As intimated on the previous page, Elf quickly found a home. After his placement, I would periodically check on his placement. I never quite god straight answers from his new owner. She did say that the kitten played like crazy. This didn't seem particularly strange or unusual (yet).
Suddenly, one evening, she told me her mother wanted her to return the cat. The following class period, the next night, I took Elf back home again.
Now more cat experienced teachers told me that this situation might actually work out. Bebe would find the hidden mother inside of her and come to care for the kitten. After all, I adopted Bebe at two years old; possibly she gave birth to her own kittens long ago. Certainly, I thought, she could keep him in line if he challenged her, at least until he reached full growth.
I actually considered keeping him if (1) Bebe accepted the situation and (2) I liked him.
The following pictures show him at his cutest. In particular, he seems to have acquired a stuffed animal at the girl's house. I thought she just gave him it to sleep on. No, he really loved that animal. He would carry him around from room t room with his teeth. Sometimes he bit the animal. At other times, he slept on it and groomed it. I would periodically see him pulling it around. I could never figure out if he wanted to bring it to me or hide it from me.
He also particularly liked to fetch things. Like my mother's cat, Mittens, from long ago, he would bring things back to you. If he anything, he surpassed even Mittens who eventually tired of the exercise. If not distracted, he would bring back the mouse twenty or thirty times.
After a couple of days, I started to see the problem with Elf. Elf never stopped playing. He did not even appear to sleep. He also did not seem to understand any word, gesture, or threat to stop playing.
Sure, Elf could be very sweet. In an almost uncanny copy of his mother, he slept in exactly the fashion by my side or in the small of my back. Further, he really enjoyed sitting in my lap.>
On the other hand, it's pretty hard to work with an ever-playing kitten on the loose. He persisted in thinking that my typing on the keyboard constituted some weird hand gesture designed to get him to attack. As I rebuilt two computers, Elf spent the vast majority of his time inside them biting wires. Every page typed, printed, or scanned represented a minor triumph over this little devil. He covered my wrists with scars from biting.
As it turned out, he only to play with me as his second choice. He much preferred to play with Bebe. Whereas the first night I yelled at her for attacking him, by the last night I was punishing him with time-outs and swats for harassing her. His favorite game consisted of jumping on her. Nor did her bites, threats, and slaps in any way dissuade him. When he chased her to exhaustian, she would lie down, and he would willingly put his head between her paws for her to bite.
Furbabe's nerves started to frazzle. Her hisses and screams took on an increasingly shrill quality, and she took to hiding so he could not find her. Sadly, I think she realized that she could not hurt him enough to make him stop try though she did. She was the stuffed toy that bit back. I'm not sure if he ever figured out that she really wasn't playing.
It wasn't all bad for her. She and he would sleep side by side on the couch or the bed. Should she show the slightest sign of animation, though, his voice rose to a "whoop" of delight, and he pounced on her.
Like his mother, again, I think he also unknowingly did some things that got on her nerves. For example, he quickly abandoned eating from his own dish in favor of sharing hers (and they didn't fight over that, oddly enough). He also not only insisted on using her little box, but played in it.
One way or another, this little cat, whom I nicknamed, "The Pest," needed another home.
I took the above photos at the behest of PAWS-Kuwait for them to post on their website to try to place Elf. When I took them to my local photo shop, the owner gave me a free blow-up of Elf (the picture above) as he had when I shot the pictures of Penny and the whole family. He said to me.
"If that was a boy, I would take him.
It didn't take me long to spring into action. I promised to give him Elf, toys, mice, and everything by the next afternoon.
Not a moment too soon. Bebe now enjoyed only two real hiding places, the fourth shelf in my bedroom which she shared with my shirts and the monitor for my main computer. That very evening, she lost those santuaries as he figured out how to jump on both. They actually had a fight on top of my monitor.
After giving the cat away, I almost immediately received an email from someone at PAWS. Someone else wanted Elf.
I explained that the man who took Elf, an Iranian, seemed extremely happy to have Elf. The look on his face seemed to exemplify what cat ownership should be about. However, on the off chance that I could get stuck with Elf yet again, I did check up on him the next day.
"You enjoying the cat?"
"You know where he sleep," he said. He held up his hands to a place two inches in front of him. I held my breath. "He play all the time. Too crazy." Finally, I spoke.
"Do you still want him?"
He laughed, "Of course I want him."
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