I think I may be in big trouble. When I was a tiny kitten, I got separated from the rest of my family. Some humans found me and took me to this place to live with a bunch of other kittens and young cats. It was fun! All I had to do was play all day with my friends, and occasionally humans I didn’t know would come over and play with me too. Eventually one of these strangers took me home. I thought we were going to be great pals and I had lots of fun stalking this human and attacking him. I even learned how to ambush him from above by balancing on top of a door and jumping! But then he started to get mad at me and it seemed like he was always yelling at me whenever I tried to play. Then one day he shoved me in a big plastic box and took me back to my old home. He told the humans there I was “crazy” and “unmanageable.” I was hurt by that, but at least I was back with my old kitty friends — and some new ones too.
Well, a couple of weeks later, another human decided to take me home with her. I thought maybe she would be more fun than the other human, but she doesn’t seem to like my games either. In fact, once when I was ambushing her, I jumped on her a little too hard and drew blood — and she began crying! I felt really bad about that and tried purring to make her feel better. Maybe it worked because she said it was okay, and “it wasn’t my fault.” But I still can’t get her to enjoy my stalking and attack games, and I’m worried she will take me back to my old home too. I’m starting to feel like there is something wrong with me. Or is it the humans that are wrong?
There is nothing wrong with you at all. You are a very normal, hyperactive teenage kitten! And I will be polite and say it’s not so much that the humans are wrong as they are ignorant. Hm. I thought I was being polite, even if it didn’t come out quite that way. And since ignorance can be teachable, maybe that is the politest way to put it.
Humans always think they want kittens because they are cute and fun and playful — and then they get upset because these cute, fun kittens play rough! And most humans don’t realize there are right ways and wrong ways to play with kittens like you, who are especially bright, imaginative and active. When you are with other kittens and young cats, you learn boundaries and limits because your friends tell you in no uncertain terms when you have gone too far. Humans, with their furless appendages, are more fragile and when you get too excited and land a few scratches on an arm or an ankle, they tend to complain and call you “crazy.” Smarter humans will play with you using toys on strings, or balls or nip mice they can throw for you to chase — any sort of play that does not involve them using their hands and fingers to interact with you. Humans are supposed to know that hands are for petting and feeding, not for playing — and they also should make time to pull out toys and play with you daily.
Now, what to do with your present human? The best thing to do is to take out your excess energy on other things and not on her. When I was a kitten, I used to beat up the blankets and bedspread regularly. Doing sprints around the house is a good idea too. Play with things that aren’t attached to your human, and at least you won’t injure her. It sounds to me like she likes you, and perhaps she is teachable, but you know what? If she packs you up and hauls you back to your old home, it is not the end of the world. You have lots of friends there — and if any of the humans in charge there are savvy, maybe instead of taking you back, they will convince your human to adopt a friend for you — because having a buddy to mess around with would be the best way for you to burn off all your energy, and have lots of fun doing it.
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