Here at the Institute we have noticed a regular pattern of rest breaks, often referred to in our scientific community as catnaps. Our study subjects work hard at the Institute’s office as they midwife the printer, secure papers in the in/out boxes, and make sure the penholder mug is not overly crowded with pens. They earn their timeouts.
Over an observation period of three weeks we have categorized these important catnaps:
11:00 pm-6:00 am The Sandbag Naps
This long series of naps occurs when the Directors of the Institute take their own long period of sleep. Because the Directors are warm and cushy, the study subjects take a series of long naps on and around their sprawling bodies, essentially sandbagging them in, unable to move until a kitty readjusts its position, whereupon the whole herd mills about to more comfortable positions. Kitties can sense when their sleeping platforms are experiencing REM sleep, that being a signal that it is time to find a more comfortable spot.
6:00 am – 6:30 am Kitty Cat Hovering (The subjects must frequently remind the Directors that breakfast time is nigh. Kneading a full bladder works better than nursing an earlobe.)
6:30 am – 7:00 am Kitty Cat Breakfast (a frenzy of activity)
7:00 am – 7:30 am Post Breakfast Nap
Eating breakfast takes a lot of energy as each study subject vies for the most tasty morsel. The nap after eating is usually a short one because the kitties have work to do.
7:30 – 8:30 Kitty Cat Recreation (while the Directors make themselves presentable)
Kitties enjoy doing chores around the Institute that give them a good workout–opening the linen cabinet doors to refold towels, edging the books in the bookcase, digging facial tissues out of the box, rearranging the fresh carnations in the vase. This is their most productive time of the day.
8:30 – 9:30 Mid Morning Nap
You can imagine, after all that work, how tired the study subjects must be. This is a deeply refreshing nap, often taken on laps as the Directors read their newspapers.
9:30 – 10:00 Exercising the Directors
The kitties realize that the scientists at the Institute need to get more exercise, so they drop a favorite toy into their laps and play an earnest game of fetch-the-toy. The fetch exercise can go on for well over 20 rounds until the tired Directors switch to follow-the-string or watch-it-fall.
10:00 am – Noon Late Morning Nap
This is a long nap to regain the energy lost in exercising the Directors.
Noon – 12:30 pm Mid Day Snack
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Post Snack Nap
The subjects sleep seriously at this time because they know they have a heavy work session ahead.
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Office Management
The kitties become office clerks doing such tasks as digging out unneeded papers in open drawers, sorting through the trash and retrieving fetchable paperwads, hole-punching the papers emerging from the printer, and rearranging the stacks on the desks. Erasers are chewed and pens are exported into other rooms where they might be needed.
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Office Break Nap
The kitties are exhausted by this time and collapse on the office sofa, desks, in-basket, or floor for a well-earned break. Unfortunately, the printer too often jars them awake, making this nap the least restful of all naps.
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Continuation of Office Management
The kitties don’t get a lot done during this time and often lie on the Director of Input’s lap or in front of her computer, expecting a good brushing.
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Dusting the Institute
At this time the Directors are often away at the post office or pet store. The study subjects make dusting the surfaces of the Institute fun by racing from floor to table surface to cabinet surface chasing each other. Their speed escalates until they skid across and bowl over obstructions in their path. Many a vase and cookie jar has met its end during the dusting chores. The Directors are better now at remembering not to place barriers in the way of the Indy 500 Dusting Marathon, but occasionally they slip up and things slip down.
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Late Afternoon Nap
While the Directors pick up objects displaced by their hardworking study subjects and sit down to check their stock closings, the kitties take a nice long break from toil.
6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Kitty Cat Dinner
Director of Input needs to be reminded that the priority dinner of the day needs to be served. Like in a restaurant, this is often called the first seating. To get her attention, kitties usually stand in front of the computer screen, nibble on papers and pens, and scratch the office sofa. Plaintive meowing also works.
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Post Dinner Nap
While the study subjects rest, the Director of Input and the Director of Output dine in the second seating of the evening.
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Play and Grooming Sessions
Finally, the study subjects get to play full force during this hour. While some explore their cardboard box fort to find catnip toys and do battle with each other, others get a thorough brushing, leg and back massages, and trimming of nails and dingle berries.
9:00 pm – 10:00 pm Late Evening Nap
During this period, the Directors take the opportunity to read in peace, with kitty cats in laps and on arm and backrests.
10:00 pm – 10:30 pm Treat and Playtime
For a last bit of exercise, the Directors throw healthy treats to their study subjects who run down the tiled hallway to devour them and quickly look back for more to be thrown their way. Then they entertain themselves in a papersack or in their box fort.
10:30 pm – 11:00 pm Bedtime Reminders
As you can imagine, the kitties are getting extremely tired from their long day and are eager for bedtime. They do not let the Directors forget that they need cushy platforms and warmth for their long night of sleep. Reminders consist of wailing loud enough for the neighbors to hear and walking on the computer keyboard.
And so goes the categorization of naps. I have not mentioned the many five-minute naps that occur during the day. These will be covered in another post.