Friday, February 25, 2005

You Put Your Paw Upon My Lips. . .

Cleo is not a cuddly cat. She’d rather attack your leg than sit on your lap. She detests being picked up. She is a constant ball of playful motion. The only time she’ll curl up with me is at night, in my bed.

Cleo is a frequent nighttime visitor. She hops in and out of bed a few times every evening. Before she’ll ascend to the bed, though, she is compelled to claw at the mattress and meow. She always jumps onto the head of the bed, never the middle or the foot. She has missed my face by only inches more than a few times. Her first time up for the evening, she’ll check things out and allow me to give her a few strokes. Then she hops down to engage in mischief elsewhere. She often repeats this ritual a few more times. Finally, she’ll come into the bed to stay.

If I don’t wake up when Cleo arrives, she wakes me up. She presses her cold, wet, slimy nose to my lips. After jolting awake, I’ll pet her until I fall asleep again. If I do not pet her long enough, she whaps me on the nose with a paw.

I’m usually laying in one of two positions: curled on my side (facing the edge of the bed) or flat on my back. When I’m on my side, Cleo will sometimes lay on my body, along my thigh, hip, and waist, matching my contour. Usually, she curls up in the hollow between my torso and the edge of the bed.

When I’m sleeping on my back, she sleeps on my chest. I have to pull the covers all the way to my neck, because she likes to get as close to my chin as possible and will knead her paws before she lies down. I like this position best because I can hear and feel the rumble of her purr. Lately, though, she has started doing something that makes this position less pleasant: she lays one of her front paws on my lips.

I’m a germaphobe. I’ve relaxed significantly since we got Cleo. I will now pet her and then eat food with the same hand. It is probably unsanitary, but it’s too inconvenient to constantly wash my hands, and I can’t resist giving my cats a stroke as they come by. However, there are two parts of the cats’ bodies that I avoid. The first, obviously, is their butts. The second is their paws. I shudder when I think of all the germs they collect padding around the house and digging in their litter boxes. Imagine my horror to wake up in the night to find a bacteria-laden paw ON MY LIPS!

The first night she lay her paw upon my lips, I awoke instantly and removed it. I woke up twice more that night to gently remove a paw. She didn’t repeat this move again until last night. I believe I slept for quite a while before waking up to the unfamiliar pressure and texture of her right foot on my mouth. While I was sleeping, I’m sure her cooties marched directly between my parted lips. I now have cat poop germs inside my mouth! (Mike isn’t going to want to kiss me after he reads this.)

Despite this unsanitary situation, I am going to continue to let her sleep on my chest. The moments when she is calm and cuddly are too precious to me. Except for our nighttime cuddles, she is a frisky terror, with paws of fury. I’m willing to endure the paws of filth for our snuggles.


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