The Howling of Old Cats

Yesterday the vet told Hank, “Older cats do a lot of howling.”  No freaken kidding.

My cats used to be silent, back when they were younger and exercised their bodies and not just their vocal cords.  Now it’s like backstage at the opera house at any given hour of the day, and sometimes it starts to feel like a cat looney bin around here.

I’d like to know what on Earth gave my cats the green light to vocalize their incredible existential angst all the time?? Haven’t they noticed we humans may bitch and complain for a period of time, but we rarely emit the kind of death-moans that cats turn out like no tomorrow.

This morning, Brody thought 5 am was his cue for a solo aria of pathetic woe, presented not ten inches from my left ear. His true talent, however, lies in warbling through the apartment singing the cat blues to the world at large.  It’s not pretty.  It’s unnerving.  I can tune the cat out, but I can’t tune Hank out, and he can’t tune the cat out.  So I might as well not tune the cat out.

Life is thus made more anxious by anxious cats.  They pick up our anxiety and give it back in feedback-like feline warbling.  Sleep is ruined.  Mental peace, ruined.

And now to find the experts knew this would happen years ago.  It’s apparently a commonly known fact, older cats howl a lot.  What else did they fail to warn us about??

I swear younger cats should have to wear a label.  “May eventually emit brain-curdling noises throughout the night, leading to a reduction in complete well-being and brain power for any nearby humans.”

Categories: anxiety, Brody, cats, humor, humour, relationships, sleep | Leave a comment

Cat Camping Season Officially Opens

Campground Peacock Drops in to Shoot the Breeze

The Kitty Camping Season is officially off and running! The Association of Camping Kitties (ACK) has formally declared July as Cat Camping month.

ACK veterans like Brody and Herman need not be told.  They know it will soon be time, time to hide (aka “pack”) the leashes and break out the kitty barbeque set.

Send your humans to the outdoor store for the squeeter juice and cat GORP and get ready for the wildest, craziest camping trip of your cats’ lives.  It’s been a long, cold, hard winter, and we need some serious sleeping under the stars to try and forget it.

Ahh, the midnight meadow-mouse nature walks, the mornings blending into evenings lazing about in the tent, the visit from the campground peacock…

A Recent Midnight Meadow-Mouse Hike

These camping expeditions really revive kittys’ batteries for another relentless year of cat 9-to-5.

Categories: Brody, cats, Herman, humor, humour, lifestyle, news, outdoors, play, sleep, travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Cat Who Cried “MWAOWWWaaaOIIOOW!”

The blood-curdling howl ripped me from dream state, and I awoke knowing someone was doing something horrible to something else out there in the night.  Then it all snapped into place like two Legos and my feet flew out of bed bringing me along running with them.  It was five AM and I had to stop the painful sounds of torture — if not any actual torture itself.  I had to consider, what would the neighbors think?

Sure enough, I had awoken to the horrible sounds of another battle-supreme between the two cats who otherwise can’t get enough (sleep on top) of each other.  The “brothers” who are not related, the boys who fill our days with joys have lately become a troubled duo.  Call them Paul and John, they ain’t getting along, at least not all the time like they used to. Continue reading

Categories: anxiety, Brody, cats, health, Herman, humor, humour, relationships, sleep | 1 Comment

Sleeping with The Panther

Since last winter, Herman Panther has taken to sleeping in Hank’s arms like a lover.  Now, I don’t want you to think that I mind, because I don’t mind at all.  Seeing as how I tend to be mistaken in my sleep for a mild cyclone, I’m perfectly happy letting two of my boys have at the comfort of each other’s arms. That way I’m free to twist the sheets into rope and send the blankets into 14 directions and generally get the sleep that I need unencumbered. 

Unfortunately, my spot on the door-side of the bed puts me directly in the path of the sleek but leaden-weighted Herman Panther, a place that seems predetermined to be his springboard on and off the bed. 

Imagine me, deep in sleep, in my stormy lullaby-land, unconscious, unknowing, unable to anticipate my 16-pound bowling ball on claws bounding off my belly like it’s the trampoline launch at the cat gymnast olympics.  Or equally astonishing, awakening to the scrabbling ascent over my protruding hip at he claws his way up, over, and into the valley between me and Hank.

Let’s just say I could do without these sudden awakenings. But there is little that can be done, short of building a fence on my side of the bed, which is an idea I just now had that might work.  But short of that, his only other route is to cut across my pillow, painfully yanking my hair with each step. Or sometimes, he’s cut across my face, and I awaken with scratched cheeks.  Yes, I don’t mind Panther sleeping with Hank, it’s just his getting in and out of bed that causes issues.

However, once he makes it to his target, let’s call it “warm-body Hank,” a bit of magic occurs that kind of changes everything.  This is how it works:  Herman mills around in the vicinity of Hank’s neck looking especially clueless and waiting for “it” to happen.  Then, suddenly, he’s drawn in under the covers right in the perfect spot next to warm-body Hank.  It happens so fast, it’s amazing!  It would take the cat about a year to find that spot himself, believe me.

Now Herman’s sleeping head rests on Hank’s big manly bicep, and Hank’s other arm gently embraces the happy black cat.   Through the night they sleep thus, man and cat and other cat (at feet), and woman slash cyclone slash trampoline.  Now, what was it I was complaining about?

Categories: cats, Herman, humor, humour, lifestyle, relationships, sleep | 3 Comments

Cats at Night: Bleary Humans Seek Answers Here

I don’t want you to think this is 1984 or anything, but I do get to see the search terms that some of you use to arrive at Self Help for Cats.  By far and wide the number one topic you all want to know about is what to do when your cats go crazy at night. 

Apparently Self Help for Cats has uncovered an epidemic wherein everyday, cat people around the planet wake up and blearily start searching the Internet with terms like, “cat night crazies,” “cat freaks out at night,” and my favorite, just searched on yesterday: “cat ruining house at night.”

Now I sure don’t mind the traffic, because frankly right now Self Help for Cats is still a boutique operation minus the boutique, for sure.  And I’m honored to be sought as a source of help and advice. What I need to clarify, however, is that the Self Help for Cats program is not really about helping you get a good night sleep — that will merely be one of the fantastic, amazing side effects of the Self Help for Cats plan, along with things like health, wealth, and eternal bliss.   

So don’t expect a lot of practical, boring, labor-intensive remedies that you will find on other sites.  Wake them at this time, feed them at that — I’m sure it’s all well and good, and I even provide a link to such an earnest and thought-out program in my own first piece here on the topic.  

But understand, Self Help for Cats is not about how to put kitty to bed on your schedule.  Rather, the entire Self Help for Cats program is about corralling that wild, innate entrepreneurial energy you see running itself rampant about 1 am, and using it to shake up the world and create something totally new and utterly great!

Of course, once you cat is a major success, he or she is no longer going to want to bug you all night long, it almost goes without saying. 


Tune in soon for our next feature on this topic: The Mattress:  Invented by Cat to Torment Man?  Our hard hitting reporter will examine whether humans used to sleep on their feet like horses until cats trained them to lie horizontally, and be completely at their mercy for eight hours a day.

Categories: cats, humor, humour, sleep | 5 Comments

Cats Gone Night Crazy? Coping with the PM Feline Freak-Out

So we bring cat in from the wild and expect it to act all sophisticated and keep a decent sleep schedule like a normal person. Next thing you know, cat needs to be checked into a padded room at the stroke of midnight. If your cat transforms from love angel to whack devil about the time you want to go to bed, don’t start Googling feline funny farms. Probably the one who needs a metaphoric lobotomy in the situation is you, the human.

Yes, it’s quite a problem that our little furries with the sharp claws happen to be nocturnal by nature. In recent decades, as cats have made the big move from the barn to the bedroom, lots of people have discovered their sleep disturbed in one way or another by the nightly “kitty crazies.”

My own worst story was waking up one early hour to feel my adorable and wild-ish Maine Coon chomping deeply into the connecting tissue of my small right toe. Now if you’ve never awoken to the bite of an animal, well, it’s like being chased by a swarm of bees or confronting a mama Grizzly or having to escape from a fire – it’s one of those things that’s always best when it happens to someone else. Continue reading

Categories: Brody, cats, humor, humour, play, sleep | 21 Comments

The Truth About Cats & Sleep

Cats get a lot of crap for the phenomenal amount of down-time they take, and I admit to being one to make fun of their marathon knock-out naps. Yet it turns out the joke is on me because science has known for years that cats actually accomplish stuff as they sleep!

That’s right, cats may look like they are lost in LaLa land, but actually they are getting to the REM time that will fine tune them into tip-top form and function. Their half-life in dreamland lets them practice their moves on an ideal basis, turning them into the hunting machine they would need to be, if they needed to hunt.

It’s all reported in The Mind at Night by Andrea Rock. Not that I approve of this kind of research, seeing as French neurobiologist Michel Jouvet “surgically disconnected the portion of the cat’s brain that normally paralyzes its muscles during REM.” Still, it’s fascinating to know that cat dreams are a form of practice for the demands of the real world. One can only hope they reconnected that part of the brain later so the cats could go back to dreaming in peace, even if was 1960.

Clear from this stunning discovery, cats are not born enemies of time management – they simply practice it on a level that humans are only just starting to understand.

Categories: books, PR, sleep | 2 Comments

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