Monday, May 27

I've created a monster.

And that monster is named Rocky. He will not let us sleep at night. I'm starting to feeling like I am living with perpetual fog in my head. Not grouchy, but somewhat out of it. Sometimes slap happy. Sometimes just plain exhausted.

The cats waking us up in the middle of the night is nothing new, but over the winter, they were really good and sletp through most nights. In the past, as warmer weather arrived, they would start getting up at 3:00 or 4:00, wanting to go out. Meowing and meowing persistently no matter how long we ignored them. And years ago, Rocky would get up at all hours wanting to eat more.

I don't know how we finally got them to settle down. I think, in part, it was them getting older, they are just more mellow. And during the summer, if they are bad, we end up shutting them out of the room which usually works until dawn when Simon starts rattling the doorknob or body slamming the door.

Ignore, ignore, ignore. Will is good at it. Me? Not so much because it starts to make me crazy after awhile and I have to make it stop.

And let me just say, I am a light sleeper. It is not hard to wake me up. I can have earplugs in, the fans going and the door closed and still hear some of the racket.

So yeah, in a way this is nothing new, but it is a little different. And really, it's my fault. When Rocky was first diagnosed with a tumor, he had days where he really wasn't eating much at all. So if I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or get water, and he ran to his dish, I would give him food. And he would eat. And I was just happy to get some food in him.

But not he knows that he can get me up in the middle of the night to give him food. Sucker!

And now he eats frequently throughout the day so I doubt he really needs food in the middle of the night.

But he has a tumor, what am I supposed to do? It's hard to get mad at him. I have no idea how much longer he'll be around to wake me up in the middle of the night.

Waking up at 1:00 or 2:00 and then going back to sleep until 5:00 or 6:00 isn't so bad.

Waking up at 1:00 or 2:00 and being kept awake for who knows how long and then waking up again at 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 is not so fun. It is not restful, fulfilling sleep.

And we don't even really know what he wants. I guess he just wants us to be awake. He nuzzles our faces, licks us, sits on the bed and quietly mews. He wants love. He wants to be pet. He wants to snuggle.

Lately, I've been trying to ignore him. We both used to just pet him, because, well, it's kind of sweet. But now, it's more like, "come on, dude, I want to SLEEP."

So I ignore him. I pretend I am asleep. But HE DOES NOT STOP. Some nights I get to sleep from 1:00 to 4:00. Last night, I think I was awake most of the night. He would curl up under my arm and I would think, "at last, he has settled down." But no, he would stand up, turn around, walk around the bed. So, so restless.

He's pretty restless during the day as well. Of course, there is the possibility that his tumor is bothering him, but we just don't know. It doesn't seem like he is in pain. He's not showing the typical signs of being in pain: not eating and wanting to isolate. He eats and all he wants to do is be with us.

Maybe it's because he used to go outside a lot more than he does now. That's been a big life change for him. We would play with him, but he doesn't really like to play. Chasing toys just doesn't interest him that much.

And yes, I know that cats are nocturnal, but house cats can ultimately learn that their humans sleep at night and so they should too.

I read this earlier:

If you get up and feed your cat, play with him or even interact with him, you will have inadvertently rewarded him for waking you. As a result, he’ll try harder and harder to wake you each subsequent night. Even getting out of bed to scold your cat won’t work well, because negative attention from you may be better than no attention at all.

Every single time that I have gotten up and given Rocky food or pet him or acknowledged his existence in some way, I have basically been telling him that he can just wake me up whenever he wants.

So now what? I still can't even get mad at him. It just is what it is. But we need to sleep. We desperately need to sleep. I have not slept for longer than two hours at a time in weeks.

Because he has the tumor, I feel sort of guilty shutting him out of the room, but I think that's what has to happen. That's the only thing that I can think to do.

And I kind of feel like an idiot, because, yeah, I created this mess. I created the nighttime monster that is Rocky. But when all of this started, we really thought death was imminent so how were we supposed to ignore his need to snuggle in the middle of the night? It was sweet and comforting.

Now, since he is stable, we really have no idea how long he'll be around. The vet doesn't think he'll be around longer than 6 months, but they don't really know. It could be much longer. Which is awesome. Or he could be in this stable phase, feeling good, and his tumor could rupture and then he would likely die. Which is not awesome. But no matter, we need to start getting some sleep.

Well, this was a much longer ramble than I had in mind. Just blame it on the lack of sleep.

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