Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time- Cat Got Your Back?


I couldn’t move.

A dead weight held me immobile and refused to let me out of a supine position. I wriggled, desperate to break free. Though I could shift my own weight from side to side, I could not dislodge the mass that imprisoned me.

I poked my husband Brian in the ribs.

“Would you get the cat off my leg?” I asked him. “I can’t get out of bed.”

“He’s eight pounds,” my pre-coffee husband grumbled.

“Yeah, but watch.”

Brian sat up, annoyed but cooperative.

I shifted my left leg rapidly from side to side. Seti, who was plastered to my thigh, hunkered lower. His center of gravity shifted with mine. We moved as one despite my best efforts to render us two.

“If he gets any closer to me, we’re going to fuse at the molecular level,” I said. “He’s like a cat-shaped tumor.”

Brian reached across me and shoved at the cat. The little black feline didn’t budge. I tried bouncing up and down. The only emotion Seti betrayed was the slightest flick of his tail.

“It’s like gravity works differently,” Brian said half in awe, half in jest.

Driven by the need we all have upon first rising in the mornings, a certain growing pressure was making me desperate.

With a mighty heave, I shoved my hand under the cat’s belly. (It was harder than you might think since we were nearly fused.)

Seti stood abruptly, jumped off the bed and shot a feline curse word my direction. Years of living with cats has rendered me immune to their snarky vocabulary.

I turned on my side and tried to rise. A sudden, sharp stab in my low back made me gasp in pain.

“What’s wrong?” Brian moved toward me in alarm.

“Something touched a nerve in my low back,” I interrupted myself with a sudden new horror. “Oh, God! No, no, no!”

“What?” Brian was more alarmed.

“I’m going to sneeze!”

I could feel the sneeze building. When it arrived, it would rush to my low back and leap on the errant nerve with golf cleats. I figured that if I was lucky, I had just enough time to die before the sneeze impaled me.

I pinched my nose and the sneeze subsided. Relief on behalf of my back mingled with annoyance at an unsatisfied sneeze.

Cranky, I gingerly tried to rise, and found that though cat-free, I was still unable to stand.

I sighed.

“What now?” Brian asked.

“I finally got the oppressive little cat off me, and thanks to my back, I still can’t move,” I told him.

He grinned. “You went from having a dead weight to being a dead weight?”

I swore my best feline swear word.

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at or contact her at