It took many long months to coax him into my bed. Now, every night I look forward to the warmth of his cuddles. Most evenings he waits patiently until I get up from my reading or TV watching and pronounce “its bedtime.” He hops up from where ever he is sitting and follows me. He waits patiently as I brush my teeth and wash my face. Because he is shy he sits out of the way until I turn out the lights, then quietly jumps into the bed and settles himself at my feet.
Chatimec, my cat, keeps me company throughout the night. When I toss and turn he is patient and resettles himself. When I awaken in the middle of the night he follows me to the bathroom, waits without complaint, and then hops back into bed with me. On summer nights when it is warm he may sleep on the floor next to the bed. But as fall turns to winter he gradually moves from my feet up to my chest so we can exchange warmth. Chatty is my snuggle friend. He became mine after my daughters left for college. They no longer entertained him and kept him company late into the night. Eventually, he worked around to my schedule, and I delighted in his friendship.
Over the holidays however, I noticed a change. One day my daughters arrived home from college. They lavished Chatty with attention. They slipped him extra food and kept him supplied with catnip. He sat next to them on the couch bundled together with their fleece blankets. Suddenly, I realized that Chatty no longer followed me from room to room. I didn’t see him waiting for me in a corner, one eye open in preparation for my move. If one of the girls went upstairs, much to my dismay, he left with them. Chatty was sleeping around.
It took me two nights to comprehend that my bed partner had abandoned me for other beds and snuggles. I longed for his warmth on my toes and his purring at night. I missed the companionship as I stumbled to the bathroom in the middle of the darkness. His sweet face was absent as I opened my eyes to the morning. I did not hear his meowed greeting and his more desperate pleas to be fed now, rather than later.
Kristen and Catlin took turns bragging about how Chatty had come to them and snuggled up all night. One night he would appear in Kristen’s bedroom, the next in Catlin’s. Oh, how fickle my companion had become. Then just as swiftly as the new bed partners had arrived, they left Chatty behind in a flurry of packed suitcases and hurried goodbyes. I am not sure he even got a kiss or a quick pet as they walked out the door.
That evening, after I had turned out the lights, Chatty, looking somewhat sheepish, made a cautious approach to my bed. I heard his quiet leap and small pounce as he landed on my feet. He stood silently, his tail straight up, one foot in the air ready to leave. I looked up at him and smiled knowingly, then I graciously accepted his offer of comfort and took him back into my bed.