Guest Author: Finnegan the Cat
Hello again, dear reader. The human who calls herself my mother has dashed out once more to weed and mulch gardens between our current, intermittent thunderstorms. While I do not know precisely what these tasks entail or why they must be accomplished, I have seized upon her frenzied behavior as a welcome opportunity to once again share my wisdom with you.
This time, I do not address fellow felines, but seek to widen my ever-increasing circle of devotees by directly addressing humans and instructing you, from my superior vantage point as a rightly-adored member of the species felis silvestris catus, in the fine art of napping, something we cats know about and practice deeply and intensely.
My thinking has undergone brilliant revision: Earlier, I sought to aid my colleagues in the training of their humans (https://thedailyround.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-training-of-humans-by-finnegan-the-cat/), but hundreds of e-mails from eager students have informed me that their humans are so exhausted and ill-tempered that education and improvement pose challenges even the most diligent feline cannot surmount.
I deduce this to be due to humans’ lack of sleep, observing as I have that it is both a pleasure and spiritual practice you largely avoid. Thus, if I can successfully remedy your need and capacity for sleep, your training as better servants to cats everywhere can resume.
Using my siblings—and, of course, myself—as models, I will illustrate approaches to restorative slumber that you may not have previously considered or attempted. While some human scientists encourage napping as a method for recuperating one’s mind, body, and spirit, I instead encourage you to consider it as an art form, and the highest calling one might pursue, for true Art, in itself, is rejuvenating.
And, please, banish ideas of “power-napping” and other such obscenities from your vocabulary and mind. These are euphemisms used by “success-oriented and managerial” types to suggest a nap is something accomplished quickly and with the utmost strain, in order to achieve the most beneficial results regarding your increased productivity. (Their gain, your loss; such is capitalism, my friends, and believe me, you derive no nap-like benefits from buying into its tireless resolve to suck your body and soul dry…but I digress.)
I will return to my political ideologies in another post, but, for now, I must again emphasize that you eradicate such filthy terms and faux practices as “power-napping” from your mind and life. Instead, I would submit that the neophyte napper must accept that the fine art of napping requires sustained periods of self-accepting but resolute practice, resulting, one hopes, in up to 16, perhaps (I can dream) 20 hours of sleep every day.
Behold: a photograph of my mother “napping” in an automobile many years ago, captured by my father, who may have better used his time focusing on the road before him.
While I would hardly recommend a moving vehicle as the most welcoming spot to pursue one’s naps, we shall see that location is best designated through personal preference. At this time, mother’s method, as you can plainly see, lacked delicacy and the controlled “athlete in repose” image one aims to achieve. Still, for a beginner, there were aspects of her approach that might have encouraged a professional tutor of my distinction, but, sadly, her apparent need for a drool cup–an unfortunate lapse in mother’s style and form that continues to this day–made problematic the likelihood she would ever attain a true mastery level in her napping, a forecast many (many) years have proven true. Study and learn from this, dear reader.
Here, then, a Beginner’s Guide to Napping, today covering the basics of location, form, and duration.
Location: Sun-puddles are the finest places for napping, wherever they are found. Rugs, window seats, boxes, sinks, commercial cat-beds (if one must), and, of course, human beds are recommended, but please explore your unique napping preferences and be willing to experiment. One of my favorite places to nap is atop the clothing and blanket dryer when it is running full throttle, and Murphy (although I cannot recommend the general sloppiness of his postures, save for Pose #3; see following) often naps high above the living room, on top of the TV cabinet.
I would caution you to refrain from napping anywhere in the kitchen, especially on a counter or tabletop, as our mother (if her acknowledged odd behavior can be extrapolated to other humans) pitches a royal hissy fit when we dare to attempt this. I have responded with my keenest “Calm yourself, woman” glare to no avail, so have abandoned this location as acceptable. For now. (As I have referenced, she is aged and I will likely outlast her.) You may have better luck with your family members, or may live alone, so I say have at it, if your kitchen counter is calling.
Posture: This is where the true artist emerges. The first position I would suggest is the casual magnificence demonstrated here, by moi, in the Crossed Paws Pose. Note the peaceful maintenance of the head’s position.
Alternately, but with greater practice, for it is much more advanced, one may hold the head just so, at a jaunty angle.
As you progress in your art, you may attempt the following: Moving from position one, above, a yawn (still napping, of course) is executed, and then one drops, almost imperceptibly, to the “Perfectly Prone” position. A trifecta of nappage postures, as it were. Do not try this too soon in your learning; you are bound to be discouraged when you fail.
Sometimes examples that demonstrate the antithesis of a lesson best teach:
Another pose to master is to rest on one’s ventral side, casually, the One Paw Extended Pose. (Casual to the beholder, of course; one’s focus must be riveted.) You can see my attempts to teach Murphy (a.k.a., “The Ham”) are ruined by his relentless inability to focus on anything but the camera.
The third pose, however, resting one’s head like an infant upon one’s forward, sweetly-curled paws, The Neonate Pose, is one of Murphy’s specialties. It makes adult humans say, “Oh, how cute! How precious! How darling!” If one goes in for that sort of childish thing, this pose may be your favorite.
The fourth and most challenging “solo” position is to execute a perfect circle of contentment, as I am doing here, in the aptly named Circle of Contentment Pose.
This cannot be forced, but rather demands elegance, the perfect coiling of the tail completing the circle, the head resting on all 4 paws…Mulligan comes close; when he is not licking himself, he can be a most surprising student in mastering what would seem far beyond his troubling intellect.
Sadly, the new sibling, Fergus, falls far short of the circle pose, but we are practicing diligently and daily.
Lastly, I would say a supreme pinnacle, a “mountaintop” you may want to hold in your napping dreams, is the Happy Family Nap Pose, which, as is plainly apparent in this photograph, my siblings cannot yet grasp. Here, I am almost at wit’s end trying to elicit cooperation in this most strenuous of poses. As you can see, Murphy has positioned himself far too closely to my posterior and then immediately fallen asleep. Synchronized sleeping is key in the HFP. Fiona and Mulligan are clearly seen to be out of alignment; in addition, Fiona is looking scornfully at the camera, while, again, Mulligan’s fascination with licking himself has robbed him of focus entirely.
Finally, I must address the duration of napping that a true artist would demonstrate. To aspire towards anything less than 10 hours would reveal one’s permanently amateur status. Begin, I caution, with the stated 10, and build up your endurance to the Mastery Level of 16 hours, and then 20 hours (the latter conferring the status of Supreme Master). I humbly admit I have achieved this level, and seek to guide my siblings towards similar perfection. Mulligan, if I can deter the licking, may do well. Fiona seems to be developing her own system of napping. We shall see: these secondary schools of form and content are so often drenched in inferiority; for example, consider Pantanjali and then Iyengar, if you catch my drift. The mind quickly turns from such blatant perversion. Perhaps Young Fergus, if he can vastly improve his form, may be most likely to succeed as the next Master, but he has years of practice ahead of him.
As do you, dear reader, so get to it.
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21 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Cat-Napping”
Very clever. But if humans napped for 20 hours a day, who I ask, would be bringing home the kibble?? Best acknowledged that you are a higher species, to be waited and doted upon by exhausted humans.
Thank you, Miss Ogee; I appreciate your thoughts, but I believe this is where the “power” idea may come in…during 4 waking hours, much could be accomplished by a human who desires only the best for her felines…but I may have to ponder this notion…after my nap.
Beautiful shots of the cats.
Thank you, Shimon; I appreciate your visits so much.
Love it! Your house looks like mine with various kitty nap stations positioned all about the house. Here there are sundry cardboard boxes, cat beds, foam mats, blanket beds ( here they are referred to as BOWLS) etc. They never last forever as the cats move on to create their new spots and the process begins all over again. At times I have to wonder whose house this really is 🙂 but I relish every moment of it and would live no other way. Tell Finnegan that that Elliott has definitely become a master and MayMay is due to graduate this year. Loved the photos and of course Finnegan’s take on nap time. Thanks for sharing. Blessings….VK
Oh, you’re so right, VK; before I buy another bed, I always use a box to see if this is a new place of wonder and tranquility…they are thoroughly indulged and, like you, I’m so grateful they’re in my life…to be true, Finny is the sweetest cat ever, but he said he enjoys pretending. he, and all 4-leggeds, send their congratulations to Elliott and MayMay. 🙂 Joy to your day…
My dear Finnegan, first, let me say that I laughed out loud, not at all elegant and very boorish I know, but I simply couldn’t help it!!! After reading your wise words for the SECOND time, I laughed even harder……at the silly, inexperienced poses you understand, and NOT at you…..one simply wouldn’t dare!!!
Are you sure you’re not a little tiger?????
I think that after all your superb advice I may attempt the circle of contentment, rather divine that looks, although I may look a little ungainly compared to you, but a girl has to start somewhere.
A fabulous post…..please post again soon..xxxx
My dear Snow Bird, your photograph suggests a delightful meal…I do enjoy your willingness to try the Circle o. C. Pose; such ambitions are noble in students. I would suggest the top of a running clothes dryer, or the kitchen counter, provided you don’t live with as crazed a human as my mother…Please feel free to send photos; I am more than willing to critique your form. Happy Napping, and thank you for your visit!
Please forgive me, no photos will be forthcoming. Sadly, I was all elbows and knees….the lack of a tail didn’t help either…..I need to work on my posture, casual magnificence is not something that comes naturally I’m afraid! Oh….btw……my pic is deceptive, I’m really an eagle, poor light, y’know!…..xxxx
An eagle you say? How, er, lovely; well then, off you go. I’m sure you’ve surpassed my own meager efforts…best of luck in all your undertakings. Did I mention I love eagles?
Ah Finnegan, so nice to hear your voice again. And your elegant poses! You clearly understand the fine art of presenting oneself properly and also have the teacher’s knack of explaining the whys and wherefores to the novice. I shall take your expert advice on napping properly; as a matter of fact, I will practice immediately (yawn . . .) If Charlotte was here, she would surely weave “Some cat!”
Composer, you humble me with your insights and the depth of understanding you bring to my art. As I have mentioned to others, I am happy to critique any photos you might like to share; you may have noticed my deft handling of mother’s photo. It always makes me a tad embarrassed. I never allow her to nap in public, if I can help it. I appreciate, too, your literary allusion. Again, mother required some assistance in grasping it, but I explained with my usual ability to use a diminished and simplified vocabulary. I am fortunate to be gifted with a superfluity of patience.
Thank you for visiting and sharing your most articulate comments, Composer; please visit again.
I showed this blog to my little girl and she fell in love with these felines right away. Too bad that I have this terrible allergy to cats and dogs so we can’t have them for pets. She’d love a little cat and puppy. 😉
How lovely to think of your sweetie enjoying these photos, Malou! I’m allergic to the dander of dogs and cats, too…I take an allergy pill every morning, vacuum every day, wash blankets every day or once a week, and have all wooden floors. Lots more work than most people have time for, but we have it down like clockwork and, of course, it’s worth it for us. I have read that people have a better chance of avoiding allergies if they can be around these pets in their childhoods. My mother just didn’t want indoor pets, and my younger brother and I both have these allergies. Of course, when a parent is already allergic, a greater problem presents itself…sigh. My cats (and dogs) send many smooches to your daughter. I showed them her picture, too, and they think she looks not only beautiful, but very, very smart!
Excellent essay! Napping is very underrated, and nothing advertises the joys of such an activity like cats!
Thank you; Finnegan is napping right now, so I’m pretty sure I can say he agrees with you! Thanks for visiting and taking time to share such a sweet comment!
Please tell Finnegan how much I enjoy his posts and how much he makes me smile! I bet if he and I met up when I was little, we’d have been best friends! I love how he thinks.
On a more serious note: your photos of the four legged family members make me wish I could do something like that! It’s hard for me to believe that someone was actually there with a camera! It looks like daily life as soon from some divine eye.
So beautiful. Can’t ever thank you enough for sharing so much wisdom (words), so much beauty (images).
Glad you enjoyed this post, Matt; Finnegan and I had so much fun putting it together! He is a very good sport when I ask him if I can take his photo once again…all of the 4-leggeds do make Full Moon quite a heaven on earth, that’s for sure…it’s so kind of you to take the time to read my posts and offer your sweet comments, Matt; I really appreciate your visits.
Reblogged this on Kate Is Rising and commented:
I love when animals, especially cats blog, The Beginners Guide to Napping or How to Make Napping an Art Form.
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Ah, dear Finnegan, you are indeed a master!! As a humble human, I can, on rare occasions, manage 7 hours of straight napping, but no more. Still learning. However, I’d like to introduce to you a more daring napping pose – please see the photo here of the avant-garde positioning of my (now-departed) Claude – https://stilladreamer.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/stillness-the-lighter-side/ He, too, has been my teacher. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.