Misdiagnosis: The Trials and Tribulations of Kittenhood
The humans call me Tigger, but I’m a girl and not particularly bouncy. My first human charge – the one who named me – eventually left with some man named Purple for someplace called New Zealand. She was a bit of a hypochondriac and had me in and out of hospitals throughout my childhood. She thought I suffered from seizures, but I merely acted like a normal kitten. Anyone who knows kittens knows they move at the speed of light with the grace of a drunken lumberjack. Anyway, I tried to explain to her that the stuff made me feel weird. I’d hang my head over boxes, open suitcases, the backs of chairs and bar stools anything to choke myself and show her I needed relief from the groggy fogginess of my mind. I got high to counteract the side effects, yet she kept giving me that garbage.
At around three years old, I moved in with my current family. I’d had enough of the cruel cat that treated me like I was a freak, anyway. At that time, I only had to oversee a kitten, a dog and a woman. The dog, Carson, didn’t bother me, though he didn’t keep my litter box clean like the dog I lived with previously. The kitten, Rita, made me uncomfortable because she acted suspiciously nice. She tried hard to befriend me from the start, resting by my transporter until I finally had to venture out for food and water. At first, we all lived in an apartment and I hated it! I needed to feel the ground under my feet and the sun on my belly.
While I had my complaints about apartment dwelling, this human was skeptical of my medication use and stopped feeding me that poison. I still liked to alter my mind occasionally by cutting off my air intake but not nearly as much as I did on the meds. Back then it wasn’t for fun: it was a necessity.
Finally, we moved to a house with a yard and I could get some proper outdoor time. Feeling grounded is crucial to my well-being. Since then, our family has grown to include a man and another dog, Duchess. I actually don’t mind Duchess because she appreciates the great outdoors like I do. We both get in trouble for lying on the grass, but it’s totally worth it. The man says I kill the grass, but that just makes for a pleasant dirt nest where I can enjoy my naps. And I can always move to another patch of green if I need to feel the cool earth on my tummy.
My Thankless Reign
I have a great deal to worry about, and I do my best to communicate my needs as well as those of my four-legged companions. Humans can be a challenge to train, but with diligence, patience and a few well-planned leg chomps they eventually can learn a few simple skills. When I notice the water source getting low, I scratch on the shower door. I never drink in the bathroom but I know water comes out of the wall in that glass box. My human cleans me in there on occasion. I gripe about it, but feel so much better after my poo spot is clean that I tolerate the ritual. I also know where the humans get their food, and when my bowl or the dogs’ dish looks empty (and by empty I mean dangerously, starvation-inducing low) I open the cupboard doors and slam them as loud as possible. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, because one of us might get hungry! And if the dogs don’t have food, they might eat mine and dog slobber is just plain gross… unless they’re cleaning my bum which, from my experience, is primarily why dogs exist.
And speaking of existence, I’m not particularly sure of Rita’s purpose. She exacerbates me to no end. When I first overtook this household I attempted to teach her how to growl. She could barely muster an annoying little hum, and only when she had one of those stupid fake mice in her mouth. Eventually, she gave up. But she still tries to do this thing called ‘play’ with me. I whack her in the face, but she comes back for more. She even jumps on me and pins me down, though I have to admit she doesn’t use her claws. I don’t think that sissy knows how to use them. Well, I’m not about to show her.
And she gets special treatment because she has a sweet little voice that she’s not afraid to use. It’s just not fair. I work so hard at my thankless job keeping everyone well-fed and hydrated. I can’t help that I’m more rotund and smelly than the rest of the household. Those drugs I did in my younger years messed up my metabolism. I wish my humans would send me back to the salon! I felt so fresh and beautiful afterwards and even Rita didn’t bug me for a bit after that. Lord, how I prefer that over that torture chamber called a shower.
But I digress.
Back to training humans, I have a few more pointers. For one, I’ve learned to be more gentle with the little ones, as they tend to wail and carry on if you nip them too hard. I give them plenty of warning before I actually punish them. Sometimes, they deserve it. But sometimes, the sound of their laughter amuses me, even at my expense. Plus I enjoy a good party and don’t want to get shunned by something as foolish as a human kitten. The parties occasionally include fires, which I love to gaze into and recall my previous lives.
Again, with the digression! Blasted drugs. Humans also need a reminder if the house gets a little dirty. I help them by taking the cleaning supplies out of the cupboard, and occasionally the fire extinguisher. To emphasize the dire straits of my home, I shred a few paper towels. I also have a secret technique if my litter box needs cleaning. I offend myself with this, but sometimes I have to go to drastic measures. Ahem, I leave them a poo in the bathroom to let them know. Just a little, just to get my point across. Rita’s tactic is more discreet and doesn’t work nearly as well as my way. She puts dryer sheets in our toilet – helps with the smell but certainly not with the obvious.
I can’t tell you how much she bugs me! She gets right in my face when I’m trying to eat. Doesn’t say a word, but I can hear her judging. So I like to smack her once in awhile if she gets too close for comfort. Swatting her silly little face gives me great joy. It’s good to be the matriarch, even if it means keeping everyone in line during the never-ending two hours I spend awake each day. I just know the queendom would crumble without my reign.
As my human read her perception of my perspective to the man, I sat with my back to her, ears cocked in her direction. I rarely enter her study, but made an exception because I heard my name in an interesting tone. Some things, I’ll say she’s spot on. Other things: utterly clueless. For instance, Rita’s not so bad. Especially since I stole her place on the human bed that night and she didn’t complain one bit.