Saturday, November 8

The Full Tuck

[Eleventh in a series]

If there's one thing that BabyDoll knew how to do was sleep. She wasn't sedentary by any stretch; Molly and Sherman - and Bambi to a lesser extent - kept her spry. But when it came time to nap, she was all for it.

Oft times when I'd take a weekend nap in my bachelor days, I'd lay prone on the bed, hands behind my head, and up on the bed would jump BabyDoll. She was so quiet when she'd jump up; nary a movement of the bed springs. Graceful and calm. Once, when I'd just gotten new mattresses, an inch or two higher than the last set, she misjudged her landing and jumped into the mattress. With an "I meant to do that" expression on her face, thereafter, she was back to graceful.

Quietly, she'd walk casually up to and onto my chest. Still not a movement of the bed. And she'd lay on top of me, facing me, never looking away. But she wasn't quite ready to nap yet. Stare at me she would. Waiting for something I never quite knew what, but eventually, she'd fold one leg under her. And a pause of sometimes just a few seconds, sometimes minutes. She wasn't quite settled at those times. Maybe a noise is what she heard. Maybe I wasn't quite settled yet.

And finally, the other leg was folded under as well.

She was now set for the duration.

And she'd start purring. This cat knew purring. Sweetest sound God ever made. Rhythmic, the greatest way to take a nap.

I'd fall asleep, content, with BabyDoll in her full tuck, napping with me.

All the other cats I ever had, fosters and overnight guests alike, would try sleeping on my chest. But if they didn't full tuck, they weren't staying for long.

Next time you see a cat napping, look to see if they're in a full tuck - chances are, they've been there for a long, long time.

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