I had some spare time in between naps the other day and reread my kitten posts from last year. How young and silly I was; my tail was twitching with amusement as I read them.
Last year I was obsessed with establishing dominance over my human. So many things confused me. I couldn’t figure out why she would spray me with water or physically remove me from the best places in the house. I worried a lot over our relationship and what my future would be. Now that I am fully grown, I have come to realize how foolish those kittenish mewsings were.
First is the ridiculous notion I had regarding who was actually in charge. It was me, of course, all along. Sure, she is physically bigger, but that means nothing. Do I feed her? Am I required to do anything I don’t wish to? Do I even need to clean up after myself? No, no and no. She attends to my every need, from ensuring I have a multitude of toys and attention to keeping my bowl filled with food. No one does that for her; I know this is true, because in all the time I’ve lived with her I have never seen anyone come in and provide her with food, or clean up her messes, or even bring her toys. Yet I get these every single day.
She is my servant, pure and simple. Though not always the best servant, at least she tries. This leads to the second lesson I have learned, which is that she is not that smart. Last year I was so proud of a trick I taught her that I wrote a post about it. I was excited and felt this would be the first of many such games I could teach her. I was wrong; while she is capable of learning, the pace is much slower than what I had hoped for. I believe this lack of intelligence is endemic to the entire species. Other humans that visit her also appear to lack the most fundamental logic and reasoning skills. For just one example if another cat showed up I would chase it around, fight a little, wrestle, determine who was dominant; in short, have fun. When she has other humans in the house they sit and talk, none of them realizing what they are missing.
I think a big reason for this species-wide stupidity is their inability to communicate in meaningful ways. The gentle nips and scratches that are clearly meant to push her, or a visiting human, in the right direction never work, and instead of going “Oh! You need more food.” I get shot with a spray of water. Believe me that gets old fast! She has extremely poor communication skills, and this seems to be the case for all humans. They don’t get the most basic requests. A simple “get out of my chair” is ignored. Obvious requests to stop petting me, or to start petting me, are consistently misinterpreted. They have no sense of smell, and limited hearing and sight. The complex range of mews, yowls and chirping noises I make are never interpreted.
I realize now vastly superior I am. Those few issues I noted last summer mean nothing. My nemesis the spray bottle is still used but I now understand she has to use this because she has no other way to communicate. It is annoying, but I feel sorry for her more than for me; how limiting it must be when her only options are to spray water or physically pick me up! Her size, which intimidated me last year, means little without brain power behind it. She is like any large beast of burden, capable of heavy lifting but certainly not up to the philosophical reasoning on which I spend my days.
The key to our relationship is to let her think she’s in charge. This is quite easy to do as she misinterprets size for smarts. She is remarkably easy to manipulate, and within her limitations I am becoming somewhat fond of her. Wait… I hear her at the door. Time to close out this post, turn off the computer and pretend I’m napping.