Like ants to syrup, there’s something about clean sheets, blankets, and freshly made beds that seem to attract dogs and cats. I have lots of experience with this behavior. I remember a fun time I had years ago with my two senior cats, Desdemona and C.D. The girls used to love it when I folded bedsheets. They came to watch, crawl under them as they dangled to the floor, and, most of all, ride on them.
Desi and C.D. would sit or lie down on a sheet, and I pulled them across a room. I remember how big their eyes would get as they tried to hold on with their legs spread out. Sometimes, C.D. would walk on the sheet like a treadmill as I pulled it.
Today, when I start stripping blankets and sheets from my queen-size bed, my three cats come from unknown places to watch and hop onto the bare mattress. Trucker, my 60-pound dog, also likes to join in on the fun. Four furry bodies on the mattress make it laughably challenging to try to turn it. I no sooner dump one cat onto the floor that another cat is sliding between the mattress and box spring, ready to be sandwiched like cream filling in a cookie.
My cat, Forest, can be rooms away and hear me folding a sheet. He comes running and grabs onto the sheet when it touches the floor, holding it with the claws of his front paws. He lies motionless under the sheet using it as a tent. I leave the sheet draped over him in a pile so he can hide for a while.
Sometimes I get sidetracked while making my bed and I leave the fitted sheet exposed. It never fails that when I return I find at least two cats and Trucker sprawled out on the sheet. One night I stepped away for mere seconds and returned to find Forest at one end of the bed, Trucker in the middle, and my big cat, Jack, at the other end. I didn’t have the heart to move them.
Another time I found Forest lying solo at the head end of my bed on the fitted sheet. He was partially upside down, snoring. I took his picture that I titled “Little Man on Big Bed.” In it, Forest looks dwarfed by the big bed, which was covered with a hunter-green-colored sheet.
Applying the top sheet and blankets is yet another challenge, because my cats like to slither between the layers and crawl around like they are on a hunt. I dread when my female cat, Joan, gets trapped between the layers with one of the boys. They sneak after her like a snake through tall grass and scare her into a growling, meowing fit.
Then there is the infatuation with one cat hiding under the bed sheet while another watches on top and pounces on them through the sheet. I have a friend who said that while she makes a bed, her cat likes to dive under the top sheet, instantly roll onto his back and stick all four feet up in the air holding onto the top sheet with its claws.
Trucker likes to burrow under blankets and sheets, too. I love to drive him crazy by tickling his nose through the sheet, hearing him grunt, snort, and sneeze.
Shortly after I adopted Trucker at age five, I started taking pictures of him with his many blankets. Though I’ve purchased and given him multiple fleece throw blankets, and surrendered my old blankets to him, Trucker still prefers sleeping on my bed.
Nearly every night when I step into my bedroom, Trucker has already pulled back my sheet and blanket from the head of the bed by raking it with his front feet. He usually has positioned himself on the sheet, curled up like a fawn.
My biggest mistake is stepping out of the bedroom after placing new sheets on the bed and fresh covers on the pillows, and pulling my blanket back so I can slide into bed. I inevitably come back to find Trucker lying on the sheet where I should be, with his head cradled in one of my pillows. I feel bad about moving him, so I leave him be. I slide into the bed from the other side and sleep peacefully beside him.
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About Tracy Ahrens: A modern-day Tasha Tudor with a pen as an eleventh phalanx, Tracy is a magnet for small children and creatures, along with strange mishaps and writing errors in need of correcting. Her mind is akin to a 24-hour bustling liquor store and prone to late-night inspiration. She’s most happy planting or pruning something, drinking tea, throwing a tomahawk, drawing or napping. Her obsessive compulsions include planting a peck on each of her pets’ heads before leaving home and brushing/flossing her teeth before bed. Add her book, “Raising My Furry Children,” to your collection.
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