That’s Walter. One of two feline members of the family. His full name, as it appears on record at the Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter, is Walter Sobchak — John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski.” He has many silly nicknames like “Big Boy” and “Balter” and now that we’re Maryland residents, he’s been called “Lord Baltermore” a time or two. He’s also affectionately (… said through clenched teeth) known as “Mr. Wizzer” and “Wu” for his tendency to pee on rugs.
(Is it amazing to me that I can feel your judgment pre-emptively? I haven’t even posted this yet and I already hear you snickering at me and saying in your head, “God, they’re lame.” We are. We know it.)
Since Walter’s been part of the family, he’s gone through bouts of insomnia. This, of course, means the humans in the house go through bouts of insomnia. He was an “owner turn-in” at the shelter, and the woman told me when I adopted him that he got brought in because he was alone a lot and the owners didn’t have time to take care of him anymore. You can interpret this to mean that Walter’s a little clingy. In fact, he’s more like a dog most times than a cat. Our other cat, Inky, just sort of goes about her cat life unaware that there are two humans and another cat in the house. Occasionally, she’ll poke her head around a corner and meow and if she feels really adventurous, she’ll roll over on her side which is her way of saying “pet me, but only until I walk away.”
I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning to Walter — standing on my back — meowing at the top of his lungs. This was this first time this week. Last Thursday, he stood at the foot of the bed, same thing. He walked up the bed and stood at my head and meowed. I told him to go away. Dutifully, he jumps across me and stands in front of Brandon and tries the same thing. Brandon, being a far better person than I am, pet him for a while and then told him to go away.
It’s billed as quick tips for building a bond with your feline friend. I’m excited. I’ll be reading this on the train on the way home tonight. I already thumbed through it a little and it looks like there are some fun things in there. I know I’ll never really get to the bottom of why Walter wants us all up and at ’em at 4 a.m., but at least I can feel like I tried. It’s not that he’s hungry or that anything’s wrong. He’s just an insomniac.