I think my human brought me home from the shelter with good intentions, but things started going downhill between us pretty quickly. See, the problem is she is never here. She goes away early in the morning and doesn’t come back until the evening. She does this most days, so I have to figure out ways to entertain myself… except that everything I do seems to upset her. Take today, for example. I ate most of my breakfast, but I wasn’t hungry anymore, so I knocked the dish over and batted the kibble around the kitchen floor. That was fun and I was sliding back and forth, but I accidentally knocked my water dish over while I was playing. I was hungry later, so I jumped on the kitchen counter to see if there was anything good there… and I’m afraid I knocked a couple of dishes onto the floor, and they shattered. That spooked me so I wound up knocking over a couple more things in my mad dash to hide under the bed. Then after I calmed down, I jumped on the dining room table and crawled under one of the placemats for a good, long nap. That’s where my human found me when she came home, and boy, was she mad! She said I made a “big mess,” and I should not have been on the kitchen counter or furring up the placemats. In fact, she called me the “worst cat ever!” This sort of scene happens all the time between the two of us. I am beginning to think she does not like me. Is there some way I can salvage this relationship?
BEST Cat, Not Worst Cat!
Dear BEST Cat,
You do not sound like a bad cat to me at all. You sound like a bored cat, and it’s your human who is the “worst human ever” for doing nothing to cure your boredom, and then getting mad at your attempts to entertain yourself. We kitties are actually very good at finding fun things to do, but unfortunately humans call it “trouble.” If they want to avoid that, they need to find ways to give us a good time while they are out of the house doing whatever it is they do all day (I am assuming yours is doing that thing called “work” that they all hate, but spend most of their time doing anyhow). It’s almost a sure bet that you don’t have any toys or cat trees, and I bet you don’t even have a good window perch so you can see all the goings-on outside. When your human brought you home from the shelter, she should have invested in all of that, and more. In fact, a cat tree, window perch and a variety of toys should have been waiting for you the moment you came in the door. Plus, no matter how tired your human is when she walks in the door from a long day of doing whatever it is she does, she should spend some quality time playing with you and your favorite toys. Considering your penchant for batting around kibble, I’d say at the very least start with small, lightweight mice or plastic rings, or perhaps one of those round plastic or rubber toys that dispense treats when whapped just the right way. And of course, a variety of scratchers, and that all-important window perch. She doesn’t even have to actually buy a perch — she can just place some furniture next to a window for you to sit on. If you had all this, you would not have time to be “bad” or cause what humans refer to as “trouble.”
If your human has not figured out this solution on her own by now, you may have to show her this column yourself. And if she is worth anything as a cat person, she will feel like a very bad human for not realizing how unhappy you were, and immediately go out and get you everything you need to be a happy, good kitty.