If you ask me, there’s one thing in the world that there’s just too little of, and it’s not love. I’m talking about S-L-E-E-P. I’m always trying to get more of it and make the most out of what little time I do get.
So I had a thought… why not ask someone who’s truly an expert on the subject; someone who spends more time snoozing than most of us spend at work? I’m talking, of course, about Morris the Cat.
For those of you who don’t know him – or who’ve let sleep deprivation cloud your memory – Morris is the iconic spokescat for 9Lives cat food and has starred in over 50 commercials. When he’s not in front of the camera or chowing down on 9Lives, you can bet he’s napping in his trailer, ahem carrying case.
He’s taken time out of his busy schedule to answer some reader questions about the very im-purr-tant issue of sleep.
I’ve been experiencing difficulties with falling asleep, tossing and turning once my head hits the pillow. I don’t get it because I feel tired all day at work; then I come home, brush my teeth, flip on the TV, and just… lie there. I’m hoping I can learn from the expert. Morris, what am I doing wrong?
Sleepless in San Fur-nando
Dear Sleepless in San Fur-nando,
Your case, unfortunately, is not at all uncommon. When you’re going all day long at the speed of a cheetah, it’s no wonder your mind darts around like a red laser dot at bedtime. Luckily, as a cat, I spend up to 140 hours per week sleeping and I can tell you there is hope! For starters, I notice you mentioned turning on the TV before bed. Cats don’t watch TV – this is partly because the majority of us can’t speak English that well, but mostly because it interferes with our snooze time. Scientifically speaking, the ‘glow’ emitted by an electronic screen enters the brain and slows the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. So next time you want to turn on the tube before bed, try counting sheep instead – or better yet, mice!
I’m a cat but as you know, even animals have ‘spirit animals.’ Mine is an owl – a night owl to be exact. I love to play “catch the speck of dust” or “chase your tail in the middle of the bed” into the wee hours of the morning. My humans have no idea what they’re missing out on. They just lay there snoring and swat at me when I come too close. How can I make them see that daytime is lame, and the real party happens under stars (the stick-on, glow-in-the-dark kind)?
Dear Hyper Harry,
Sadly, this is a case you may not win. Humans need their sleep at night. You get to spend all day snoozing and they only get a few precious hours when the sun goes down. Your humans can, however, make sure that they understand why it is you’re pouncing about and provide things to make nighttime more fun. For instance, your humans could consider getting a kitty condo or put out bags or boxes for you to explore. For extra credit, they can hide treats around the house so you can go on a midnight scavenger hunt. Or, if you’re really lucky, they’ll bring home a kitty best friend for you to play with whenever you please. Other cats might be up at night because they get hungry, in which case their humans could try an automatic food dispenser to provide small meals throughout the night. Remember, the more you let your humans sleep at night, the more energy they’ll have to play with you during the day!
My cat and I are BFFs. We do everything together – play, eat, snuggle – we make a purrfect team. But in the bedroom, I prefer to have my space. My cat, on the other hand, thinks there’s no better place to sleep than right on my head! Why does she do this? I’m not all that fun when I’m sleeping.
Dear Tired Tails,
You have been bestowed a great honor. As cats, we don’t always wear our hearts on our paws, but one tell-tail sign we love and trust you is when we choose to make YOU our bed. Plus, you’re warm. And getting our warmth from you helps us to conserve our own energy for more important things like eating. The rhythm of your breath also creates a calming effect and the curve of your face, stomach, or legs perfectly forms to our bodies. Basically, you’re like a waterbed, heated blanket, and memory foam all in one! So the next time your cat goes to curl up on you, think of it as a compliment and drift off to sleep knowing you are loved… and you’re very comfortable.
Thank you, Morris the Cat, for your wonderful nighttime tips! For more info on Morris’ mission to help cats and humans live well – including his initiative to donate one million 9Lives meals to rescue kitties – check out his Live Well & Prospurr website.