There is something quite decadent about lying on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon, with the supplement spread across your chest and the feeling that there ought to be something else one should be doing. But what the heck! It can wait!

 The door opens quietly and a pair of amber eyes surveys the scene. He stalks into the room and sees me lying languidly reading the Mail on Sunday.

‘Hello,’ he miaows in greeting, leaping straight onto my chest and blocking the crossword with his bum. He licks my face cheerfully and settles down to wash his private parts. I am relieved by the order he carries out these tasks. I resign myself to a crumpled crossword with a little kitty skid mark and manage to wrestle the magazine out from under him while he continues his ablutions unabashed.

Having groomed himself, he looks at me to decide what we’re going to do. This has been our Sunday routine for several weeks now but it follows the same ritual – the questioning look just to make sure that nothing else is planned to spoil our special quality time together.

Am I likely to stay in this position for a while or will I leap up and disturb him? But he knows how to cure that. Without further ado he unhinges himself in the middle, rather like an accordion being expanded to the full, and stretches down the length of me. He curls his tail rather nonchalantly around my neck, his rear end rests on my chest and then about two feet of middle spreads itself from my stomach to my knees. His head sandwiches itself between my knees and his front paws claw the air just above my shins.

He gives a sigh, as well he might. He is comfortable and asleep within seconds. He adjusts his position slightly, his tail swishing across my face making my nose itch. I can’t move my arms as they are supporting him. So I wriggle my nose and manage to position my head at a slightly more comfortable angle and try to give myself up to sleep – there is nothing else I can do.

My cat, Garfield, has catnapped me to do as he bids. I look down at him marvelling at his length. When he walks in his normal feline fashion, he is compact, short bodied, neat. But cats have this remarkable capacity for stretching themselves, as if they are made of durable elastic or they have a secret hook and eye lurking mid-belly that they unobtrusively undo when no one is looking and they treble their length. 

So, as Sunday afternoon creeps painfully on, I stroke my cat and hear his responding purrs. He is content. His paws haven’t gone to sleep and he hasn’t got pins and needles in his right arm. Blissfully unaware, he sleeps on. I have no option but to join him. My head drops down to my chest, meeting his tail which moves slightly to the side of my face. Soon I, too, am lost in the magic of dreams and I thank him for this quiet time we are spending together.

Garfield knows the importance of rest and each Sunday he has taken it upon himself to give up his other hobbies and leisure pursuits to ensure that I have some quality time in his company.

He knows only too well that Sunday afternoons are spent reading the supplement or crying over a hopelessly romantic film. So once again, at great personal cost to himself, he stopped what he was doing to rescue me from all the showbiz gossip. Eventually, I would probably have given up reading about the lives of the rich and boring and watched ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ for the umpteenth time instead but Garfield saved me.

It is quite easy to become a couch potato when your well being is taken to extreme by a couch pussy who wants nothing but the best for his mistress. I will obviously have to reward him when he eventually wakes up and normal feeling has returned to my limbs, by cooking his favourite dish, steamed coley á la Garfield, just the way he likes it.

Revised and updated from an article previously published in Catworld, July 1995.

© Pauline Dewberry 2002


One Cat is Company

"One cat is company.
Two cats are a conspiracy. 
Three cats is an attempted takeover.
Four or more cats is a complete coup!"

Shona Steele (Australia)

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