The Sassy Sandpiper: My Alarm Clock Has Fur
By M.R. WILSON, TB Reporter
This wake-up call includes a yowling reveille.
Upon reaching a point in my life when an alarm clock is unnecessary, Pixel Leo (the dominant male of Boa’s six-pack) volunteers his services.
Pixel takes his job seriously. At 4:00 a.m., he’s patrolling the house, rousing drowsy compadres, including me. A yowling reveille resounds from several posts: the foot of the bed, the dresser, or perhaps three cat-paces out from the bedroom door. It’s useless to close at night, as Pixel will rabbit-kick it until I drag myself up and let him in. Pix often sits anywhere on my person he finds convenient and screams.
I yell back or push him away or send a jet of water from a spray bottle in his direction. Eventually he relents and allows me to sleep until dawn’s early light dapples the bedspread.
Once I’m up, Pixel ignores me. He tends to other tasks. The uppermost window in the living room east wall needs inspection. Yes, the sun is rising. His rival brother Bruiser shoots him a “Bring it on!” glance and a tussle ensues. They hit the wood floor hard; I fear broken bones. Then it’s over. They sniff faces and purr. Next, the Kitty Kabana. Sometimes a bothersome little sister is driven mercilessly back into the house. What offense? Only Pixel knows.
I close the bathroom door to curtail the usual invasion of Boa’s private dining room and litter box quarters. For Pixel, this is insult atop injury. He meows pitifully: “Raa-UULLLL!” I swear. Maybe he’s shouting his sire’s name, “Raúl!” I meow back.
A last, I fill my cup, replenish the bird feeders, and return to bed for my favorite time of day, “Cats, coffee, and contemplation.” The sliding glass door opens wide to fresh morning air. I gaze out over the deck to the green expanse of my “yarden,” thankful for contentment and peace. One by one, the felines arrive, some to cuddle and nap, others to stand watch. Blue jays, mourning and Eurasian collared doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, the cardinal pair, and oh yes—squirrels—offer grand entertainment.
Pixel makes his way to the Alpha Spot, as close to my heart as he can squeeze. I’ve learned to balance coffee warily, as he is prone to head-butting the cup, wanting me to put it down for Cat’s Sake and pet him. He looks up dreamily, purring at high volume. If Pixel weren’t so affectionate and debonair in his white and khaki fur, I might be tempted to wrestle him into a collar and turn him loose in the wide, wild spaces. He’s escaped a few times, huddling under my car until I coax him out with canned tuna.
When I’m frustrated, he’s Pixel Leo PITA (pain-in-the-arse). But since those awkward kitten days when he hadn’t yet grown into his enormous ears and I called him “Little Clown Cat,” he’s wrapped me around his snowy paw.
The Furred Alarm Clock rules!
M.R. Wilson is Tampa Bay Reporter’s regularly featured columnist.
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