UK: A Day in the Life of Two Cats (Walter and Jozef)

Walter doesn’t like night time very much, he likes bedtime with all its rituals and he sleeps for a few hours once the light goes off, but then he’s up and wandering about from room to room looking out of the windows through the night until either he or Jozef spots one of us with our eyes open and declares “Morning has broken”.

A day in the life of two English cats

Poster by Babz

Because they want to get up so early Ruth and I have a system where we take turns of being the one to get up with them every other day, and on our lie in days we stay in bed until around 7.30 relishing our beds. My turn to get up early came at 5.20am today when I heard Jozef jump off Ruth’s bed and knowing Walter was already up and about I got up quickly to try and get down before them, but I was too late, by the time I was ready and downstairs Walter had put Jozef under the set of drawers in the corner – on dear here we go another day in the madhouse.

The first thing is to open the front door, as early as that it’s peaceful and quiet, no traffic to worry about and rarely any other cats about so Walter usually goes straight out, but Jozef waits to have his warmed chicken before he sets off, about 8 seconds in the microwave is just right and he sat down to it while I opened the curtains, put the saucer of cat biscuits for nibbling on in its normal place on the window sill and put a sachet of cat food in a jug of warm water to take the chill off it ready for breakfast number one, by which time Jozef was ready to go out by the back door, then put the heating on and balanced breakfast number two, a flat tin of Classic, on the radiator on a towel to warm.

I used to leave the back door open a little bit while I was busy in the kitchen but since the morning when Walter sneaked a live mouse in and took it upstairs (which rather spoiled Ruth’s lie in) I now just keep popping my head round the living room door to see if either of them are waiting at the window, we have to be careful because sometimes Jozef is sitting there innocently waiting and all of a sudden Walter jumps right onto him so it’s a case of looking every few minutes but today I managed to wash up and get my breakfast on a tray into the living room, sit in my armchair and raise the first spoonful of muesli mouthwards before Walter’s face popped up. So, I got the warm sachet and served half of it to him, in the corner by the TV where he likes it on a place mat, sat down and picked up my muesli again, but no….today he didn’t like it and he ate a little bit then went back on the chair and out of the window so I picked it up, chucked it out, thought about how many times I’ve threatened to give him shredded newspaper for his first breakfast because he wastes so much food, sat down and up popped Jozef’s tiny face.

Well today he was a good boy and had his breakfast out of the sachet that was already open then sat on the rug looking at the electric fire until I switched it on for him, up popped Walter and breakfast number two began. This went on for a while until finally they were both satisfied and then Walter got the armchair at about 7 and peace reigned so I had a bit of time on the downstairs computer and read the paper until Ruth got up, and after a little while got ready and away to work (for a rest)

Once he’s in the chair Walter often stays there until about 1pm then he has a trip out and is back before I get home from work, Jozef enjoys the mornings going out while he knows his brother is in the house and not lurking outside waiting to mug him, he comes home and settles at about the time that Walter is stirring. By the time Ruth and I have had lunch Jo is settled and Walter is ready to climb onto my chest for a power nap, then he comes upstairs with me and sits beside me in the computer chair while I (on a kitchen chair) catch up with my emails, POC and Facebook.

Peace reigns until about 6pm when they both start to stir so Ruth and I close our PC’s and start preparations for our evening meal, and their evening meals (plural), they pop in and out until about 8 then settle until about 9, Walter often goes upstairs and on to the top of Ruth’s wardrobe in the cat box at that time, sometimes if they don’t stir by about 9 for their last look out I sing in a loud voice, God Save the Queen or The Old Rugged Cross usually gets them up and out quickly LOL.

And then it’s time for bed, this is the part Walter loves, when we all go upstairs, me carrying a tray loaded with a teapot and 2 cups, three choices of supper/overnight snacks for each boy and my library book under my arm, Walter runs up and Jozef gets a “taxi” in Ruth’s arms, all the way upstairs while she is carrying him he looks up into the high reaches of the stairwell “checking for spiders”, he gets out of his taxi onto “Blue Mammy” on Ruth’s bed where he usually sleeps.

Walter, in my room, sits and looks pitiful for all the food is put on his mat on the floor he likes a plateful to be placed in front of him near his scratch sofa which he eats quickly while Ruth is getting ready for bed, meanwhile once ready I go in to say goodnight to Jozef and usually find him off the bed and scoffing all his plates of food one after the other. Back in my own room and now in bed Walter is finished eating but sits and waits for Ruth to come in and lift him onto my bed, when she does he is so happy, he speaks to her and purrs and walks between us and then throws himself onto his side in her arms, she calls it “trust” and says to him “are you going to do trust tonight?” and mostly he does.

When she finally gets away to her own bed where Jozef is waiting for his own goodnight ritual I pick up my book to read for a while, but oh no Walter doesn’t like it and he comes up the bed and nudges the book with his head until I drop it and the pages close, that is my signal to give up, put the light out and lie down with open arms and then he comes for a cuddle. Goodnight all…………… for a little while anyway.

Does anyone else, and their cats, have bedtime rituals?


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57 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    I managed to get a bit longer today, it was 5.40 when Walter came and sat on my chest and shouted “MEOW!” in my face, it wasn’t a request it was an order, Jo was hovering in the doorway so Walter must have been the spokesman, both now well fed, been in and out a few times and have settled, Walter in his (my) armchair and Jo by the fire.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      Jozef came under the duvet for a cuddle at 4am and went fast asleep and stayed until 5am, it was lovely, he’s such a peaceful little soul.
      Both are here near me now, snoozing and Babz has gone to work.

      • Michael Broad says:

        Do you think it is unusual for cats to go under the duvet? I think it is nice but I don’t think it happens that much.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          I don’t really know Michael, our cats always have, past and present. It would be interesting to find out how many do.

        • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

          Is a duvet a sofa? If so, Monty goes under ours all the time. He likes to be under things. Makes him feel safe, I think.

          • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

            Or is a duvet a quilt? Monty will come under the blankets when he gets cold. Sometimes that is where I find him. My sister’s cat does the same thing while she is away during the day and furnace is turned down– he burrows in under the blankets on her bed. I used to worry when cats did that– that they would suffocate. But I guess they must have enough air under there.

            • Michael says:

              I always feel that the combination of duvet (or quilt) and the cat’s coat would make the cat far too hot. Although cats are good at accepting hot conditions. It probably goes back to their wildcat ancestor, the African wildcat. Where you live is very cold in the winter.

            • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

              A duvet is a sort of quilt with a cover on, there are Winter and Summer togs but we find the lighter ones best for all year round and they don’t feel at all heavy or smothering. Jozef can get out very easily when he wants to without even waking me up although he does climb on me on top of the duvet if he wants me awake.

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Now and again our boyz will try it on with us, going to the door to go out at bedtime even though they know no one goes out late at night. We say ‘Goodnight Walter’ if it’s him and he runs upstairs, or if it’s Jo playing up ‘Taxi on its way’ and he runs to the bottom of the stairs to wait. Such good boyz really 🙂

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    Two spoiled and very loved boyz. As it should be.
    I think rituals are very important – consistency, reliability.
    Simplistic here. My phrase is, “night-night time” and most everyone takes their chosen place.

    • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

      They do such a good job preserving night time rituals, providing the consistent routines cats love. Sometimes I wish I could do that better for Monty.

    • Michael says:

      think rituals are very important – consistency, reliability.

      Couldn’t agree more Dee. I think the benefits of consistency and reliability are appreciated by humans as well as cats.

  4. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    lol you can see our house revolves round those boyz!
    Jozef loves his ‘taxi’
    I say ‘Did you order a taxi sir?’ and he comes to me and makes himself camel shaped to be picked up lol
    Since we got the new suite though with an alleyway behind, he sometimes likes to have a bit of fun running round there and popping out the other end first before coming for his patiently waiting taxi.
    I can cuddle him as much as I want to once on the bed, but over cuddle Walter and it’s fatal lol I get a kick in the head.
    Our boyz are our sun, moon and stars.

    • Marc says:

      lol – makes ‘himself Camel shaped’ – that’s funny. I wish my cats wanted taxi rides. 🙂

      We all just sit together on my bed and eat biscuits together (I eat cereal they eat cat food) 🙂

  5. Caroline says:

    “Jozef sets off for bed in a taxi” xxox
    I love this photo, Ruth and Babz. Beautiful.

  6. kylee says:

    yea i definitly have that with most of my cats mostly with smokey and rebel and sometimes tiger. All our cats are all know they are loved.

  7. DW says:

    A day in a life indeed. The ritual is good for everyone! So much love in that house! Beautiful.

  8. kylee says:

    love the photos so nice to see photos of each cats, they look like well loved and lucky cats.

    • Barbara says:

      Yes they’re very much loved Kylee, not really lucky though because cats should have kind and happy homes as a right, I feel so sorry for cats who don’t get the love and care they deserve.

  9. Jo Singer says:

    What a great story. I loved it. I particularly love the photo of you and Walter being carried off to bed. Both of you have such loving expressions. It truly sparkled my afternoon.

    Bedtime rituals eh? For sure! Until about six months when Dr. Hush Puppy became disenchanted with the laser toy- he would sit by the side of the bed and look at me until I dragged the toy out and he would chase it for about 10 minutes or so- pouncing on it and looking disappointed when there was nothing “concrete” for him to hold.. meanwhile Sir Hubble would look at him as if he was a bit daft.

    So the game ritual is over now- and has been replaced with the boys vying for which one will have the coveted spot- the closest to me-so they fight a bit and chase each other – the winner gets the prize. Meanwhile I am trying to get to sleep.

    But the best part of right before bed is their midnight snack- they stand by the door eyeing me as if they were saying, “Where’s the beef?” Once they settle down though they make such excellent bedwarmers now that Florida is having a cold snap.. HA!

    • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

      Cats are great bed earners. When I was a kid there was no heat in our bedrooms at night. We would fight over who got to sleep with the cat. Tippy would snuggle in right under the blankets with you and sleep right up against you. I think even the cat was cold in that house. Monty’s not a snuggler. Too bad.

      • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

        Bed warmers. Silly autocorrect. Or maybe it’s that I put some booze into the tea I’m sipping.

      • Barbara says:

        When we were kids we had to share a bedroom and a big double bed, it used to be so cold that there was frost on the inside of the window but we were always warm because we had our GSD Lassie to snuggle up with. These days our house is always warm upstairs at night, despite summer weight quilts all year round we’re still hot, so when one of the boys climbs in we swelter, but still it’s lovely to be chosen for as cuddle.

        • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

          There has been frost on the inside of some of our windows for the past two months! It’s really bad up in my sister’s apartment. I’ve been thinking if buying Kobe a heated pet bed. He’s getting older. I think he would love that.

          • Barbara says:

            Oh you poor souls, brrrrrrr,do you not have heating in the bedroom? A heated pet bed sounds great, Jo loves his little round day bed by the radiator but he never goes in it at night. We put our heating off at about 8.30pm or it’s just too hot upstairs.

            • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

              My parents shut the furnace vents to all bedrooms at night and kept the furnace set just high enough to keep the pipes from freezing in the 1980’s because they both lost their jobs and could not afford fuel oil for the furnace. Until they found work what was in the barrel had to suffice, because the company would not sell you just a little. You had to fill the barrel and they couldn’t afford that. They had a fireplace and a kerosine heater, the kind you’re not supposed to use indoors. But they just used it long enough to take the chill out if whatever room you needed to be in. Pictures of us in that house in the 1980’s are funny– we all look like homeless people, wearing layer upon layer of clothing. Mom sewed us bonnets like they wore on “Little House on the Prairie” too. I still have mine. I should wear mine more often at night, so Monty can’t take his claws across my scalp to wake me up.
              We have some windows in our house now that are single panes of glass or very old, original to the house (upstairs) and we just haven’t replaced them yet. So to avoid massive heating bills we keep our furnace set very low. My sister turns her heat up higher, but she has a newer, more efficient furnace. Ours is very old. But Jeff is always hot, I’m used to a cold house from my childhood, and Monty has fur.

              • Dee (Florida) says:

                I hear ya’, Ruth. Very large family for me and cutting costs.
                I slept with 2 sisters in one bed and heat was cut very low at night. We, also, slept in flannel and had plenty of heavy blankets.
                Mom would get up early, set the oven to 400 degrees, and keep the door open to take the chill off the kitchen.
                Like you, I learned to live that way and love sleeping in the cold.
                What is so odd about me is that I can have the covers up to my neck, but I can’t stand having my feet covered, so I keep them out. No clue why, but one of my sisters is the same.

          • Dee (Florida) says:

            Heated beds can be a little pricey.
            I buy large indoor/outdoor heat pads all the time from Amazon, and they’re pretty reasonable. I cover under and over with old or secondhand comforters/blankets that I’ve cut to size.
            For myself, I sleep best when my room is about 60 degrees.

            • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

              We were very poor as kids. Our late mam had to get up very early and clean the coal fire out and light it before our late dad got up for work, we had no indoor toilet or bathroom or hot water or cooker, the fire did everything, the oven was joined to it with a gap under for pushing the hot coals under. She made wonderful roast dinners though and stew on the hob, the soot added flavour lol
              When I think of the luxuries we take for granted now I feel very fortunate.
              The point is though we didn’t hear much those days about what was bad for you and our pets survived without all the special food and vet treatment there is now for them, often too much and unnecessary.
              Progress is good but sometimes it seems to have gone too far.

              • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

                My grandparents grew up in similar conditions– outhouse for a bathroom, no electricity or hot water. To get water for in the house you would go outside and pump it and carry it in. That was my grandma’s job when she was little. By the time they were teenagers that was all changing. My grandfather’s family had one of the first automobiles in their rural area. It was considered a rich man’s toy and not very practical. Neighbors would yell, “Get a horse!” and laugh. My great grandpa continued to drive the car even after he went blind. Grandma would sit by him and tell him when to turn and they just went real slow. Never occurred to him that a woman could learn to drive, I guess. That seems like such a different world, an age and an age ago– but it’s less than 100 years ago.

            • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

              That’s what I’m afraid of Dee– that a heated bed will be very expensive. I know Kobe would like it though!
              That’s funny that you sleep with your feet uncovered. If we do that Monty comes and rubs against our feet and purrs. He has a thing for feet.

              • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

                Yes times were even harder 100 years ago than the 50/60 years ago when we were kids, men were tough, fancy driving blind! Your gran was brave to go with him.

            • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

              lol I have an image in my mind now Dee of your feet sticking out the bottom of the bed covers! I like them right up almost over my head, older bro terrified me as a kid saying if you left your ears uncovered someone might pour boiling oil in one lol
              Funny how things stick in your mind for life.

  10. Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

    Is the squirty cream mentioned in the poster the kind that is squirted out of a can? My dad found out that type of whipped cream throws his blood sugar way off, for hours afterward. His blood sugar just drops like crazy for no reason after eating that. (He is diabetic.) There is some additive in that squirty whipped cream that is very bad. It’s in the cheese that is squirted out of a can and it was even in some soft cream cheese my mom bought that wasn’t squirted, but the additive made it soft. My father had the same bad reaction to the soft cream cheese as to the whipped cream. I don’t know the name of what it is that causes the problems, but my dad’s doctor said that if an animal ate that additive it could kill him. He said animals should never be given any of those products that get squirted out of a can.

    I gave Monty a tiny taste of it in the past, but I never will again. I’ve been trying to find out exactly what it is that causes the problem. Is it xylitol? That’s an artificial sweetener that’s bad for cats. I know it wasn’t in the product I shared with Monty. It seems like it’s not a sweetener but something that keeps the product soft. I wish he had been able to recall the name of the additive that threw his blood sugar off so much. I think the doctor said it could destroy the pancreas of a dog. I’d assume if it could harm a dog a cat would be equally vulnerable.

    Just in case, I’d avoid the squirty cream. I will continue to pursue this until I can find out exactly what it is that causes problems.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      It’s 35% reduced fat vegetarian cream and contains no xylitol, we would never give our boyz anything dangerous to them, we always do our research well first.

      • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

        I’m almost certain the problem isn’t xylitol because it was in the cream cheese too. It’s an additive that keeps the product soft so that it can squirt out of the can. I will never again give Monty any product that is squirted out of a can. Maybe what I gave him was hard on his pancreas, but being a young cat he was ok. I’ll never do it again. I won’t be eating any of those products myself either. I guess it just isn’t natural to be able to squirt food out of a can and our bodies know it. It was quite frightening to my parents until they figured out the cause, because after eating that my father’s blood sugar just dropped and nothing he did would stabilize it. They were wondering if they should get him to the hospital, but eventually the effect wore off.

    • Barbara says:

      Thanks for being concerned and caring about the boys and the squirty cream Ruth (MM), it hasn’t harmed them in all their years, nor the ones that went before them, so it obviously hasn’t got the fatal ingredient you were worried about, they don’t have a lot but they do love it, we know they shouldn’t have too much because of their waistlines and it is low fat. It’s a bit like every one of us, there are so many things that one shouldn’t eat, drink, do, use that we could probably live to 150 if we took notice, but oh what a long boring life it would be, a little bit of what you fancy does you good is a nice way to go. I’ve seen an old lady of 104 in our local newspaper this morning who attributes her long life to never getting married and having sherry whenever she fancied it. You just have to have a bit of leeway I reckon and so do cats. But we’d never risk our boys health, they’re too important to us.

      • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

        I did some research and one possible culprit is carrageenan. It induces inflammation in the body and is a possible carcinogen. It is not used in Europe because studies showed it could be harmful. The US takes longer to study possibly harmful food additives, so despite research showing it is harmful, carrageenan is very common here, even in health foods.

        Guar gum could be another culprit. It lowers blood sugar, so that could explain why after eating whipped cream my father’s blood sugar bottoms out. It is also used in some cheeses, so that explains the cream cheese and whipped cream inducing the same reaction.

        While both are potentially harmful, both can be found in pet foods made in the US. Almost every food additive I looked up had some risks. Almost every food additive I looked up is commonly used in pet foods.

        So on one hand my father’s doctor warns against feeding certain foods to pets because of food additives that can be dangerous to them, but then you dig deeper and find these very additives are commonly used in commercial pet foods. I wish I could say I was surprised.

        UK kitties are probably totally safe eating canned whipped cream, since standards for safety in food additives are higher there than in the US.

        • Barbara says:

          It’s a minefield, all you can do really is trust your instincts, do a bit of research and then get on with it, you’d go mad analysing every single thing you gave to your cat or ate yourself.

          • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

            You are safer in the UK though. I did not realize that until today. I’m going to carefully check the ingredients on Monty’s food.

        • Walter and Jozef says:

          Phew! Aunty Ruth (MM)we were a bit worried yesterday in case our cream was confiscated! We love it and we’re not greedy boys, just a little squirt makes us purr.

          • Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

            Well, Walt and Jo, you are lucky to live where companies can’t put so many nasty additives into your food as they can here in the US. But now I know why your little bellies are so round.

  11. Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

    Monty gets upset if we aren’t in bed at the usual time!

  12. Michael says:

    Does anyone else, and their cats, have bedtime rituals?

    Yes, big time. I wonder whether we all have them. Yours are very much a ritual. Fine tuned and sophisticated 😉

    My boy is sometimes on my bed when I go to bed. If so he warms up the bed. Great. Then when I am settled I call him to come up to me by tapping the bed next to me. He nearly always comes and lies down on me. Then we have a little love session and I comb him with a flea comb all over his body. He coat always feels nice after that.

    Then after the love session – he looks at me in deep admiration 😉 and he licks my hand or arm or even my face – he grooms himself while resting against me.

    Then…he sleeps and makes a hell of a lot of noise. As he falls asleep the noise starts up. When I am about to sleep myself he walks over to my left side and lies down next to me at around head/shoulder height where he stays all night. I can cuddle him and he likes that.

    Then….part 2 coming…

    • Barbara says:

      I wonder what our cats would think about us sharing their bedtime secrets online, Charlie is such a loving companion to you, I can’t wait to read part 2 🙂

      • Michael Broad says:

        Part 2…

        Charlie turns over about four times during the night. I might do something similar. When we wake up at about the same time I rest my hand on him and if his face is near mine he sniffs my face. I can feel his damp nose.

        I sniff him back just to reciprocate.

        Then the slow warm up to breakfast starts. He starts to pester me for it. He’ll ask with his particular style of meow (Siamese style). Eventually he’ll move to the end of the bed which is his position to be picked up and carried to the kitchen.

        I carry him because it saves him having to jump down off the bed which he can do but it is a bit tricky with a missing front leg.

        Eventually after much argument he forces me to get up and feed him. I make tea when I am in the kitchen and go back to bed to work. He follows and rests on my legs….He sticks to me like glue. He’s hot. When he snoozes he does not respond to my cuddles. He’s so used to it. He might make a little grunt.

        • Barbara says:

          Oh I love this,Charlie has trained you well Michael you’re a credit to him I can just picture you sniffing each others faces when you both wake up, how close you two are, even when you’re working and he is napping he still wants to be touching you, what a privilege it is to learn the secrets of cats and their human’s rituals.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          I was looking forward to part 2 too, I love reading about Charlie and seeing his photos, I wonder if we could bribe the paparazzi to sneak in one night and catch you both peacefully sleeping together lol

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