I have been waking at dawn for the past few mornings. This is an unheard of occurrence in the natural state – one is normally jarred into consciousness by the rude intrusion of an alarm going off.
I feel good! What is this? No blind stumbling into the kitchen to make the first cup of tea to get me awake for the day…!?
The first morning it happened, it felt so abnormal that I retreated back to the warmth of my nice bed with my cup of tea, to enjoy a leisurely get-up period. What had caused this change?
Well, thanks to Jenni and her encouragement to try ‘cat jail’ I decided to incarcerate Brainless (the Cat) one night, as he was showing early signs of giving me yet another night of tortured wake-ups with infernal scratchings at the cat door. I just couldn’t bear it – the extreme fatigue was causing me to feel unbearably stressed and tearful at the prospect of yet another night of maddening clattering. Incarceration in his case means being kept in his cat box for the night (this is an improvement on keeping him locked in a separate room, where one is never sure if the wallpaper is going to be completely vandalised in the morning, leading to its own set of sleepless issues…).
After a short period of stroppy ‘what’s this? Get me out!’ (to which I admit to feeling a certain amount of malicious satisfaction) he settled down, and went to sleep. As a result, I slept through the night!! That happens to have been my first unbroken night of sleep in months and months. Ever since I got that annoying animal.
In the morning, feeling like an immense weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I let him out, when he proceeded to be more purry and friendly than he’s been for several weeks, even joining me for an early morning cuddle. And guess what? Since then, he has wisely restrained himself from scratching at the door, thereby earning the privilege to sleep where he wants. I guess the motto of that story is that even cats benefit from effective disciplining every now and again. (Everything else I had tried, from barring access to the door, to shouting at him, to locking him another room just didn’t work!)
It’s a very insidious thing, that lack of quality sleep. It creeps up on you, and you soon don’t remember the ability to get up early, or what it feels like to be ‘sparkly’, or even that you once felt like being energetic. I didn’t realise how much I’ve been dragging myself around all these months, feeling like a semi zombie. And it’s all because of a lack of unbroken sleep.
I usually get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night, which should be sufficient. It’s just that every three hours or so, I would be awoken by this animal we call a pet. It’s worse than having a new baby – they at least grow out of waking you up. This one doesn’t know the difference between night and day it seems, or that there are rules to be obeyed in this household if he wants to stay. It was getting to the point where I began harbouring feelings of extreme animosity towards him and seriously considered re-homing him. A very unhealthy situation for all concerned.
So from now on, Brainless will be confined to ‘cat jail’ for the night the moment he decides to perform the midnight clatter. It will make us all much happier. And healthier!
And it might even earn him a place in my good books again.
Thank you so much Jenni!!