The Heating Pad

A Flashback Friday Presentation

When we had the stunning black double-pawed Smidgen as our cat, she was always very businesslike about how the sleeping arrangements were ordered. If my wife was at work, she slept between my ankles, either above or under the covers. She insisted my hygienic standards were deficient, so I’d often wake up to a pink tongue cleaning me. Besides, I needed to get up to feed her and the dog.

She used another ritual if my wife, Mom, was at home. My wife, a night shift nurse, has popsicle toes. So she would often use a heating pad to warm her feet. Smidgen discovered very early that the heating pad was about as long as she was stretched out. She understood that although Dad had purchased it at Christmas for mom ( a selfish act to be sure!), It was meant for her. At first, she was willing to share. I’d walk through the bedroom and observe Smidge and Mom cuddled comfortably together. That escalated the day that I discovered her stretched out upon the pad when my wife was at work. The look she gave me was pure “if you love me, you’ll turn it on.” No deal.

Smidge had an alternative source of warmth. I had an old-fashioned flatbed scanner. The lamp in it produced enough heat to warm a small room in the winter. And when I worked at the computer, she would lie on it to supervise me. To me, it looked a lot like she was sleeping. But I was diplomatic; she was double-pawed, and that means double the claws.
As lovely as the scanner was, she coveted the heating pad. She began to monitor when my wife would go to sleep. She would then wait until my wife was soundly sleeping and get into bed for a cuddle. Gradually the cuddle turned into her arching her back with claws dug into the covers. She was gently pushing my wife toward the edge of the bed. As she pushed, she claimed more of the bed and heating pad. Over months the little brat became more and more aggressive.

At last real victory was hers. I entered the bedroom, and Smidgen was stretched across the bed’s width and in full possession of the heating pad. My wife huddled on the edge of the bed, holding on to the final inches of mattress.
Locking her out did no good. She’d somehow take those big double paws to the knob, suspend herself and twist the knob open. When I showed up to scoot her off the bed, there was a display of innocence. That cat could have won an Academy Award for her acting. Didn’t I know that it was her heating pad – part of the Divine Rights of Cats, guaranteed in the Consitution? She needed it; how could I deny her?

The next Christmas, my wife received an electric blanket. I had supposed the war for the bed to be over with room for both of them. But she turned up her nose at the blanket. She outrightly refused to sleep on the bed if it was on. She retreated to the flatbed scanner with ill-concealed distaste.
The issue seemed settled until the electric blanket failed one night, and the heating pad came out of storage. A victorious Smidgen strolled slowly into the bedroom to assume her proper place on the bed. The message seemed to be – never attempt to thwart a cat in her pursuit of pleasure.

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