The Banning of the Animal Kingdom from My Bed… Blogging the MisAdventures Book

 

Big feet and army cot

A few years after the animals had been banned from my bed, I still had the old army cot, and bigger feet. I am reading a Western… serious literature.

 

In my last post, I related how I had hired the family pets to sleep on my bed when I slept outside in the summer to scare the ghosts away that lived in the Graveyard next to our house. Ir worked, but I had grown older and bigger. The pets were becoming more of a problem than the ghosts…

The night of the skunk was an exception to Pat’s normal stay-at-home routine. As usual, I had crawled into bed with an assortment of animals. That evening, it was minus Pat. Good, she took up a lot of room. Somewhere around midnight I half way woke as she hopped up on the bed, completed three dog turns and snuggled down. Consciousness made a quantum leap as my nose was assailed by an unmistakable perfume.

“Seems we have a skunk visiting,” I told Pat and reached down to scratch her head. The fur was moist. As I pulled my hand back, the skunk suddenly got much closer! Now, I was totally awake. Ms. Greyhound had been bullying the wrong pussy cat. It was a night to sleep inside. In fact, Marshall had a roommate for several days. I don’t know how many times I washed that hand but I do know that the bedding was tossed and Pat learned what a tomato juice bath was. When I finally made it back outside, the animals were put on notice, one more problem and off they went.

Then Demon made her contribution.

She was well into middle age by this time and there had been no pause in kitten production. Every few months she shelled out another litter. She had long since finished overpopulating Diamond and was working on surrounding communities. We were teetering on becoming known as the Cat Family of Diamond Springs.  She started hiding her kittens and became a master at subterfuge. If someone tried to follow her, she would stop and nonchalantly give herself a bath, her whole body, one lick at a time. Then she would wander off in the opposite direction.

Mother paid me in cookies to track Demon down. When the Graveyard was her destination, I had a flat tombstone I would stand on as a lookout. There was an added advantage; Demon didn’t check for people perched on tombstones. Who would? Eventually, the missing litter would be discovered. I felt like Daniel Boone.

Demon’s special home delivery took place the same summer Pat had her close encounter with the skunk. As noted earlier, my attitude about bed companions had become testy. I wasn’t above rolling over quickly to see how many I could dislodge. A really good roll would net three or four. Sleeping with me was like living on the San Andreas Fault.

I did feel guilt over routing Demon. Once again she was pregnant. I watched her balloon out. By this time, I was a veteran of the birthing process and found it interesting rather than troublesome. One night I had awakened to Pat howling, found that she was delivering puppies, and sat up with her through the process. Another time I had gone out with Tom Murphy, our grocer, and assisted in the delivery of a calf that wanted to come out the wrong way. It was messy, up to the elbow work. I really didn’t expect to be around for the arrival of Demon’s kittens. That would take place in some hidden nook. One should never make assumptions.

It started as a normal night. Roll over, kick off the animals, and go to sleep. Wake up and repeat the process. It was not a normal morning; I woke up with wet feet.

“What the heck!” I exclaimed as I sat up quickly, dislodging Pat in the process. Demon looked innocently back at me from the foot of the bed. Okay, nothing suggested why my feet were wet. Then I noticed movement. Demon was not alone. Several little black clones were lined up for breakfast. Demon had delivered her litter on the bed and my feet were awash in afterbirth.

That did it.  My bed was not a home for wayward dogs who encountered the business end of skunks and it certainly wasn’t designed as a maternity ward for unwed cats. I bought a water pistol and initiated a campaign of terror. Any four-legged critter on the bed became fair game. The cats learned quickly; getting shot with a water pistol was not their idea of a proper bath. The dogs were more resistant. Usually it took several squirts and then I would get the look: big brown eyes accusing me of dark deeds. But I was tough and my canine companions eventually vacated the premises. As soon as I fell asleep, however, the whole menagerie, fleas and all, would quietly slip back up on the bed.

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40 comments on “The Banning of the Animal Kingdom from My Bed… Blogging the MisAdventures Book

  1. We keep water pistols handy in several places around the house to “discipline” the cats. While it never works (because cats are indifferent to rules), it is a loads of fun.

  2. I slept on a foldout glider in the screened porch. I liked those screens! Loved the night time sounds in the forest around us. Still could smell the occasional skunk and hear the “laughter” of the raccoons dismantling the ropes holding down the lids on our garbage cans! Peanuts, our dog, got to sleep in the floor next to me! We also had hundreds of lightning bugs at night…magical.

    • Laughing. Actually, Peggy still loves to sleep out but insists on being in a tent, even if it’s a small backpacking tent. The first buzz of a mosquito in the evening is the sign for a hasty retreat to the tent. 🙂 –Curt

  3. You’ve been lucky to live with so many animals! Really. Also it’s a gift to have witnessed them birth babies. I have seen cats, ewes, and even a cow along highway 41 giving birth. I always feel humbled to witness these mothers. Always so resilient and quiet.

    • Thanks, Sue. 🙂 I’ve never been sprayed directly by a skunk, but I’ve had them stand up on their front legs and wave their tails at me. I highly recommend freezing when that happens. There is one heck of a feeling of relief when they slowly return to all fours and waddle off. –Curt

  4. I’m with Peggy about not wanting to become a midnight snack for mosquitos. Getting a bit long in the tooth for sleeping on the ground for that matter! Laughing at the attempts to dislodge the zoo from your bed. I wasn’t allowed to have pets as a kid, so these days I have one that sneaks in after the lights go out to join me. At least she’s only ten pounds, so hardly noticed. She also gets credit for helping to keep my feet warm!

    • Warm feet are important. 🙂
      I’ve found that there is a direct correlation between number of nights sleeping on the ground and the level of comfort. It’s almost cozy after a few days! Modern Therma-Rest type mattresses make a huge difference as well.
      Mosquitos love Peggy. If she and I are sitting next to each other, they make a beeline toward her. When she goes to bed, I’m next. –Curt

  5. My first thought is ewwwwwww – to the whole thing. I’m not a dog person, and definitely not a skunk person. I love cats but every cat I’ve had has been trained from the beginning that if they were to sleep on the bed it had to be at my feet – which were covered with a blanket! But I was a city girl so sleeping outside with a menagerie would not have entered my thoughts at all.
    Alison

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