“Kittens believe that all Nature is occupied with their diversion.” ~ F.A. Paradis
And therein lies the problem. To inflict a kitten upon a grown cat is like asking a monk to share a cell with an over-active five year old. Neither creature benefits from the enforced togetherness. My neighbour Sharky is a case in point. In a previous blog post, I told you a little bit about my gingery friend’s Great Trial. The humans in his household decided to adopt a kitten and this has been a source of much angst for Sharky. Since he is, as yet, the only cat with whom I can have a decent conversation, I felt a certain measure of concern upon first hearing about his dilemma. You may ask why a cat such as myself would care about this. Logical answer: it is a feline rights issue. Slightly selfish answer: Sharky is good company.
Sadly, he hasn’t been out and about in the neighbourhood much since the troubles began, but I did run across him recently whilst investigating certain intriguing scents in our mutual back alley. It was trash collection day and you never know what treasures a cat may discover with a little judicious poking and prodding at improperly closed garbage bins. I was finishing my rounds without having found much of interest when I noticed a flash of movement behind the shed next to my house. Creeping cautiously nearer, I peered around the edge of the structure to see Sharky delicately pawing at a carcass of fish bones. He sensed my presence and froze. I sat patiently and waited until he realized I was friend rather than foe. With a certain telling flick of his tail, Sharky beckoned me closer. “Hello, Cato. Want some of this?”
After we’d polished off the remaining morsels of fish, we tucked our paws beneath us and settled in for a little chat. I enquired about his situation with the kitten, who he calls “Rat Tail”. I am quite sure that isn’t her real name, but Sharky tends to be vague about such things. He told me a sad story of harassment and benign neglect. Naturally I commiserated, but what else could I do about his situation? And then he dropped a wonderful bombshell into the conversation. He has learned to use a computer! Ariane leaves her laptop running when she goes out for the day and Sharky, having heard me talking about my own virtual adventures, has figured out how to use it. Oh, joy! Now we can communicate via the World Wide Web.
It seems that Sharky has been keeping a personal journal, which he stores on-line somewhere, out of the reach of Ariane’s prying eyes. I expressed my fervent interest in reading it and, if he was amenable, including some of it in my blog today. His tail trembled with excitement at the thought. So he memorized my e-mail address and has sent me some diary excerpts. I will warn you that they are a bit morose in tone, but surely this is understandable, considering Sharky’s unfortunate situation.
Our hope is that humans who read this blog will gain a better understanding of their feline companions and treat them with more sensitivity.
Without further ado, I present Sharky’s On-line Journal. For human interest, I have added some photos that Sharky found on his provider’s computer.
Recent entries from the journal of Sharky during the Civil War of 2012:
Day 3: Stupid Rat Tail is in my litter box again. I can never catch her in the act. I know, though. This wasteland smells of death. [Editorial note from Cato: I did warn you about the tone of these writings.]
Day 8: Woke up again. Felt something batting my tail. WHEN WILL THIS HORROR END? The humans do not seem to notice. I know she is up to something.
Day 11: There are feces on my chair. The skinny human has cleaned it, but I know it is still there. I haven’t had a restful sleep in hours. Rat Tail has somehow managed to gain access to my upstairs sanctuary. I hope the climb down proves too difficult, bringing an end to this pain.
Day 15: I gained access to the main floor today. The smelly one seems to be trapped in a room. I am no hero and I fear she may get out and attack me. I am still much quicker on the ladder, but I do not know for how much longer. She is so spry. If only I had trained harder during my kitten years.
Day 16: Wet food was left for me and most of it was gone before I could reach it. I believe she is trying to starve me. I do not know what I have done to deserve this. I was as fluffy as I could be! And yet this intruder is here. This is my life now. I still have the roof as a safe area, but I don’t know for how much longer. There are reflective sheets over the access points. I am cunning enough to get past them. Luckily, the kitten is not. Again…for how much longer? I don’t know.
Day 20: It seems the bearded one and Ariane are gone. I have not seen them for over a day. They may have been here when I was asleep, though I do not sleep well any more. I keep waking, startled. I can hear Rat Tail. She is just at the bottom of the stairs. It seems nowhere is safe from her. I am heading back out to the roof. I will clear my head and work on an attack strategy.
Day 22: I finally attacked her! It was a short attack; two quick jabs to the head. I kept claws in, hoping not to anger the beast too much. Such ferocity! She seems to come from nowhere. She is dark in colour and I believe she must be made of smoke. However, when my paw connected with her head she did feel dense. I will have to continue to work on a better attack strategy with this new information.
Day 26: The bearded one and Ariane are back. I was sleeping, but I heard them come in through the door. Why did they leave me here for so long with no way to open the door and gain access to the outside world? The Rat Tail does not seem to be comfortable leaving the house. She was in my litter tray again. There was litter everywhere. I don’t know why she has to hate me so much and disrespect my space. I may set a trap in the litter for her. I found some things that resembled tools. They appear to be made for the humans. How I hate not having thumbs…
And that is Sharky’s Tail Of Woe. There is a flicker of hope that things may start to improve. I think that the photo below hints at an ever-so-slight thawing of relations. Sharky sees it more as an armed truce. Only time will tell. One day, my friend may look back upon these days and smile. As one amusing human once said, “Time heals all wounds, unless you pick at them.” (Shawn Alexander)
Photo attributions (Creative Commons): Kitten peeking around corner – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinlin1013/3469918524/ Fish bone graphic – http://www.flickr.com/photos/estherase/21963160/