Our cat Mori – pictured – is approximately thirteen years old, a proud and very independent creature that we found in the forest by chance by the lake one day out of the blue and who is a big and important part of our lives. She smells divine – immaculately clean – just of fur, or sometimes picking up the perfume in the house (last night I could smell delicate wisps of Mona Di Orio Musc as she sat by my pillow; it was dreamishly beautiful on her), a very athletic alpha-female cat who spends a great deal of her time outdoors, running around, killing birds, jumping across rooves; (the only way she can come and go is to jump from our balcony to the neighbour’s roof and then take it elaborately from there, a repetitive feat that always surprises people who see it for the first time). All the fresh air keeps her fit; clean-smelling; white ruffled.
In terms of allegiances, Mori is definitely D’s. He is very much a cat person – I am not, really. Cats tend to run away from me when they see me on the street while D can coax them; I can take them or leave them, an attitude that she has also largely taken towards me (we always valued our mutual independence ; she sits with him, often sleeps next to him; they have a special communing with each other that I am not usually part of and don’t mind. I prefer just watching them together as I find the proximity of an animal to me in too large doses not conducive to relaxation), although her beautiful curled up presence – inexpressibly cute – is very calming in winter, and we seem to have precisely the same temperature cues (she loves how hot we keep the house in the colder months, and I am convinced this is one of the reasons she is in such good shape).
The strange thing is though that in recent months, the last half a year, maybe, or even longer, Mori has taken to staring at me during the night, fixated. D is bemused by this, as am I, but it is as though she is besotted with me all of a sudden, and can’t take her eyes off me. Guarding me. I often wake up, sometimes with a start, to find her right by my pillow, eyes on me. Looking into mine. Watching. It is somewhat unnerving. She needles to be stroked at all hours of the night, and sometimes I wake up to find her wedged under the small of my back, almost crushing her when I turn over unaware. She never did this before, and it is slightly affecting my sleep. It’s like being under strict feline surveillance; she will lick my arm; I wake up to warm rasps. It is bothering me and I am not entirely sure what to do. A lot of people I know keep pets downstairs, locked up at night, and let them be eagerly let out come the morning for breakfast, tails wagging. We have never done this – she has free reign – scratching all the paper shoji screens and going in and out as she pleases – but I find it almost disconcerting waking up to be sharing the same breathing space, too close; eyes staring straight into mine (“She keeps staring at you all through the night”, D has told me): I just can’t sleep in a normal relaxed manner. What is this ? She seems to be in tip top health condition, has the usual appetite (we only give her good quality food), and is as affectionate with Duncan as she always is. It’s just me. Is she worried that I am ill? Can she sense my soon-to-come demise? Can any cat people reading this tell me what might be the cause of this recent, but peculiarly prolonged, human obsession?