Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bad Kitties

So calm, so serene, so comfy.

Like I feel at 4:15am, right before the little bastards start meowing for their breakfast (or not so little in Rikki's case). I'm not sure when this trend started, but at some point in the last year Rikki and Cleo have decided that it's great fun to begin making noise and accosting my sleeping body at some time between 4am and 6am. Their noise-making is creative...sometimes it's just incessant meowing, sometimes they fight viciously, and occasionally they'll make "just about to barf" sounds while on my bed, ensuring I have to jump up to knock them onto the floor. The physical abuse to my body includes but is not limited to prancing right across my face, feet stepping on eyes and occasionally into mouth, and jumping onto my prone stomach from the window sill about three feet away. Of course it's only Rikki, who weighs 17 pounds, who ever attempts this latter feat. Too bad I don't typically have the hiccups at 4am, because I'm guessing this would be a great freakin' way to get rid of them.

My attempts to "show 'em who's boss" by ignoring them has yielded no results, and by the time I've bothered to get out of bed, throw them in the bathroom, shut the door and insert earplugs, I'm already wide awake. So...they win. I wake up, feed them, and attempt to go back to sleep for a few hours.

If only it were that easy. I've recently had to take additional measures when feeding them to ensure that Cleo gets all of her food (or at least that Rikki doesn't get any of her food). Rikki is a fat, gluttonous bastard and will not hesitate to push her out of the way of her own food bowl after he's finished scarfing down his portion, which he does in about an eighth of the time it takes Cleo to finish hers, if she does at all. And although this always bothered me, it didn't become a crucial issue until I realized that Rikki is just one pound under the weight maximum to travel in the airplane cabin with me, and if you throw in the weight of the carrier (which the airlines do include) then he is at maximum. There is no "wiggle room" here, and I've got to ensure that he doesn't gain any more weight.

So now when they wake me at whatever god-awful hour they see fit, I feed Rikki in the kitchen and Cleo in the bathroom, where I hope she will be able to finish her meal in peace. Except that over the last week or so, she's begun caterwauling about half way through her portion, and when I open the door to let her out, she just looks at me for a moment and then goes back to eating. And then I shut the door, and a few minutes later she begins with the noise again. At some point it becomes clear that she isn't going to eat any more, at which point I take her bowl back to the kitchen, where Rikki proceeds to lick the surface clean of any residue that she may have left.

And THEN I can go back to sleep for good for the morning.

Surely there is some sort of behavior modification that can be employed here that I am missing. Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.

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