He awoke to find his cats on his back, as usual. He told them it wasn’t time yet and to just let him go back to bed. He wiggled to get them off of him. In wiggling, he prevented himself from staying in that sleep mode which would allow him to return to his slumber. He knew they had won, but was determined not to appease their unreasonable demand for early food.
He reached beside him and grabbed his laptop. He opened it up and checked his Facebook. It was Saturday, so most of his friends weren’t yet awake and the feed was rather boring. He simply stared at his computer and waited for the clock to hit 7, when he would capitulate to his cats’ demand for their food. They had won the battle, but he had won the war.
At 7, he got out of bed and they ran past him into the kitchen. He washed out the dishes and opened the can, splitting it between them for their morning meal. While they ate, he washed out his coffee mug, carafe, and the little strainer thingy that holds the espresso grounds. His milk steamer was already clean.
As he went through the steps to make his white mocha. He was particularly pleased with the job he had done on it and decided to make himself a leaf in the foam. He didn’t understand why foam art was suddenly so passé, but then, he didn’t realize why a lot of things were the way they were. He thought to himself that if not doing foam art was now cool, he would do foam art.
He took his coffee to the living room and sat down on the couch. He went back into the room to grab his laptop so he could recheck his Facebook and then type his morning post. When he returned, his cats had already moved into the living room, cleaning themselves after having eaten two or three bites of their precious food before walking away. He knew they would return to finish it over the course of the next hour, so he was not concerned. He sat down on the couch and rubbed his eyes as he opened his laptop. As he did, he brushed the side of his nose and felt the tell-tale trickle of blood. He knew he had a nosebleed.
The fear crept up within him. He recalled the days when a nosebleed meant he would not be able to get it stopped within an hour or two. He recalled the days closer to his diagnosis when he wouldn’t be able to get them stopped at all, without having his nose packed at the Emergency Room. Luckily, he had learned how to manage that fear and prevent it from becoming a panic and grabbed a tissue to put pressure on his nostril to stop the bleeding.
He figured the source of the bleed was the dryness irritating the nose and his inadvertent brush against his nostril causing some dry foreign body within to open a blood vessel. He decided to blow his nose to remove any dry foreign bodies. He did, and grabbed a new tissue to apply pressure once again. The bleeding stopped, and he felt an immediate sense of relief.
“Karma,” he heard a voice say.
He looked around in horror. He saw nobody. “Who’s there?” he shouted.
“Yeah, that nosebleed was Karma. He should’ve just gotten up and given us the food when we wanted it. Who does he think he is, thinking we should stick to his schedule?” asked another voice.
“I’m losing my mind!” he exclaimed to himself out loud.
“No, you’re not. We’re just tired of your crap!” replied one of the voices. “Do you really think that you run this house?” the voice asked.
He looked down at his cats staring up at him.
“Is that you guys?” he asked them.
“No, it is Pope Francis,” replied Piedmont, sarcastically.
“Listen, I don’t know when you decided you could talk, but I do run this house!” he told the both of them.
“Oh yeah? Who goes wherever they want? Who already has gotten our hair in your coffee? Who decides who does and does not get invited over based on how we respond to them? Who makes sure that you feed us twice daily no matter your other plans? Who makes you (or your family since you can’t now) clean up our poop?”
He knew they had a point. In many ways they did run the house. He never really minded, until they called him out on it. But he didn’t want to suddenly be the cats’ subject. He had to think of something.
He told them his nosebleed was simple dry air and not Karma. He told them that he could stop their fights with the spray bottle. He told them that he could make them got off of things if he moved toward them quickly enough. He reminded Dobson when he shut him in the bedroom for an hour after he mercilessly beat up on Piedmont last week.
“We were ready to do all those things anyway. We let you. And last week, I needed a break. I’m glad you shut me in the room,” Dobson countered.
As he went about the tasks that he had to do for the day, he struggled with finding a way to prove to them that he was the alpha in the house.
He had plans to go to a friend’s house at four. The usual evening feeding for them was five. He knew he would have to feed them early. It would make him look even weaker. Then he figured it out.
At 3:45, just before he was supposed to leave, he went into the cupboard and grabbed a can of their food. He set it down in front of their dishes. He called to them. “Okay, if you run the house, open this can and eat whenever you want. Otherwise, admit this is my house and I will feed you.”
And on that day, now forever known as Caturday, the cats agreed to a power sharing agreement. He was the alpha, but they were not beta cats, they were alphas too. Peace was restored and petting and purring filled the house.