Still Life with Squirt Gun

So Athena, our dumb-but-usually-friendly cat, has this bad habit of attacking toes in the night.

I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure. I don’t think it’s neccessarily her fault–James’s feet twitch when he sleeps as if he’s gotten his wires crossed and is having Rapid Foot Movement sleep or something, and the twitching Something under the blankets must be irresistable to a small, bored predator. But nevertheless, to be awakened several times a night by clawed paws slapping your toes is not conducive to a cheery morning, particularly when you’ve dutifully gotten up several times to confirm that yes, she has food and water, and no, she doesn’t want to snuggle.

Building ramparts around the feet only means that the attack will come from a different angle. She’s really quite persistent.

So yesterday, in the interests of finally breaking her of this habit, which was renewed in spades when we moved into the new place, we got a squirt gun, one of those double shot ones that shoots two streams of water, one high, one low, and put it on James’s side of the bed. Deep in the night, the claws came down, James groped for the squirt gun, and the cat got a face full of cold water, which did not please her at all. (Fortunately, she dislikes water–Loki considered water to be yet another of life’s trials to be ignored. If he was sleeping in the sink, turning the faucet on onto his head only made him grumble.)

A few minutes later, either having completely forgotten the water gun, or wanting to test her luck, she launched another foot assault, and got another face full of water.

This displeased her mightily, and she stalked over to the nightstand on my side, under the window, stretched herself up, and began to play the Venetian blinds like a xylophone.

It was about four AM at this point, and James was arguably not at his best, and has exceedingly poor eyesight without his glasses, and the squirt gun was already in his hand. He squirted the cat, forgetting that it was a double stream squirt gun, and that his wife–that would be me–was laying mostly dead to the world next to him, directly in the path of the lower stream of very cold water.

The blast took me in the right ear and across the cheek, and caused me to make the sort of noises one usually associates with wolverine dentistry as I was catapulted brutally into consciousness.

The conversation that followed, I’ll leave to the imagination, since I wasn’t entirely conscious for it, but both husband and cat, chastised by the night’s events, went back to sleep, and everyone lived to see another dawn.

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