Cat Scratch Fever

Shortly after going to bed last night, I was woken by a really loud noise.

It sounded like someone had “cow-tipped” a 300-lb. rat, and the big fat rat was desperately scrambling, with its giant scratchy ratty toenails, to right itself on the hardwood floors. It fell. It scrambled. It scratched. It took out a lamp. It fell again. Scratchie, scratchie, scramble, scramble.

I sat up. David grumbled something in his sleep that sounded like “Fracklefarklefrack. Cats.”

I grabbed my glasses and squinted through the darkness. Cats, yeah, for sure; where are the cats?

Brodie, typically the first against the wall in a shennanigan revolution, was fast asleep at the end of the bed. Well, was fast asleep. He cracked an eye open by a slit, like, “Awww, Ma. I’m sleepin.”

I peered through the gloom for Keegan, who should have been curled up on the other corner of the bed.

Keegan, the good cat, who never misbehaves or causes trouble. Keegan, the quiet, dignified cat.

No Keegan.

Giant rat falls over again. Louder. Thump. Scramble, scramble. Scratchie, scritchie, scramble.

“Keegan?” I whisper.

Silence.

“Keegan??” Louder.

Thump. Scratchie. Scrible. Scramble.

I crept downstairs, based on the noise, expecting a scene of tsunami-like destruction. At the least, the kind of damage that a 300-lb rat would inflict on a living room after consistently falling over and scrambling to right itself.

I turned on the light.

No flipped over furniture. No tossed cabinets. Not even a beat-up, discombobulated rat. Simply a small, slightly-chubby, orange and white cat. A cat calmly sitting in the middle of the floor. A cat looking up at me with the most innocent expression I may have ever seen on the face of a small, slightly-chubby orange and white cat. Nothing dumped over. No chaos. No calamity. I swear to God he smothered a yawn with one immaculate paw.

“Keegan! Jeeezuuusss. We’re sleeping!”

He begins to lick his butt.

Shaking my head, I climbed the stairs, crawled back into bed and drifted back into sleep.

Minutes/hours pass.

WHOMP! SCRAMBLE! SCRITCHIESCRITCHIESCRAMBLE!

I leapt from bed, ran down the stairs and peered again into the gloom. Dear God, what is up with the racket!!!

I turned on the light.

“WTF? Keegan!”

What was he doing to make all that noise? Juggling with power tools? Rollerskating in circles? Re-arranging the furniture? Sliding down the hallway on just his claws? What the hell was he trying to do, drive me completely insane?

Frustrated, I stormed down the stairs, swooped him up and carried him to the couch. Shaking my finger in his furry face, I explained to him that it was sleepy time and that meant for ALL of us. I pointed to the corner of the couch.

“Go! Sleep!”

Keegan looked suitably chastised. He curled up on the assigned cushion.

I went back upstairs and back to bed.

Time passed.

Thump. Scratchie. Scrible. Scramble.

At this point, I was getting really angry. I don’t usually lose my temper with the cats, but I was exhausted and this was ridiculous. Some sick feline game. Well, in theory, I was Mom. Breadwinner. Possessor of thumbs.  Opener of cat food cans. Certainly due some form of respect and obedience.

“Keegan!” I hissed, into the blackness.

Thump. Scratchie. Scrible. Scramble.

Wearily, I drug myself to the stairs. I flipped the wall switch and the stairwell filled with light.

“That’s it, you furry little bastard.” I snarled. “It’s seriously sleepy time now. No more of that.” I snatched him up and dumped him on the foot of the bed.

David groaned in his sleep and pulled the covers over his head.

“Keegan! Stay there. Sleep. Now.”

Keegan obliged and I climbed back into bed. Finally, I think. He’s finally tired, too. I’ve won.

I felt fairly smug, in all that silence, so eventually I drifted off to sleep.

WHOMP! SCRAMBLE!

Furious, I scrambled out of bed only to find Keegan sleeping peacefully on David’s feet.

I looked over the rail.

The darkness was very quiet.

Suspiciously quiet.

I slowly walked down the stairs.

Quiet.

Wait a minute. Where was Brodie?

Scritch.

I turned on the light.

It dawned on me then, they’re working in shifts.

I’m outnumbered.

I gave up, went back to bed and buried my head under the covers.

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