I don't know if anyone in this bed is dreaming of sugarplums, but they all appear to be snoozing or on the brink of it.
The photo was nominated (and taken) by one of our longtime reliable cat tipsters, Edna Taylor of Houston. Obviously, some of the cats are sincerely sleeping and others are just as sincerely wondering why there's a big flash coming from Edna's head. I'm not sure all cats grasp the concept of "camera."
She sent the photo with this note: "You obviously know me (crazy cat lady) and this is a picture of my better half, Frank, and our 'nuisance of cats' ... I could not sleep so I went to get some water and this is what I came back to bed and found. They evidently were not leaving ANY room for me to come back to bed."
Edna, using the proper term, described this gathering as a "Clowder of Cats" in her e-mail's subject line.
You may recall that there was a surprise snow storm in Houston on Dec. 10. I asked Edna if this scene happened during the Blizzard of Ought-Eight. Nope. "A month before," she says, "when it was still 80 degrees outside and all those furry bodies made it even hotter."
Now, as you veteran rescuers with a houseful of animals know, there is an explanation for each critter. We've offered space to Edna for her explanation and she has provided the following paragraphs. It'll help you understand who's who in the photo.
"If you start from the left (pillow), that is Frankie, he is a Flamepoint Siamese Snowshoe that had a very rough start to his little life and almost died. Now, he has chronic health issues so we ended up keeping him.
"Below him (the orange and white cat) is Spirit who came from an overcrowding situation and he, along with Ted (Russian Blue to the right of Frank) were up for adoption until Mr. Foster Failure, AKA Frank, fell in love with them.
"Next to Spirit is Boones and we actually adopted him and his two brothers, Miller (not pictured) and Merlin (brown and white tabby at the end of the bed) from the SPCA in 1999 when Domino (our first little boy and a cute as a button black and white kitty passed away).
"The black cat below Spirit is George and he was adopted out to a family when he was 12 weeks old, but the family brought him back when he was six months old and it is probably a good thing because he was just covered in fleas and parasites.
"The next black cat on the bed is Roofus and we saved him from the SPCA one day when we were donating food.
"The white Snowshoe to the right of Roofus is Pootie. We stole Pootie from a house in our old neighborhood. They always left him outside as a tiny baby and one day I just couldn't take it anymore so I stole him. He was limping and a vet visit revealed that someone had hit him so hard in the leg that they shattered his knee.
"The black and white cat beside him is Rascal P. Cat. He also came from our old neighborhood. We were walking one night and he followed us home and kept staring in the window and crying and the rest, as they say, is history.
"The kitty on Frank's pillow is Shtinky. He was actually one of our first three kitties and we adopted him from CAP [Citizens For Animal Protection].
"The last kitty on the bed is Nitro (by Frank's feet). Nitro showed up in our yard last year and after about 3-4 months he finally let Frank pet him, so we grabbed him, enrolled him in the Runt Rescue Program at Harris County Animal Control (since we foster for them) and we adopted him out. He has a lot of Bengal in him and he is talkative and very active and the person who adopted him was afraid of him so when we got a phone call a few months after his adoption saying he no longer wanted Nitro, we took him back and YES, another of Frank's foster failures as I have had numerous people want to adopt him."
And, that, folks, is how, one warm night in Houston, a bed can become a comfort zone for The Clowder and The Couple -- perhaps a little more comfy for the Clowder, of course.
(Your critter or critters can also be featured in our weekend presentation "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and Napping Cats Nap." Send the photo or photos and information about the critters and yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org. At Readlarrypowell.com, we are proud to promote sleeping -- insomniacs promote it, pursue it and spend many hours flopping around wondering how other creatures can accomplish it with ease.)
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