But 5 AM is the Hour of the Ninja, and Benjamin T. Cat* is ever vigilant.
First he has to check the studio table, and make sure no ninjas are hiding behind paintbrushes, jars of medium, or tubes of paint. Ninjas can fit in astonishingly small spaces. Knocking them off the table is the best way to make sure.
Groggy unhappy noises come from the bed. Ben leaps up to investigate that his human is not currently under ninja attack. This is best achieved by sitting on the human's chest.
"...nngggh...get off, you bastard....zzzz..."
Pleased that his human has survived the ninja apocalypse, Ben purrs. But the price of freedom is eternal vigilance! Ninjas could be hiding under the blankets, just waiting! Best to make sure by pacing across the bed a few times.
The bed is safe. Ben leaps down and investigates several boxes under the studio table. They were clean yesterday, and the day before, but the ninjas are probably trying to lure him into a false sense of security. Better root through them, just in case.
"...I kill you dead..."
Boxes secured, there's a suspicious plastic bag that the human brought home yesterday. Prime ninja breeding ground! Everyone knows ninjas love plastic! Ben leaps to the attack, crinkling the bag loudly. No ninjas will breed here today.
"...for the love of God, Ben, it's five AM..."
Ben leaps to the nightstand and rubs his cheek against the lampshade. It's a Tiffany lampshade, so it goes "Clunk...clunk...clunk..." and provides a satisfying surface to leave a nice scent mark so the ninjas know this is HIS territory. Ninjas have no respect for property rights, but still, Ben doesn't have to sink to their level. He rubs the other cheek. Clunk.
"...Five more minutes, Ben. Please."
Satisfied that the Hour of the Ninja has passed, and he has done his duty, Ben sits back on his haunches and vents his wild miaow, as a warning to the ninjas, wherever they may hide.
And what's this? His human is getting up to feed him? Glory be! Pleased with recognition of an awesome task well done, Ben weaves around his human's ankles all the way to the food dish. Life is good.
*James named him this. I found them facing off over the butter dish on day, with James yelling "Benjamin T. Cat, get DOWN!"
"What's the T stand for?" I asked.
It's stuck ever since.