Those first few times that I was quietly watching TV only to find Ivy inconspicuously walking into my lap, plopping herself down and making herself comfortable, were heartwarming moments.
When trust and comfort conspired to become her naptime, I knew that I had succeeded in creating the right environment, that she was comfortable with me, and that we had truly bonded.
The only pitfall of that was getting locked into a couch or armchair and not being able to get up. I hated the risk of disturbing her peaceful sleep.
Fortunately, I caught on early and made sure that if I was sitting down with plans to watch TV for a while, to make sure I had gone to the bathroom first, had a beverage next to me, my remotes by my side and a pen and note paper, in case moments of creative inspiration should happen to strike me during my immobilization.
But on a deeper level, those moments of being locked in by the feline barricade became more significant.
When left to my own devices, I can be a bit of a jack-in-the-box, getting up at every commercial to get dishes done, put something away, start getting tomorrow’s lunch ready, little chores like that. It might not sound like much, but a whole evening of filling each commercial break with a quick chore, in true multi-tasking fashion, does not necessarily make for a relaxing, rejuvenating evening.
And dare I say it, as I get older, the impulse to feel organized and to get things accomplished seems to get stronger, as does my yearning for quality recuperation time from a busy life. It’s a vicious cycle and I am my own worst enemy.
As much as I adored the fact that our relationship went to the next level as she felt that comfortable with me, I could still feel my impulse to get up and do stuff kicking in. Thus ensued the moral dilemma: get up, disturb the cat and do chores, or sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. Believe it or not, it was a bit of a struggle at first.
That can’t-sit-down impulse has been known to run on both sides of the family tree, so I didn’t have to think too hard about where I get it from. But resisting that urge proved more challenging than I thought. It’s not like anyone was cracking the whip for me to use every second of commercial time to unleash the domestic engineer within, but I guess over the years, habit turned to compulsion.
After a few times of Ivy using my lap as a cat bed, I realized that those sessions rarely ran longer than an hour or so. Once I grasped that and understood that the chores would still be there when she would decide to get up, the struggle subsided. Compulsion was replaced by joy.
Serenity is contagious. As Ivy melts into my lap as a ten pound bundle of bliss, unaffected by the world beyond the screen of the patio door, contentedly wagging her tail and smoothly purring like a finely tuned motor, I can’t help but wanting to share in the experience.
As much as I hate being jostled from my own precious zen moments whether taking the time to enjoy a quiet weekend morning, the whispers of the wind or the birds’ latest pop hits, why would I interrupt Ivy’s expression of pure happiness.
Her naps now go uninterrupted.
Plus, investing some time to bond together (after being at the office all day) often meant she’d be more relaxed when I’d be performing those chores later, and not follow me around, doing figure 8s around my legs while I was trying to work (creating a health and safety risk for both of us). It was win-win.
I started taking the feline barricade as a sign that I’m doing too much and need to slow down my pace. It was a gift that helped me learn to manage my own energy.
More importantly, the feline barricade was also an expression of cat love. The best reciprocation was to accept the gesture and enjoy it.
Today, it’s like I actively invite her to cuddle up next to me and lock me in. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to celebrate the end of a busy day.
The feline barricade is just Ivy’s way of saying just chill, relax and enjoy the moment. And I do. And I so appreciate it.
That is, until my circulation is completely cut off, my foot falls asleep or muscles start going into spasms. Then it’s time to apologize to Ivy, to gently get up and move around to get the circulation flowing … until the next cat nap.
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