomorrow morning, they’ll gang up on me at twenty-to and declare that it’s breakfast time! I switch hands with Angel and rub him under the chin instead.
Cory, who prefers to sleep on an old couch cushion on top of a small wardrobe in the corner, wakes up from all the motion. He does a beautiful Hallowe’en-cat arched stretch, hops down to the dresser, across the plastic storage bins arranged into kitty window-perches and a corner bed under a lamp, hops over to the “headboard” of the bed (okay, it’s a flipped-sideways single mattress… please don’t ask, it’s a long story why, but the cats love it). He strolls along that, with the inevitable odds and ends on it rattling, jumps down onto Sean’s pillow, and progresses over to Sean’s C-PAP machine. For those not familiar with this, it provides constant air pressure that helps prevent Sean’s air passages from closing while he sleeps — gotta love sleep apnea! This model happens to have buttons on the top, and is exactly the right size for a cat to sit on as if it were a pedestal, with said cat’s bottom right on the buttons; Trick frequently turns it off, in particular. I heard it turn off, was about to poke Sean to tell him to turn it back on, when it came back on anyway — how thoughtful of Cory!
Angel decides to leave, Loki headbats her on the way by, and all settles back down. Loki, who has many years of experience with this, resignedly returns to his warm valley to wait. I drift back off hearing multiple litter boxes in use.
This means, by the time the alarm goes off, I’m asleep again. Swat the Snooze button. Get head-butted by Loki, repeatedly, so forcefully it’s a wonder he doesn’t break something — his head, or me! Drag myself out of bed, stumble towards the bathroom, almost trip over Trick. Cory wants a good-morning almost as soon as my backside hits the toilet seat. Get my ankles grabbed by Cory on my way out of the bathroom. Angel and Trick have a minor headbatting exchange in the hall, then Angel gives Trick’s ear a quick lick and everyone follows me to the living room.
First thing is always Loki’s asthma puffers, with a prayer of thanks every time that he’s so very good about it. We really need to replace the Aerokat chamber, but it still does the trick. Shake the puffer, fit it in one end, puff, fit the mask on the other end over Loki’s face quickly so he gets a dozen or so good breaths of it. Doesn’t take long, after two and a half years we’re all used to this.
Off to the kitchen to figure out which food might appeal to their highnesses’ delicate palates this morning. Hmm, let’s go with turkey — pate for Loki, chunky for the other three. How to get a powdered food supplement into Cory’s, knowing that he and Angel and Trick are going to play Musical Food Bowls until it’s all gone? Well, it isn’t going to hurt any of them, and any is better than none; can’t separate Cory for meals, he’ll be too busy clawing at the door to remember to eat. Poor patient Cory also gets his next-to-last dose of the liquid antibiotic he’s on for diarrhea; he’s very good about getting meds, and dives right into the food I give him immediately afterwards.
Loki gets his in the bedroom, by the window, because everyone else will pirate his, and he needs to eat. Trick is behind me when I turn around, complaining that he doesn’t have any food; I go retrieve the least-plundered food bowl for him and get him settled in the back room.
Now, finally, I can go wake Sean up, help him get out of bed and dressed.
And, quite possibly, fall back asleep myself….