As cooler autumn temperatures settle in, having a pair of cuddly cats becomes more and more useful. I don't know how I would survive winter's cold without Tyrone and Sinead. All right, I suppose I could bury myself under more blankets...
On sunny Saturdays or Sunday afternoons - which seem increasingly rare these days - I like to spend a few hours reading on the couch under a long, more or less south-facing living room window. I'll pile up pillows at one end, and cover myself with blankets at the other. Then the cats will queue up for a good snuggle. Tyrone's favorite spot is under the blankets, between my feet. He will signal his desire to get under the covers by scratching at the blankets at about my shoulder level. I then have to lift up the blankets so that he can see all the way down and make sure the coast is clear, before he will climb down there and curl up. He sometimes seems to take ages at it, frequently backing off and then coming back and scratching at the blankets again. The footwarmer is worth it, though.
Sinead's top cuddling spot, when I'm reading, is right on top of me. After a couple minutes of nesting behavior, she will eventually stretch out across my chest and purr like crazy. She likes to stick her face right up into my face, and sometimes responds to my petting by offering caresses of her own, reaching toward my face with one soft forepaw.
Bedtime cuddling is a little different. Sometimes Tyrone does try to get under the covers with me, but he usually won't stay there. Instead, he usually spends a good part of the night curled up on top of the covers, at the lower left corner of my bed. I have learned to be careful, even in my sleep, not to disturb him when I turn over. Less often, he may move his nesting area to the top left corner of the bed, alongside my pillow. There have been mishaps when I have accidentally punched him on the nose while turning in my sleep.
Sinead rarely joins us on the bed. If Tyrone doesn't happen to be in the room, she may try to jump on top of me. This isn't as welcome as during reading-on-the-couch time. Those nights when she persists in trying to bed down on me usually end with the bedroom door shut and two miserable cats hunkered down outside it. They're always right there when I open it, for example, to go to the bathroom.
Once in a while, however, I do wake up in the middle of the night and realize that both cats are sleeping with me. More often than not, they are curled up together, taking up between them a major portion of the bed. I think of those times as a rare treat. They are all the rarer because, in waking up enough to recognize them, I tend to shift position in a way that provokes Sinead into sniffing haughtily and jumping off the bed. Very little seems to disturb Tyrone, though. I can get out of bed and back in again without waking him up. There have even been a few times when I had trouble getting up because of the way he was lying on my covers, and me pinned beneath them.
I still see frequent demonstrations of what jumpy and frisky animals cats are. Sometimes even a very slight and gentle movement will startle them. A sound from outside the building, a cough or sneeze, a flourish of the DVD player remote, and a muscle twitch will carry one or both of them clear across the room. So I have to take it as a sign that my cats feel very safe with me, when we can rest together on the couch or in bed for upwards of a quarter of an hour, and when I can even laugh out loud (at a book I'm reading) or turn onto my other side without losing the furry footwarmer and the purring chest-massage engine.