The cat rules getting tested

There are a few things I’ve had just about enough of—snowbanks that block the view of oncoming traffic, my frozen fingers in cheap winter mitts, the dog’s back leg, and persnickety old oil furnaces.
And oh yes, the cat hairs on my bed pillow aren’t winning an award just now, either.
I love cats. I loathe cat hair—that same loathe of cat hair that I had during the weak and brainwashed moment last fall when I was convinced another house pet would complete me.
As I sit here writing this column, Oliver’s beady little cat eyes are staring back at me from the flop of my bed blankets that he has stirred up in the pandemonium to locate the small bell toy he’s constantly fetching and carrying around in his mouth.
The number-two cat rule around here goes something like this: “Cats are not allowed on my bed.”
Oliver knows this. He is a smart cat. Any cat that can drink water out of the toilet must be smart, right? Yet there he rolls in the no-cat zone of my unmade bed flicking cat hair all over my pillow—and as I thoroughly enjoy the morning entertainment.
I hate to admit it, but cats could teach us a thing or two about being in the moment and enjoying it—even if it means facing a total body shaving or wrap in duct tape when we are through.
I contemplate these radical fixes for the “shed” dilemma several times each day, including when I find cat hair protruding from my right nostril when I wake up in the morning or when a cat hair gets stuck to my contact lens as I am putting it in at 6 a.m., causing me to flail about as if a fire poker has just been inserted in my cornea.
Cats are not allowed on my bed.
And it never fails that at 11 p.m. as I lay supine under the weight of a snuggly bedspread, drained of energy from a busy day and drifting off into my fantasies, I will be attacked by a flying cat.
Just five minutes prior to this mayhem, he will have been passed out on the chair he is not supposed to sleep on in the kitchen.
The ruckus begins with what sounds like the distant rumble of horse hooves. And as my drowsy mind pictures Isaiah Mustafa from the “Old Spice” commercial riding in to rescue me from my troubles, a small feline terror leaps diagonally across my bed, meets with the opposing corner, and falls straight down the crack between the bed and the wall to floor.
With my dashed dreams of a beautiful black man on a white stallion, I drag my skeleton from bed and coax kitty to the kitchen with a treat and lock the door behind him as he bolts off to entertain the barn cat, on winter sojourn in the basement.
This “nuttier than squirrel turds” scenario happens at least three times a week and, it would appear, only on the nights when I dream of Mustafa. The remaining nights when I’m lying in bed thinking about the reasoning in buying a 16-oz. bottle of “Le Chien et le Chat” laundry detergent for $16, and a $600 vacuum cleaner meant just for animal hair, all is quiet on the feline front.
And then there is the dog’s back leg; with a mind and performance all its own during Cash’s ear-scratching episodes as it flails and jigs about in referred delight.
Inadvertently, the back leg of the canine becomes a door knocker at 3 a.m. when this human is in the deepest dungeon of sleep and wherein I’m suddenly impaled on the bedroom ceiling out of instant panic at the rapping that also sends Dot into a bark-and-warn frenzy.
Morning arrives and I sit up groggy, rubbing my face, chanting, “I feel wonderful, I feel wonderful,” mimicking a scene from the movie, “What about Bob.”
And then I wonder why I drop face-first into my chicken soup at lunchtime in a wave of narcolepsy.
Sherri Ziff Lester, a Hollywood life coach, says we should find a quiet space and ask: What do I want for my life? How do I want it to be different? And rather than seeing the new year as the time to radically shift gears overnight, to make a six-month plan with small, doable action steps.
Then, on the first day of each month, we’re supposed to treat ourselves and reflect on our progress.
As I look over at my bed, Oliver is rubbing his face all over the “J’Adore” perfume sample page in my “Elle” magazine and scratching at the image of Natalie Portman on the magazine cover, after which he dove into the space between my blankets and bedspread and fell asleep.
I think one small, doable action step for 2011 would be to give up on the number-two cat rule.

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