It's a 'Bugs' life
I am fortunate to know a lot about the first 10 months of Bug’s life before I adopted her. Her owner, was unable to care for her any longer and was sorry to let her go. We still remain in touch 3 years later and she is always happy to hear how Bug is doing. It is evident to me that she gave Bug a very loving upbringing her first 10 months. She is a bold, confident, curious, and very affectionate (on her terms, of course) cat. All of these qualities make her quite mischievous and it challenges me to find new ways to keep her entertained and out of the
When Bug first came to me, I was initially struck by her bold colours and slight frame; even now, fully grown at 4 years old, she is still on the smaller side. The moment her little paws touched the floor she came straight up to greet me, tail up and curled at the tip. She let out a wee squeak of a meow and rubbed against my leg, effectively melting my heart. The next several days she spent exploring under every sofa, chair and bed in the flat; squeezing into tight places and puffing up the moment I walked into a room and accidentally surprised her. I learned very quickly that she would be a little bit of a challenge to keep happy - as is often the case with smart cats whose penchant for being precocious and sassy is nearly unrivaled in the animal kingdom. While Bug may tell you differently if you asked and she could talk (she would tell anyone who would listen that she’s starved of food and love), she does lead a very spoiled and enriched life.
Her intelligence, comfort with and trust of humans, and her incredible motivation to eat anything except vegetables has made it relatively easy to teach Bug plenty of tricks. In an effort to further enrich her environment,
I have taught her, and she has begrudgingly learned, how to give high fives with both paws, sit, lie down, spin, stand, wave, clean her face, and clean her paws.
Her full repertoire of tricks is more extensive and ever-growing. I often spend a couple of hours a week reinforcing the tricks she already knows and teaching her new ones. This isn’t sufficient for her, though, and I have also devised many food puzzles that she has managed to cheat. This has led me to purchase dog activity puzzles in an effort to challenge her. Some of them she solves within minutes, some that require a little more finesse take a week or so, but after that she can solve them in less than four minutes.
Bug was very trusting of me from the start, but we didn’t truly start bonding until about two months after she came home. I vividly remember when it was clear to me that we had begun to bond; it was a very singular and distinctive moment. She would usually sleep near me on the bed, but one particular night she chose to sleep right next to my head (something she had never done before nor has she since) and outstretched a single paw to touch my cheek. She remained like that well after we had both fallen asleep, next to my face with her paw gently rested against my cheek and purring softly. Of course, the floodgates opened after this and it has evolved into an entitlement to being under the duvet on cold nights and lap sitting privileges the moment you are no longer standing.
Once she felt more secure and bonded to me, she came out of her shell all the more. She is spunky and playful. She often stalks me throughout the flat while I do chores, attacking my legs and feet without claws followed by a frictionless scramble on the carpetless floor to run away and hide. If she isn’t helping me around the house, chasing me, or trying to get into her toy cupboard, she is lazing in the sunshine on her favourite fleece blanket.
Bug brings so much joy and love into my life, I couldn’t possibly imagine living without her. She is a little furry ball of moxie and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Special thanks to New leaf volunteer Tess Schulze for sharing and writing this beautiful story. Stay tuned for more from Tess over the coming months.