cat in duvet

Of Brain Bleeds And Balaclavas

A couple of weeks ago, in the early hours of the morning I woke up in a gut-roiling panic. So this is what it is like to be succumbing to a massive stroke or a cerebral haemorrhage, I thought. My brain was boiling hot and I had an excruciating pain on the right side of my head.

My initial thoughts were: where is my phone, will I be able to dial 999 and would I be able to get downstairs, unlock the front door and admit emergency services?

Then, by that stage, I was fully awake and my second thoughts were: what the heck and why the hell am I wearing a cat helmet?

Sure enough, my 18-year old, blind as a bat, tabby cat had draped herself over my head. Her head and front legs to the left and tail and hindlegs to the right. But there is more. To make sure she was well anchored and couldn’t roll off, she had stuck a back foot into my right ear and embedded a couple of claws as deeply as she could, hence the unbelievable pain.

It was all reminiscent of those vile fur coats so popular in the 1950s and 60s which were decorated with a little shrivelled-up fox corpses acting as a collar and draped over the wearer’s shoulders. For the younger readers, yes they actually existed and were deemed chic.

Anyway I so happened to mention this whole unpretty event to an acquaintance and was slightly put out when she didn’t express the degree of surprise and amusement I was expecting.

Oh, she said, our cat regularly sleeps that way over my husband’s head. I did a double take. And your husband tolerates it, I asked incredulously?

Oh she said again, he loves it. You see Jessica, he is a bald as hen’s egg and his head is always cold. The cat is doing him a massive favour and it suits all of us. You see, if the cat wasn’t literally around, my husband would go to bed wearing a balaclava as this is the only headwear that would stay put throughout the night. And, she summed up, no matter how often he wore the balaclava, I never got used to it and waking up in the morning next to this vision, never failed to scare the jim-jams off me.


Jessica Cross