The first night house-sitting, I had the brilliant idea of bringing Gwynn to stay overnight. I figured, hey, the cats stay on the second floor pretty much 100% of the time, and I’ve yet to see hide nor hair of them in three years of dog walks and occasional house-sitting. It’ll be fine. No worries.
What I didn’t take into account was that these cats have an active night-life.
Two hours of Gwynn yipping and whimpering from his crate at intervals just long enough for me to believe that it was getting longer. Two hours of the cats practicing their tap-dance routines on the second storey while Sadie paced and licked and paced and licked.
How could anyone sleep in this house? Even without Gwynn, the amount of noise produced by three tiny felines well exceeds that of a workplace requiring hearing-protection.
I tried relocating to the basement. The basement where the teenage son has created his personal AXE-scented nest of boydom. I spread my sleeping bag out, lay down gingerly, ensuring that no part of me came in contact with the couch. Gwynn’s whimpers were dying down a bit, Sadie was still restlessly pacing.
Then came what sounded like a lamp falling down, a full-grown man crashing into the tv and someone dropping pots and pans in the kitchen. Cell-phone in one hand, bludgeoning-device in the other, I crept up the stairs, prepared to do battle against thieves. With me in my sleep-deprived rage, those bastards stood a low chance of avoiding a trip to the hospital.
No-one was there, nothing was disturbed, and no cats were in sight. I checked all doors, and checked upstairs to try and tell my adrenaline-high body that it’s ok to relax.
Breathing freely for the first time since I’d relocated to the AXE-swamp of a basement, I lay down on the couch, Gwynn’s leash clutched in my hand.
Sleep was within my grasp at last. Oh sweet slumber, how I love thee.
Ten minutes later, Gwynn attempted to drag me under the side-table, where a cat sat primly just out of reach of his inquisitive nose. Mocking me, and denying me sleep. Terrorist.
Got the cat out from under the table without interaction with dogs, tried to go back to sleep. So. Close.
Ten minutes later, Sadie launched herself onto a chair and up the window. Second cat bolted from behind the curtain, hissing and grumbling like marbles being ground together. Dogs once again wide awake and wired. Lexy half-awake and 100% not asleep, trying desperately to remember how many cats are in the house.
No apparent third cat hidden within the tiny living-room, but it’s officially 3:30 am, and I’m running on 5 minutes of light-doze, and a heaping pile of nerves.
Three? Four? There could be thousands of them. Demonic Terrorist Cats… probably made of shadow and clangour. Or maybe there’s just one. Are there even any cats at all? Where the hell am I?
“Here kitty kitty? Nice kitty?” I manage to croak out, squinting about the dark room with red-rimmed, twitching eyes.
Hearing and rejecting simultaneously, the cats began a thundering race around the upstairs, still wearing their tiny kitty tap-shoes, and dragging cans half-filled with gravel.
The gravelly rrrowwwwl and simultaneous kettle-hiss of furry fury starts up again, this time from the couch.
I call the retreat. Snatching dogs, leashes and bag, I escape the madhouse, pajama-clad and wild-haired, with the frantic energy of escape from a burning building – just another inmate running for the hills.