Cats Sleep Fat

The three axioms of cat ownership are:

1. Anything not nailed down is a cat toy.

2. You will learn to be fully awake and functional by the ‘K’ of the first WHORK or risk finding cat puke in the most inconvenient of places.

3. Cats rarely if ever fall asleep.

It’s true. They sleep something like 20 to 22 hours of the day yet they never seem to be dead to the world enter the sandman obliviously asleep. I have noticed that they have different modes of sleeping though, and various degrees of consciousness associated with each mode but there always seems to be some alertness to the cat.

Take “loafy cat” sleeping. For the uninitiated, this is your typical cat resting position where they fold up all their feet and legs and then sit on them. The head is kept upright along with the ears while the eyes are closed. Basically they look like a furry meat loaf with a cat head perched on one side. If their eyes are opened then they are awake and sitting “loafy”. Loafy cat may not be sleeping at all, or it may be the lightest level of cat napping but don’t be fooled into thinking the cat is anywhere near “asleep” as you understand the word. Watch the ears. Loafy cats are really just sitting there with their eyes closed and listening to the world. Make a sound here and an ear will twitch towards it. Move over there and an ear will follow. If you make enough noise or move around a lot, the cat will open its eyes to see what the heck you might be doing. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a loafy cat.

Sometimes a cat will sleep loafy and lay its head on the ground. The Little kitty does this quite a bit but she is only a tiny fraction deeper into cat napping that say, she would be if she were chasing spiders. I think it’s really just the lazy way of being loafy cat. It’s just too much effort to keep her head upright so over it falls. Maybe I’ll call this variation Loafy Cat with a Cheeto Chaser. If the ears are relaxed down you may be able to take one or two steps towards the cat before you get any “I know you are there” ear action. As with the plain “loafy cat” style of napping it is nearly impossible to sneak up on a cat resting as such, but then again the cat may not give a rip what you are doing. It’s the Cheeto Chaser element that gives it a special “whatever” spin.

The next stage of sleep is a sort of “dog sleep” style of napping. The feet and legs are all over on one side and the body is laid out flat. It’s almost as if the cat were standing up but it’s on its side. Sometimes Isaak will flop himself over “dog sleep” if he wants attention and then just doze off when he doesn’t get any. “Dog sleep” is a much more relaxed position than “loafy cat” because the feet aren’t ready for immediate departure. With loafy cat, any feline can catch a light snooze and then sproing the hell out of dodge in a minute’s notice. Dog sleep requires collecting the legs under the cat before springing. Still, cats can get deep enough into dog sleep that you can actually touch one in dog sleep before they react; providing you are sitting right next to them and move very very slowly. Forget sneaking up on them, you will only make it half way.

Ball of Cat sleep comes next. This is your typical true cat sleeping pose where their nose is jammed right into their butt and the tail is wrapped around the whole cat. It’s sort of like rolling a blanket; if you start with the back legs of a cat and tuck them up against the cat’s belly and continue rolling the cat until you get to the head then you have achieved Ball of Cat. Mind you I don’t suggest trying it because I can’t imagine many cats getting a kick out of being rolled up as such but the explanation works for the visual I think. Ball of Cat also comes in the two different ear varieties of ears perked and ears relaxed. Forget sneaking up on ears perked. Chances are the cat also has its eyes open just a little bit and knows exactly what you are doing. With ears relaxed you might make it all the way up to the cat before it wakes up if you are really really quiet.

Sleeping on their Head. This is the deepest common form of cat sleeping and it’s is very similar to Ball of Cat (in fact, I think cats start with Ball of Cat and just gradually work their way into Sleeping on their Heads) except the head is entirely inverted. You can’t even see the eyes of a cat Sleeping on its Head and it looks damn uncomfortable the way they twist their whole head completely upsidown. None the less, I have seen my two weirdoes get so relaxed Sleeping on their Heads that they close their inner eyelid. You can sneak up and touch a cat Sleeping on its Head if you are quiet and definitely you can poke one Sleeping on its Head if you are sitting next to them. However, they rarely ever jump up and spaz if you do. Most likely they will lazily uncoil their head, blink the nictitating eye membrane out of the way and look at you with that “What?” face they get.

All forms of cat sleep are accompanied by “cat turger” or the presence of a slight bit of tension in the cat body. If you were able to pick up a cat in each of these stages you would find that the cat was more relaxed Sleeping on its Head than it was being Loafy Cat but even a Sleeping on its Head a cat is never entirely limp. Their brain is the same way too. It retains some spring and is always keeping track of the outside environment waiting for any loud noise or sudden translocation of the entire cat body and instantly bringing the cat to full battle readiness.

That’s why at three in the morning, I thought Isaak was dead. He usually sleeps in the crook of one knee (I sleep in a loose fetal position) and sometime early this morning he settled into his favorite spot for a snooze. Life was good until I tried to roll over and got tangled up in cat. So I groggily sat up to manually move the cat out from the sheets and legs and reposition him in a more comfortable place. When I picked him up I noticed that not only was he not moving in protest but he was completely limp. A rag doll would have had more stiffness in its limbs than the “I” and I thought, “Huh, THAT’s mighty weird.” I gave him a shake and he was still droopy in my hands. Just about the time I was fully waking up and calling his name he decided to give me one cranky “Mrrr” and squirmed out of my hands. Ingrate.

That’s the second episode where I thought I had killed my poor cat. The first was when he was a little kitty of about three or four months, back in the sweltering days of late August. We were at my non air conditioned Dad’s place playing around for quite some time before he decided to jump up next to me and nap. I read, he napped, I finished an entire book, he napped, I put the book away and grabbed a magazine, he did not even twitch an ear. I leaned back and bonked him in the head with my pointy elbow, he slumbered on. When you whack a cat in the head they usually notice so I was a might concerned. I poked him; nothing. I called his name; nothing. I skootched his entire body around the couch cushion and finally he opened his eyes and gave me a very sleepy “What?”

I can understand the whole zonked kitten on a hot day unresponsiveness but last nights leg switch limpy still has me baffled. Maybe the “I” was a bit stunned from being bonked in the head? Maybe he was having a small limp cat seizure? Maybe he was just too tired to care and only decided to act only when I bothered him with my “Hey Isaak? You alright cat?” Whatever it was, it was mighty weird.

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