Sleeping with cats

So, Belle is our Champion Napper here at the Cat Farm.  She really enjoys her naps, and often does two at once.  She seems to prefer company, but will happily nap alone, if that’s how the dice roll.

I don’t even have a rating as a Napper — it’s a tough field — but I do like company in my poor efforts, and Belle has taken to tutoring me in the fine points.

I’ve noticed a couple of things, napping with Belle, that I don’t notice when napping with the other cats — or, in fact, when I go solo.

First is that her purr is incredibly soothing.  I’ll lie down with my head awhirl — the normal state of the inside of my head is a kind of barely controlled thought-twist, which, like the ringing in my ears, can’t ever be said to go away entirely; the range of action is something like:  Kind of Loud, Loud, Awfully Loud, Way too Loud, and Batten the Hatches.

But, Belle’s purrs cut through all that noise.  It takes a few minutes, but she’s also a champion purr-er, and has real staying power.  And she manages to achieve silence inside my head, a state I’ve noticed now several times in the millisecond before the purr does its final work and puts me to sleep.

The other thing I’ve noticed when napping with cats is the quality of dreams.  Despite my whirlwind head, I very rarely dream, or — for those who insist that everyone Does Too dream — remember my dreams.  If I’ve had cat assistance, I do dream, and often remember my dreams, and I wake up a shade more relaxed than I would do, sleeping alone.

Belle-induced dreams though, are — a little different.

They are almost all in the genre of Saving the Kittens.  I have, in recent dreams, rescued kittens who were stuck behind a large appliance; stood between kittens and a large, noisy machine; and moved a number of kittens to a place of safety after one was grabbed by a Bad Person and thrown.

These are not restful dreams, though they are infused with a sense of purpose and determination.  I wake up a little more alert, it seems, and attentive to possible threats — to the kittens.  It’s an odd feeling, though not necessarily unpleasant.

. . .and I wonder if these are shared dreams — that is, if Belle, having been a Mom Cat in what I know to be a very safe place for cats, still reviews these themes in order to keep her edge, if, yanno, kittens fall into her way again.

On the other hand, it could just be my subconscious having some fun with association.

Either way, it’s striking and notable, and I have, therefore, noted it.

Belle as shmoo Jan 8 2016


7 thoughts on “Sleeping with cats”

  1. I’m mentioning this to my husband, who himself is very into shared naps with cats, and how our minds work (because he’s a hypnotist) and he referred me to something called “mirror neurons”. Mirror neurons are when the same neurons fire in people’s brains, over a shared experience such as a yawn or a smile, these have been found to cross species boundaries, I lack specific cites but my husband mentioned a scientist and his chimp and mirror neurons firing in the chimps brain while the scientist was eating a banana, the chimps brain was reacting as if it was eating a banana. Anyway, nap on!

  2. Further evidence that Belle is a Very Special Cat Indeed, and that her consenting to join your household was a Good Thing.

  3. Hmmm, are you heading toward stories of the Cats of Liad? Perhaps co-authored by Belle?

  4. I don’t sleep with my cat any more. I used to but the cat wakes before me. And generally wants to play. The last memorable occasion he had a firm grip on my ankle and was taste testing my toes. Half-awake, I tried to shake him off which naturally caused him to wrap my ankle in a full claw death grip and proceed to kill this shaking monster by eviscerating my shinbone with his hind claws. Not the most pleasant awaking. I love my cat but I sleep alone now.

  5. I believe that, especially when cats sleep very near or on top of us, that they share their dreams with us. That is the time when I really miss my Star boykitty. He was a real Velcro cat and I used to have wild dreams of jumping high onto THINGS and hiding in PLACES and having a good laugh on a big adult I took to be MOMMA (me) by hiding until the adult got sad and gave up. Diva isn’t into a lot of contact so… No more adventurous dreams, I suppose…

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