37 The bully

My little buddy has suffered a major blow to his self esteem. He had a run in with one of the big boys in the neighborhood last night and that shook him up quite a bit.

Then this afternoon he bombed in through his kitty door and ran to the hall where he turned and peeked around the corner at his kitty door as if expecting something to follow him. Later he went to the sliding door and peered

around the kitty door. I went to check out what was going on and the same bully that was after him last night was just outside the door. When the bully saw me looking out the sliding door it ran off. Not much of a bully with something bigger than he is just like all bullies.

Tigger has not used his litter box since his kitty door was available twenty four - seven but this afternoon he used it. He was not confident enough to go outside to do his business. I have been cuddling him and telling him not to worry. He spent part of the day attacking his toy animals with more ferocity than in weeks. I think he is trying to sharpen his skills to be better prepared to defend himself.

We watched the back yard later in the day. I didn't see the bully but could feel Tigger's apprehension about the situation.

"Do you mind if I use the litter box sometimes?" he asked after awhile.

"Of course not. That's why I left it out and filled. You can use it anytime you need to... you know... when it is

cold or wet outside or just because it is more convenient." I said, leaving him plenty of face saving room.

"Are you really sure? That means you have to do more work to keep it clean for me."

"Tigger, that is no problem at all for me. You are such an easy cat to take care of and you give me so much in return. That could never be a problem for me." I said as I gave him a little hug.

"Thanks. Sometimes it is more... convenient." he said as he rubbed hard against my leg.
Later he went out again but only after careful study of the yard and then only going half way out and making sure he hadn't missed anything. Finally he went all the way out and spent a long time hanging around close to his kitty door. His ‘escape hatch', just in case the bully suddenly appeared. Before too long he was making full use of the whole yard and seemed to have gotten at least some of his confidence back.

Eventually he came back in and seemed to be more or less his old self again. He got something to eat and went to his little bed in the living room and slept. He seemed to have a little more twitching and paws moving as he slept than usual. I wondered if he was dreaming... maybe nightmares about his nemesis... the bully or maybe dreams of him beating the bully up..

Later, he settled on the table next to me as I watched TV. He seemed to want to talk so I muted the TV and gave him my full attention.

"I have a problem." he finally said as he reached over and touched my arm with his paw.

"It wouldn't have anything to do with the big black and white cat that has been hanging around lately would it?" I asked.

"Uh... yes. How did you know?"

"Oh, just a lucky guess. He did give you a hard time last night, remember."

"I remember alright! He is a real bully. Why is he picking on me? I haven't done anything to him."

"It seems there are always bullies. They pick on anybody they figure they can beat. You are a young male cat in his neighborhood and he is bigger than you so he figures he can beat you without any problem."

"Oh. Uh... I'm not ‘mail' I'm a cat."

"Not ‘mail'... oh... never mind... you are a boy cat and he doesn't like that. Besides don't you feel sorry for him?" I asked. I thought I might be able to get him to look at his situation a little differently.

"What? Me sorry for him? Are you kidding?"

"Not at all. Just think about it. You have this nice warm, dry, safe place to live and can eat as much as you like anytime you like. You have plenty of water, can sleep in your comfortable bed.... you know... you have lots of things to be thankful for and that big bully has to live out in the cold and wet and all that stuff."

"And I get to sleep on your chest and you give me lots of loving and play with me. I guess I do have lots of thing better than that bully... but I still don't feel too sorry for him. Are you really sure you don't mind if I use the litter box sometimes?"

"Of course not. Anytime you need to."

"Sometimes when I go out to... you know... do.... take care of my business, he bothers me and I can't do what I have to do."

I was proud of him being honest with me about it. "I understand completely. I feel sorry for that bully." I said.

"You feel sorry for the bully. Whose side are you on?"

"Yours of course."

"Have you seen how big he is. How can you feel sorry for him. He beats me up."

"Yes I have seen how big he is. That is why I feel sorry for him." I said.

"You feel sorry for him because he is bigger than me?"

"No, I feel sorry for him because he is as big as he will get and you are only six months old. You are still growing and with all you eat you will be a big one. One of these days he will have to watch out for you."

"Oh! Really? Uh... I think I will just go eat a little more...." he said as he bounded down and headed for his food bowl.... his normal swagger back in his step.

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