The Shiva Chronicles: Sleepless in the City

Shiva has now been with us for almost six months…where has the time gone? Lest you think that our crazy Tortie has evolved into some fairytale-worthy tame lap kitty, I decided that it was time for an update. There’s never a dull moment since Shiva came to live with us, and she is the source of daily laughter- a wonderful gift. However, she still is a challenge- quirky, moody, spoiled…but I have to come clean; I’ve fallen in love with the little monster.

The early days of Shiva being very aggressive with me have -blessedly- faded into the stuff of Gainey family lore. I finally learned the lesson that with Torties, absolutely everything has to be on their terms. Everything. I let Shiva be Shiva, only engaging with her physically when she approaches me for affection..and even then with a ounce of humor and a tad of caution. It was actually a good lesson for me. I’ve never had an animal like Shiva before; there is no unconditional love as I had with our cat Kasey and with every dog I’ve ever owned. I had to learn to accept prickly Shiva just as she was and not try to change her…a good thing to think about in dealing with prickly people, too.

I don’t think so, Romeo…

Accepting Shiva has been a gift for both Dan and I. She is incredibly intelligent and inquisitive, exploring anything new and different. Dan reminded me that even at two years of age, she is still kitten-like, with bursts of energy that send her racing up and down the stairs and through the house at breakneck speeds regularly. She skids into walls and tears off into another direction unscathed. In stark contrast, she sleeps like the dead for hours straight. I’ve told Dan that she is a vampire. I’m sort of not kidding.

She has trained us well; whenever it is time for Sophie to get a snack or be fed, Shiva vocally demands that she, too, is given a treat- often chasing Sophie out of the crate as her preferred spot to nosh. The funniest moments happen when Shiva stands on her hind legs and fake-boxes Sophie as she runs past her, often hiding just on the other side of a doorway to better ambush our unsuspecting Border collie. Sophie is such a good-natured animal, just giving a canine roll of the eye and shooting me a look that clearly says, “Really, Mom- really?” Shiva never hurts her- she’s all drama with no substance. She’d be a great reality tv star.Conversations…

I was very touched when Shiva- who typically won’t give me the time of day during daylight hours (she is Dan’s girl, one hundred percent)- began to visit me in the middle of the night. She even would at times fall asleep on top of me. I thought this was incredibly sweet of her. I felt like Sally Fields in her Oscar acceptance speech, “She likes me…she really likes me!” The honeymoon period soon passed, though, as Shiva began visiting me four and five times a night- me, who has a difficult time sleeping on the best of nights. This was accompanied by her new game of playing with the gravel in our gas fireplace in the bedroom, batting it all around the wood floors…over and over and over again. Then, not only did she visit me, she abruptly jumped on me, scaring the bejeezus out of me in the dark. I would wake up with a start to find her standing on my chest, staring into my eyes. If that doesn’t chill your blood, then nothing will.

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If I did not begin stroking her immediately, she would take a claw (CLAW, not paw) and pull my finger toward her. What cat does that? She would then settle on my chest, purring in her loud static electricity purr, kneading me- always with her claws going into the most sensitive part of my female chest anatomy. Ouch! She rarely goes to Dan and wakes him up, it’s always me…four to five times a night. The more I think about it, this must be a sinister plot. I’ve got more black circles under my eyes than Carter has liver pills, as my mom used to say.  That dang cat is trying to kill me with sleep deprivation so that she can have Dan all to herself. Vampira, Queen of the Damned…

Dan suggested closing our bedroom door at night, so we began doing that two nights ago. I felt terribly about it, I mean- this was the small period of time when Shiva let me love on her and cuddle her. It was like Brigadoon; once the sun came up and I got out of bed, she no longer recognized me as the loving human who feeds her, gives her treats, and keeps her litter box sparkling clean, the one who rescued her from that cage in the vet’s office. Oh, no- I became Genghis Kahn, persona non grata. What a complex and bizarre animal she is…fascinating, too.

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The bedtime banishing hopefully won’t last forever. I want to have that snuggle time with Shiva…but I also want to be able to function well at work and not yawn my way through lessons each day. I think Sophie is overjoyed at not sharing our bed with the Demon Seed, and I have to admit that getting a pretty good night’s sleep sure feels good. Maybe Shiva will grow out of her need for nocturnal human sleepus-interuptus…someday. For the forseeable future, though, I’ll let her roam the rest of the house in the dark of night. I pity any bug or mouse- or intruder- who dares to come into our home. I know what it’s like to have those dark eyes staring at you…the last thing you see before the claws are flexed and the lights go out.

On second thought…maybe I need to lock that door…

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4 thoughts on “The Shiva Chronicles: Sleepless in the City

  1. Ha! Shiva is out to get you!! Perhaps it is your perfume or soap or even lotion – it may be making you smell (to Shiva at least) that you are more “prey” than “predator”??? Even with sleep deprivation your sense of humor is intact!

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