My furry, not-so-little-any-more housemate, Max, has me continually shaking my head in disbelief and bafflement. I would have called it “wonderment” except that word descriptor should not be confused with gentler synonyms like adoration and appreciation.
In all the decades that I’ve been around cats of all temperaments and sizes, I have never experienced a cat quite so headstrong, aggravating, and downright domineering as Max is. He’s still as wild as they come, and what’s worse is that after putting up with his untamable nature for over a year now, he’s in the house to stay. I can’t put him outside to fend for himself in this rural area filled with raccoons, dogs, and even foxes and coyotes.
Physically, he resembles a small, domesticated tiger—orange stripes and all—full of wildness and reactivity to everything that moves—and full of attitude—an attitude that shouts “I rule MY domain!”—also known as my house; and if you dare to doubt that, he’ll show you his entire “naughtiness spectrum” across three levels of living space, and flash those pointy white teeth at you or worse, latch onto your arm with them. I should have named him “Killer.”
My just walking across the room requires head-swiveling to stay alert to an ambush. He can pounce from behind furniture or from under the bed with all-out realism—arms spread wide to wrap around my leg on contact. I know he means it playfully, but he’s quite a chunk now (at least 15 pounds) and he hits with some force. He almost knocked me over mid-stride this morning.
He’s only cuddly if it’s his idea, and if he is by chance gracing (flattening) your chest with his presence, be careful that you don’t unintentionally breathe on him or the ears go back and he gives you a warning look like “Do that again and I’ll smack you hard—right in the face.” And he has done that very thing on numerous occasions—even bit me on the cheek once—right before he flew across the room for it.
In one sense, I should appreciate the compliment that he recognizes me as his playmate for mutual roughhousing. But in another more troubling sense he views himself as the dominant one of us, although I have repeatedly proven to him in our ‘rough and tumbles’ that he isn’t; but he simply huffs out a breath of frustration with ears back and tail swinging, and comes at me again. He does NOT quit.
They only thing he does respect is the water squirt-bottle. Thank goodness one thing works to dissuade him from the error of his aggressively-naughty ways.
I’ve been seriously thinking that he needs a better playmate than me—but it would require one that can take his ceaselessly-aggressive attacks, which means another cat would not be a good fit for him. I would have to continually rescue the new-comer. Max is too big a bully, and he isn’t going to change.
The solution: I think Max needs a dog—a good medium-sized dog with thick hair to take all the bites and kicks. Something with a bigger mouth than he has that can bite back when necessary—even harder than he can.
But then again, I’d hate to see what the house would look like if I did do that. It could be disastrous.
It’s pretty bad when you have to consider buying your cat a dog ‘wrestling-mate’ just to protect yourself.