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Let Sleeping Cats Lie

As I was getting ready for work this morning I heard the unmistakable sound of a kid getting hurt. As we know, parents can detect these sounds from great distances. Anyway, I called out to my son who was at the other end of the house, and sure enough, he was running for the bathroom while clutching his head.

Once we determined that no arteries had been severed, I asked him what had happened. George the Cat had given him a swat upside the head. Hmmm. "Why was your head that close to George while he was sleeping," I asked. He had decided to go and give George a scratch on the head while George was fast asleep.

Petting a sleeping cat is possible with some cats, but it is inadvisable with George. Most cats pick a place of safety for a nap - a cat bed, a high shelf, a chair under a table, etc. George sleeps anywhere he pleases. He sleeps in the middle of the floor, or the middle of the driveway, or out in the yard. He has no fear for his safety. The other cats, upon seeing him sleeping, tip toe around him and head off in another direction. George, and all of the other cats, know that it is a Bad Idea to mess with George while he is sleeping.

Unfortunately my 10 year old son is having to re-learn a lesson that Fido the Cat taught him as a toddler - let sleeping cats lie. He used to toddle over to Fido and grab a big fistful of fur and yell, "AHAAAAH!" At first I would be steps behind him, trying to save his life. Fido would awake with a start, paw up, claws extended, and make eye contact with me as if to say, "Get him off me...!" I would disentangle the child and thank Fido for her forbearance, until I finally decided that it wasn't working and just let Fido swat him. For her part, Fido showed restraint and only swatted his arm, but Alex was pretty scratched up for a couple of weeks before he learned the important life lesson about not grabbing sleeping cats.

Alex is reaching the age where he is, again, testing all of his boundaries and all of his life lessons to see if they are still correct. I think that he has come to terms with gravity, again, and this morning he tried out messing with sleeping cats. Where Fido did have some maternal instincts, George is a hardened alley cat and grumpy old man. He can be sweet when it suits him, but sticking your face down by him and then surprising him when he is sleeping is not a great idea. One more life lesson for Alex while George just rolled over and went back to sleep.

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