Warning! Reading this post can be scary. It’s actually scary what our KITTY requires of us poor pet owners. He will turn 17 years old this spring. I’ve had him since he was a wee one that we picked up at my brother-in-law’s Northern Wisconsin dairy farm.
I knew the chances of a kitten growing to maturity on a farm were slim. There were too many cows to stomp him and diseases to catch him, so I tucked him into my Dodge Caravan and drove him home to Chicago, where I lived with my three young sons.
Since then, Kitty has journeyed with me to my new home (as of 2001) in the Atlanta area. It’s where he’s discovered a terrible fear of snakes. (I do too, they’re poisonous down here!) And, since he sticks pretty close to his couch pillows these days, he has a peaceful life.
It’s what he’s demanding of my husband and I, wearied ones that we are, that’s causing the angst in our home.
Warning there are:
Every night, between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., Kitty comes knocking on our bedroom door for some Kitty-service. Despite the fact that has a well-stocked self-feeder available to him at all hours of the day, he “demands” personalized service. As if we were his kitty butlers. Which, in a sense, he HAS turned us into. He drags us out of our warm, snug beds to the kitchen and demands that we “woosh” the cat food in his self-feeder. He obviously doesn’t understand the “self” portion of the self-feeder concept, despite the fact that we’ve explained it to him over and over.
We’ve tried ignoring him. But he goes from scratching on the door, to putting his paw underneath the door to shake it to wake his silly humans. That, of course, gets the dogs that sleep in our bedroom up and barking. And there we go, another sleepless night for the humans.
Sleep-deprivation research shows us that if we don’t get our eight-hours of slumber, bad things happen to us. Things like lack of concentration, lack of coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision and headaches. The scariest symptom of long-term sleep deprivation is hallucinations. Yikes! THAT explains a lot. Researchers in studies on rats found that they will die after two weeks of sleep deprivation.
The rats died. Imagine that.
Steve and Cherie after being zombified by Kitty
That explains a lot of what’s been going on in our household after Kitty’s new phase. I think he’s suffering from a version of kitty Alzheimer’s. Considering that a 17 year old cat is much like a 90 year old human, we’re humoring him for now.
And we’ve turned into the undead. Walking through our days – ZOMBIEFIED.
I’m wondering if Kitty is suffering from one of the sleep disorders cats suffer from. Surprisingly, once I started researching it, I did discover that vets actually think that cats can have sleep disorders. I know, I know, it seems like cats DO sleep 18 hours out of every 24, but there are some actual clinical diseases cats can suffer from. According to a veterinarian site, the four disorders suffered by cats are:
1) Hypersomnia – does your cat sleep excessively? What’s excessive for a cat anyways? The average cat only needs 11 to 16 hours of sleep a day (only?). So, if they’re sleeping longer than that, they probably aren’t getting any exercise. Vets think that a hyersominic cat is just bored silly and recommend getting another cat.
2) Sleep apnea – you’ve probably heard this term applied to humans, especially the ones that keep their wives awake by excessive snoring. But, cats can also stop breathing momentarily while sleeping, causing sleep disturbances.
3) Narcolepsy – is often thought of as that person or goat that falls asleep at the drop of a hat. But cats can also suffer from feline narcolepsy. This is best diagnosed and treated by a your vet.
4) Insomnia – maybe kitty has this? Insomnia is lack of sleep, the opposite of hypersomnia. Kitty does seem rather testy and restless at night – especially if we don’t wake up fast enough. The cure is to make sure that the cat has a soothing restful place to sleep.
I’m giving Kitty his own bedroom from now on. He can rest all day and all night if he wants to and I’ll not disturb him. Maybe I can cure this zombiefication that’s occurred in our house. Wish us luck!
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