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The story of Lilly and the last time I slept

I didn't get much sleep last night. As I was reflecting back on why exactly that is I thought it might be a good story to tell you. It all starts in October 2009, a week before Halloween. The last time I really knew what a full night's sleep felt like.

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Steve and I were just starting our relationship. We were falling madly in love with each other and like a lot of people do, we thought it would be a great idea to get a(nother) pet. On a trip to the pet store to pick-up food for Linus we happened to wander by the cats that were available for adoption. Most of them were sleeping with their backs turned to us and couldn't care less that we even existed, except one. This cat was different. She was friendly and excited to see us. Rubbing her entire body up against the glass like she was glued to it, reaching her paw out like she wanted to shake hands, her purring was so loud we could practically feel the vibrations through the glass. She worked us. Bad. We got our food and went home, sad to leave her there. We found ourselves not being able to stop thinking about her. We called the adoption agency and filled out an application. Within a week we were accepted and told we could bring her home. Oh, we were so excited.

On the day we went to get her from the pet store we met a cat that we had never seen before. She was pissed and mean. I tried to pet her and she swiped her little jagged claws at me like she wanted me dead. Steve and I looked at each other scared for our lives. The adoption manager assured us that she was upset about being cooped up in her cage so long and she had just had her nails cut and that she would calm down and return to her normal, lovely little self. So we put her in the pet carrier and took her home. On the way home we heard a little "mew" from the back seat. I reluctantly turned around and put my finger into her carrier hoping it would not have been bitten off. I felt a nose and a little lick, followed by a couple more friendly meows. Phew. Thank goodness we weren't bringing devil kitty home. Or so we thought.

The first night home was eventful. Within five minutes of letting her out of that carrier she ran away.  Out the door, down the stairs and into the dark. Steve chased after her in his socks and brought her back. We immediately got her a little red collar with a jingly bell on it so that we could track her whereabouts. Ninja kitty no more. Best $4 we ever spent.

Fast forward a couple years to the recent past. Lilly is a wonderful kitty. She is friendly, warm and loving. She loves people and is extremely personable. She visits with our house guests and even tries to snuggle up with our dog. He doesn't like her, but he does tolerate her. Sometimes she hides on him and when he walks by she bats him in the head. This of course turns into a high speed chase throughout our house. They never hurt each other and its actually pretty funny to watch them play.  

During the day she sleeps. She also sleeps in the evening and into the night. But around 11 p.m. things change. Our house turns into a war zone. Lilly is awake and has a full tank of energy. She comes up into our bedroom to lay on me making sure to headbutt the phone or book out of my hand so it is clear what my priorities are. Its time to pet her. And love her. And give her my undivided attention. Ok, cat. I'm on it. Eventually though I fall asleep and this is when things really get crazy. She is wired. Sleeping is not an option. She walks on my face, walks on Steve's face, walks on the dog's face. Now we are all pissed. She takes off running at full speed through the house. Naturally the dog goes after her to warn her not to come back. This buys us a few precious moments of sleep.

2 a.m. scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch rhythmically on the wall. Pillow thrown, target hit, but not down. There she goes racing down the hallway, dog not far behind. 2:15 a.m. repeat. 3 a.m she is standing on my back meowing. 3:30 a.m. I dream that someone is punching me in the stomach and wake to find the cat headbutting me in the ribs. 3:32 a.m. a tail is flicking me repeatedly in the face as she tries to get in the nearby attic door. Now I can't be sure, but it would seem logical that I am now threatening to lock her outside. Steve calls her over to leave me alone. I contemplate what it would be like to go back in time and talk myself out of adopting another pet. 4:40 a.m five minutes before Steve's alarm goes off, she is now on her normal routine of waking him up. She is hungry and craving love. She gets him up and follows him down stairs. I have 2 precious hours before he leaves for work, time to sleep. 6:45 a.m. I feel the gentle grasp of her teeth on my jugular. The dragon is letting me know its time to get up. By 8 a.m. I am walking out the door to go to work and she is sleeping peacefully on the chair. I make sure to wake her up before I go.

Sweet, sweet little devil cat. She is so very lucky that I love her.

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