Sophia (most intelligent, and also chattiest of our cats) has taken to waking me at 5.30 each morning. She used to do that to Daniel during the summer months - now I know why he was often so exhausted. And he would sometimes go back to sleep, whereas I can't once it's light.
I think Sophia thinks it's her duty to organise the household. Around 1pm each day she arrives from wherever she's been, mewing loudly and telling us all to sit down to eat lunch. If Richard isn't back from work, she lets us know we need to phone him.
She likes it when Tim sits at the dining room table doing some of his home education coursework in the mornings - she gives clear mews of approval, and sits with him.
Unfortunately, she also thinks that at least one person should be up and about as soon as it's daylight. That's fine in the winter, but not much fun in the summer. When it was 6.30, I didn't mind. I like being up at that time. But I really don't want to be up an hour before then.
Couldn't we stop her, you might ask? Well... Daniel tried. We've tried. But what can one do?
We could shut her out of the house, and close the bathroom window (which the cats use as a cat-door).
Been there, done that. Sophia then arrives on the sill of one of our bedroom windows, and mews loudly and scratches until we wake up and let her in.
We could shut her out of our room and close the door.
No good either. Sophia mews loudly and throws herself against the door. Very noisy, and we worry that she might do herself an injury.
We could ignore her, and hope she goes back to sleep.
Nope. If mewing doesn't get one of us up, she starts patting our heads. If that doesn't work, she starts patting our heads or arms with her claws slightly extended. If we manage to get completely under the duvet where she can't reach us, she starts knocking things off shelves. Richard had completely cleared a small shelf behind our bed, where we had a few books and other bits and pieces, in order to foil her. All that was left was one small loudspeaker (not working). This morning, she knocked that down. It knocked over a lamp. And there are plenty of other shelves or surfaces in the room with things she could knock down.
Cats - I thought - are supposed to sleep for about 18 hours out of every 24. I'm sure the other three do. But Sophia appears to be wide awake and active for about 18 hours a day... or night. Since Daniel isn't here this year, we're the ones who have to deal with it.
The only solution, it appears, is to go to bed about 9pm, so I've had my eight hours by the time Sophia wakes me up. That's what I shall do tonight, anyway.
As the saying goes, dogs have masters and cats have servants.