Part III – I Was Born on an Amish Farm in the Middle of Winter

DSC_0225For part I:   https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/13/i-was-born-in-the-middle-of-winter/
Part II: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/20/part-ii-i-was-born-on-an-amish-farm-in-the-middle-of-winter/

I do not understand why Gracie doesn’t want to play.  She runs from me, and when I tackle and bite her, she doesn’t reciprocate.  She just hisses and yells.  I suspect she needs training on how to play, so I do it again and again.  I keep waiting for her to clobber me, but she never does.  Mostly she skulks around trying to avoid me, looking left and right before exiting a room.  My surprise attack is one of my favorites, but she doesn’tDSC_0219 seem to like it.  Her lack of playfulness makes no sense to me.  I overheard my people say that I have no skill in alternate perspective taking.

DSC_0348Eventually, I get bored with Gracie—there’s only so much enjoyment one can derive from being hissed at.  I turn my attention to my people, swatting them as they go by my perch and occasionally chewing on them if I’m more rambunctious than usual.  I mean it in the nicest possible way, of course, and I keep my claws sheathed, but they don’t seem to like this.  What’s wrong with them?  Over time they’ve started referring to me as Bothersome Bean instead of Mr. Bean.

There is one game my people and I have enjoyed: fetch.  It originally went like this: they threw a toy for me, I chased it, I dropped it, they walked over, sighed, picked it up, and threw it for me again.  This game had minimal appeal to me because it was always on their terms (strict) and their timetables (limited) and, sadly, they became bored with it quickly.  I changed up the game, and they seem to have caught on: I bring them a toy—pop-off milk carton rings are best (and they smell of fragrant milk and remind me of my early youth)—they throw it, I chase it and bring it back to them, and they throw it again.  They’re able to do this even when they’re busy doing other things—and they are always busy doing, doing, doing—so this suits me perfectly.DSC_0096 - Version 3

I can happily play fetch for 20 minutes at a stretch, panting all the while.  I’ve heard my people complain that this does not seem to tire me out, and they also complain about “my behavior” in general.  They think there might be something wrong with me—as if biting Gracie were an issue.  They know nothing.  Still, they’ve tried many, many things with me: admonishing me, ignoring me, distracting me, and implementing ideas various people have suggested.  Nothing works because there is nothing wrong with me; it’s they who are the issue.  They just don’t understand.  Even the Jackson Galaxy (My Cat from Hell, on Animal Planet) website jingle tries to tell them.  It goes like this:  “You’re a bad cat.  I’m not a bad cat.  You’re a bad cat.  I’m not a bad cat.  You’re a bad cat.  I’m not a bad cat. . . I’m just misunderstood.”

I know this: although I am Bothersome Bean to them and to sweet Gracie, I know I am essentially good, and I trust that I have found my forever home with them.  They said so.

to be continued…
Part IV: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/10/04/part-iv-in-the-middle-of-winter/

Do you have ideas on how to gently stop kittens and cats from biting?  Please share them with us—via our contact page or untoldanimalstories@gmail.com  Thank you!

Part II – I Was Born on an Amish Farm in the Middle of Winter

DSC_0131For part 1:   https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/13/i-was-born-in-the-middle-of-winter/

The man and woman said thank you to the people, talked to me kindly, and we left.  As we moved along, I saw a flash of gray fur streak across the field and into the barn.  My brother.

They took me to a family who adopted me.  There were new smells and places to investigate, and two kids who cooed, named me Mr. Bean, and almost never put me down.  Best of all, there was another cat, Gracie.  She looked like a paler version of my mother.  I walked over to her, excited to have her company.  She pulled herself up to her full height, narrowed her eyes at me, and took a few aimless swipes.  The people scolded her, scooped me up, and held me.  They commented on how sweet and docile I was.mr. bean 1-27-13

I divided my time between being held, trying to make friends with DSC_0174Gracie, eating, and sleeping.  I slept a lot because even though I was happy and warm, I didn’t feel all that well.

The vet came to the house and sat on the floor with me, prodding and poking me, which I did not appreciate.  She told my people I had worms and gave me foul-tasting pills.

One morning I woke up and felt different.  The sun came blazing in the window and my body felt alive, so I tore around the house like a maniac.  Gracie took to high ground.  I paused, mid-stride.  It occurred to me that she was a wonderful, large target….DSCN2609

to be continued
For Part III: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/27/part-iii-i-was-born-on-an-amish-farm-in-the-middle-of-winter/

Part I – I Was Born on an Amish Farm in the Middle of Winter

Mr. BeanI was born on an Amish farm in the middle of winter.  I divided my time during my first six weeks between playing with my siblings and nursing when I could.

Sometimes my mother wasn’t around, and the six of us youngsters pushed each other aside to drink the trickle of cow’s milk that dripped down from the metal pipes carrying it away from the cows, away from us.  There wasn’t much milk, but it at least sometimes it quenched our thirst.

One day an older cat wanted the milk I was lapping from the pipes.  He rushed toward me and I lost my footing and fell.  I—with all of my 3 pounds—jumped on his back, expecting him to tussle playfully like my brothers and sisters.  He had other ideas, though, and bit off a chunk of my ear.  I learned to be wary.

Over time my stomach became swollen and filled with worms.  I was always hungry, and I became sickly and quiet.  The barn was icy cold, and the wind crept through the cracks.

One winter day a man and woman came to the farm.  They looked different from the people I had known—no long skirt, no hat.  They spoke with the farmer.  The farmer’s little boys found me and delivered me to them.  The woman told the boys that the kitten was going live in a house.  The boys, wide-eyed, said, “Nooo!”  “Yes,” she said laughing, “and the kitten is going sleep on a bed.”  “Noooo,” they said, and squinted at her as if she might be crazy.

To be continued
For Part II: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/20/part-ii-i-was-born-on-an-amish-farm-in-the-middle-of-winter/