We live with two cats, Mickie and Darci. Mickie, is a rather smallish “smoke” colored kitty. He is generally super affectionate and in many ways behaves like a loving puppy. But he can be a bit hyper and he spooks fairly easily.
On our dining room table, we have an old, ceremonial bamboo plant growing in a very nice, traditional Japanese pot. For some time Mickie had been jumping up on the table and chewing on the bamboo leaves. This did not seem to be doing the bamboo plant much good.
So we had engaged in a running contest of wills for several weeks – me trying to get Mickie to stop chewing on the bamboo, and Mickie trying to get me to stop bugging him about it. For several weeks, neither of us seemed to have the upper hand, or paw, as the case may be.
One morning, I was sitting at the table, drinking some tea and reading the morning paper. Mickie jumped up and began to chew the bamboo leaves. I asked him to stop. He gave me a dirty look and stopped chewing the bamboo. But as soon as I went back to reading the paper, I could hear him chewing again. I looked up and sure enough, he was right back at it. Once more, I politely asked him to stop. He did, but only to resume as soon as I focused on the newspaper again. T his cycle repeated itself a number of times. Finally, I was getting frustrated. I was also becoming upset over the damage to the bamboo, which was becomming more extensive right before my eyes.
After a while I reached the end of my rope and did something I never do. I yelled at Mickie to “knock it off”, and simultaneously I flicked his ear. I did not do it very hard – just enough to get his attention. This was the first time I had ever used any form of physical “discipline” on any cat. (It also turned out to be the last.) Mickie gave me an intensely dirty look and jumped off the table to go sulk, or so I thought.
I went back to my tea and paper. A few moments later I felt something smash the right side of my face. I was startled and at first could not figure out what the heck had happened. It felt like someone had punched me in the face. But there was no one else in the room. I was startled and extremely puzzled.
It did not take very long to realize that Mickie had gotten even with me for flicking his ear. He had quietly gotten back up on the table and had crept over into position, while my attention was still on the morning paper. When he was ready, he smacked my face, near my right eye. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I have never seen a cat do anything like that, and I don’t think I have ever heard of anything similar.
I related this story to a friend and fellow cat lover. She told me that Mickie’s persistence in chewing the bamboo indicated that he needed greens. She recommended that we keep a small planter with wheat grass growing in it for Mickie. He hasn’t chewed on the bamboo since.
But I never really figured out a non-embarrassing explanation for the shiner I sported for the next week or so.
To your great health!