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No good deed goes unpunished


We took in a juvenile male orange cat several weeks ago. We had watched him over a period of a couple of months; every time he showed up near the bunker, he was more beat-up and bedraggled. We finally invited him in, and he acted like it was home. So we kept him and neutered him and de-flea’d him. He is now healthy and growing rapidly.

The bad thing is, he is much younger than we thought, because he’s a much bigger breed of cat than we thought. The mechanic had estimated his age at nine months. Growing as he is, and displaying kittenish behavior as he is, we now know that he was perhaps six months old at most. And he will continue to grow to be much bigger.

The worst thing is, he is a male kitten, and he is trying to establish his place in an existing feline social hierarchy. And it’s not going well for anyone. He play-attacks the other cats several dozen times per day. Every day, his face gets slashed up more and more when the other cats counterattack. They are older, and they don’t appreciate being stalked or jumped. So they cut him into ribbons.

He hates being outdoors, so when he behaves badly, we hose him down with water, and put him out in the screened-in porch as punishment. That brings us peace and quiet while he’s out there, but soon after we bring him back in, the fighting starts again.

The screaming and fighting bothers darling wife much more than it does me. I ignore it. If there’s actual blood, I wipe it up. But it’s up to them to sort things out. I don’t care.

Darling wife cares, unfortunately. And she’s realized that bringing him inside was probably a mistake. It would have been better to leave him outside, to be eaten by coyotes.

It would have been quieter, anyway.

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