DEAR PET LADY,
I recently got a kitten to provide friendship for my bored cat. As is consistent with every pet owner describing their "children," mine is simply adorable. The problem is she's incredibly stupid, possibly retarded. My partner has taken to calling her D.S., short for "Down's syndrome," and it breaks my heart. The worst part is that I don't think she can be trained to break her bad habits (my kitten, not my partner). Here is a breakdown of some of her weird behavior (again, the kitten, not my partner):
(1) After two months, Xena (named for her high-flying kicks and acrobatics) still doesn't know her name. (2) Xena drools 24/7, surprising everyone with an ever-present wet and often foaming lower lip. (3) Xena plays for hours with stationary inanimate objects, seeming to prefer them to standard cat toys such as feathers, plastic mice, and the like. The table leg is her favorite. (4) When we try to train her with the squirt bottle technique, she arches her back in fear but won't move and allows us to continuously squirt her in the face. (5) Xena licks a Greek statue we have of naked women, sapphically enough, in the crotch for minutes at a time. (I hope she didn't get this one from us!) [Several more quite strange numbered points omitted for space here.—Eds.]
Now, we know cats can be finicky, but this one is just, well, dumb as a brick. Is cat retardation common? Are there any methods for training retarded cats? Anyone want to adopt a retarded cat? Please enjoy the photo of her royal cuteness. The fun stops at her appearance.
At a Loss
You bring up a delicate matter a bit indelicately; may the Pet Lady gently suggest that you and your partner refer to dear Xena as "differently abled"? She (Xena, not your partner) may respond on some level to your increased sensitivity. Dear A.L., you mention in passing the kitten's acrobatic abilities, which must be a comfort to you, and the P.L. trusts Xena also adequately provides friendship for your other feline. You seem like a good-humored and -hearted human, and the P.L. can only urge patience and continued efforts at traditional training.
The Pet Lady once made the acquaintance of a very special cat who had unfortunately been given a large dose of LSD as a kitten, causing it to have miniseizures and its tiny pink tongue to always hang out; as disturbing as this was (and it was very), several nice young gentlemen provided food, shelter, and love for this poor fur friend. As was the case with the gentlemen, the Pet Lady senses your bizarre pet's antics are a small source of joy to you as well as frustration. She is inclined to believe that if she hears from any readers willing to take in this special needs fur friend, you may just decline their offer.
Best to you, your partner, Xena, and Other Cat,
The Pet Lady
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