Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This post is about a cat.

Comparing your child to an animal is something only the most ill- mannered parent would do. So I won't. This post is about our cat, Bindi.

Bindi was approximately 2 years old when she came to live with us, about 18 months ago. Nothing was known about her first year of life except that she was picked up as a pregnant stray. She spent some time in a foster home, had her babies, then was moved to an animal shelter where she stayed in a cage. She was fed and cared for, but not really cared about. Cats were rotated out to stretch and jump around, sometimes "handled".  I have no idea how often.

When she came to live with us, she stayed in her own small area at first. Mostly she hid for a few days, and when she moved around it was behind, under or in furniture, and only along a wall. A year and a half later, we've all gotten to know each other. Things she does, little quirks and big quirks, began to look familiar. Is "shockingly" a word? Shockingly familiar.

Per the listed requirements for residence in the Midwest, I have a big-ass recliner to watch TV from. Bindi loves to lounge on it with me, but only across the top part of the back. Possibly she feels safer being above me so if I decided to do something stupid, she would have the advantage. Anyway, once a month-ish, I pull her down and lay her across me. Her purr sounds like a diesel engine with these cute little high pitched hiccoughs interspersed. She squishes around to settle in and lets me scratch her head/neck/ears. I get 5 minutes, give or take 30 seconds, and She. Is. Done. She scrambles onto her feet and jumps over to the couch where she flops down out of my reach and out of my sight. She never returns to her perch above me until the next day.

Why does she jump away? I've shown her I'm safe and reliable, not prone to startling movements!

She wants to be petted. Only when she wants to be, is a person allowed. She lets us know she wants attention by dramatically hurling herself across the area you were about to walk over. She's a talker, so she writhes around chirping her little sounds, trying to look cute while completely blocking you from anything else. Pet her, rub her chin, and she bites you when she's had enough. Ouch. If you are not a smart person (don't ask how I know this detail) and keep trying to pet her anyway (since she is still purring like a Harley Davidson) she will remind you with a swift slash of claw. Human skin is soft.

Why would she hurt me? She seemed so happy, it makes no sense.

Pet her firmly, with heft. She will smash her head into your hand to increase the pressure. When she rolls around, shows her tummy and gives the Pet Me Now look, it seems like she wants you to rub her tummy. She does not. Every person in this house has made the mistake. Once.

Seriously? What's with the mixed signal there?

She doesn't like our other cat Boo Boo. Growling, hissing, and that ungodly screech that only cats seem to make. She attacks him randomly. She wears a collar with a bell so he/we can hear her coming.

She shouldn't try to hurt Boo Boo. Brothers and sisters are supposed to love each other!

She likes secure places, where she's surrounded by something.

Why does she need that? She's been in a safe place for longer than she was unsafe!

She doesn't like to play. She'll destroy stuff though.

She doesn't use toys how they were intended. When she does play with something she wrecks it.

She's scared of storms and doesn't care much for high winds either. I'm guessing she was caught in a storm when she was homeless but we'll never really know. Was she hungry? Wet? Was there hail? Did a raccoon trap her? When she's scared she hides or paces. She doesn't sleep. Don't try to calm her.

Ok really? Say she was caught in a storm. That was years ago and she absolutely has not encountered a drop of vertical water since then. She can't possibly remember it but anyway, she's safe, warm and dry now and it's been years!

She's hungry all the time. When her dish is not full she paces, scratches furniture or walls, and hollers. Loudly.

(food is very low in this picture but I don't have a better one)

Obviously she is always fed. Always. Her weight is direct and irrefutable evidence. Why does she act as if she is going to collapse in front of deaths door?

She wants to be by us, but only barely. She follows me around if no one else is home but won't ever sit with me.

Gosh that part is frustrating. She's always there, twisting under my feet or following me or running ahead of me only to abruptly slow so I trip over her. Yet when it's easy, laying on the couch or something, she will have no part of it.

With Genea though, it's all different. When it's time for Genea to come home, she waits by the door. Sits with her, waits for her, sleeps in her bed. Maybe hurt beings recognize other hurt beings.


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