Published in the Rains County Leader on March 15, 2016:
Kitty has spent most of the week reestablishing her dominance of the Brendle household. Several weeks ago, while we were still house sitting, I mentioned that she was in the metaphorical dog house after using her claws on the passenger door of our Pontiac. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of her mischief. One day when she was particularly bored, she amused herself by clawing the weather stripping on the doorway from the garage into the house and chewing on the corners of a small wooden bench. I later found out that the chewed corners were Spike’s work, Spike being the resident canine, but she left enough of a mark to require drastic measures to prevent more damage.
After her lapse in good behavior, Kitty came into town with us when I went to work or when we went to lunch at the Senior Center. We dropped her off at our house where she spent the day in the laundry room, also known as The Dungeon. Granted, The Dungeon isn’t exactly spacious, but at least she had room to stretch her legs. As an added bonus, she could empty the shelves when she wasn’t napping. We picked her up on our way back to The Ranch where she spent her unsupervised time in the garage in her pet carrier.
Other than the peace of mind of knowing she wasn’t destroying someone else’s house, this arrangement yielded another advantage for David and me. Kitty endured her incarceration without protest, and when we visited her, she was a completely different animal. When she was released from her carrier, instead of exhibiting her usual good-natured combativeness, she was docile and seemed to enjoy several minutes of petting. There were times when she even allowed me to draw her onto my lap, and sometimes she let me pick her up without protest.
All that changed as soon as we returned home. Once she was released into the house at large, it became Fast & Furious time as she raced from one end of the house to the other, again and again. She is one cat who weighs ten to twelve pounds, but she sounds like a herd of buffalo stampeding across the carpet and tile. Once she slowed down a bit, she began to reacquaint herself with the toys we didn’t take with us. She has fallen in love again with the stuffed fish with the feathered tail, carrying it around in her mouth with the pole trailing along behind. The one thing she has totally ignored is her scratching post, choosing instead to sharpen her claws on the carpet and the furniture.
The most disappointing part of her return into polite society is the reemergence of the teeth and claws. When I let her out of the laundry room in the morning, she still purrs and rubs against my ankles, but when I lean down to pet her, she allows only a stroke or two before she grabs my hand with her paw or nips at a finger or two. I know that she just wants to play, but it feels like she’s sending me a message similar to one David saw on Facebook this week. A picture of a tiger had the following caption: I really like it when you pet me, but I still kinda want to eat you.
I understand from other friends who are owned by cats that this is par for the course. I can only hope that, with time and maturity, Kitty will mellow a bit, becoming more of Dr. Jekyll and less of Mr. Hyde.