I Scratched My Mom Today – Why we hurt the ones we love the most

Pebbles the Blind Cat

I did it. I’m just being honest here. Of course, you look at me and, rightfully so, you see a sweet little angel. It is almost impossible to imagine. And yet, it is true. I scratched my mom and made her bleed. 

I know what you must be thinking. She had to have done something terrible, committed some heinous crime, to induce the wrath of Pebbles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so dramatic. I had just had breakfast, everything was going well. I was in the process of washing my face, preparing for my regular post-breakfast nap when little brother, Milton jumped on me. Yes, he is just a baby. He doesn’t know any better, blah, blah, blah. But everyone, everyone, knows that you do not interrupt a busy feline when they are in the midst of the post meal ritualistic wash.

Adorable Milton poses for the camera
That face may look sweet, but Baby Milton can be a pesky little brother sometimes.

Little Milton then proceeded to bite my tail, swat at my face, and rabbit kick my head. No one can blame me for retaliation at this point. I bit him back and started to rabbit kick his head to show him how it feels and perhaps teach him a little bit about manners. Now, granted, I am nearly twice his size, but that certainly does not give him the right to be such  a brat. Normally I love Milton, and we play together well. But today when I ever so gently reprimanded him he decided to start crying. And you can imagine what happened next.

Mom heard the baby and came running in. Thanks, Mom. Where were you a minute ago when he was attacking me? And that’s when it happened. She ran over to pick me up and get me off of Milton. My claws were still out. My adrenaline was going, and I was frustrated. So I just tried to jump out of Mom’s arms. Unfortunately, as I was taking my graceful dive out of her arms, my rear claws ever so slightly grazed her fragile human hand.

“Pebbles! You scratched me!” I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I felt terrible. I love my Mom. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I did it anyway. So that got me thinking. Why do we do that? Why does our feral feline self come out more often with the ones we love the most?

We Hurt Others When We Are Hurting

I can’t believe Mom took a picture of this.

Surely by now you can see my side of the events. I was an innocent, assaulted unexpectedly out of nowhere. My pride was hurt. My emotions were high. And Mom just happened to be right there. Having observed humans for my entire life, it is clear that they are emotionally fragile creatures, even more so than the typically composed feline. But the interesting thing is, most people are able to tame their inner beast in certain social situations.

But I can assure you that once the beast has been unleashed, it can only be controlled for so long. Situations can escalate at work or with other people, but humans are taught to be nice in front of other humans, no matter what. But the feelings of frustration and, above all, pain only grow stronger when they are ignored. Most of the time when we lash out at someone, it is only because we are deeply hurting. We are defending our inner self. Unfortunately, very often we are the most defensive with the very ones who are trying to help us.

We Are Less Comfortable With Strangers

I would never draw my paw swords against a stranger unless I was threatened. It’s not that I care less about Mom or Brother Milton. Just the opposite. My family knows me. They know my public self and my true self. I have nothing to hold back with them. When it comes to others outside of my inner circle, I am much more wary and only present a tiny part (usually the best part) of my true self.

All cats are different, but we have one thing in common. We hate to go to the vet clinic. Mom says that at the clinic where she works she typically sees two kinds of cats. Occasionally some felines (and who can blame them) go feral when they enter those doors. But apparently that is surprisingly uncommon. The most common are the cats that hide wide-eyed in the back of the cat carrier, and when they have to be examined they curl into as small of a ball as possible and just wait for the bad stuff to be over. They gleefully retreat back inside the carrier when the horrors and indignities have ended. Usually their humans are completely shocked at this behavior. “How did you give her that pill?! She never lets me get close to her mouth. And I can’t believe she went back into the carrier! It took me 3 hours and a great deal of struggling to get her in there in the first place.”

As it turns out, humans and cats are not that much different. People do it, too. When around strangers they hide their real emotions in a little ball until they are in the comfort of home and family.

We Expect Our Loved Ones to Love Us Unconditionally

Being the public figure that I am, I can’t disappoint my fans. I must constantly maintain my composure and remain professional at all times when I am in the public eye. But Mom and Dad know me. They love me no matter what. All anyone wants when it comes right down to it is unconditional love and acceptance. It is a shame, but, alas, a fact of life. We take that unconditional love for granted at times. We test it. We stretch it to the limits. The public is very fickle, so it is much easier to release our negative emotions on those we believe will never turn on us.

So How Do We Scratch Less and Purr More?

  1. If we are frustrated or hurting we need to recognize the real source of the pain. Take time to acknowledge it, take a breath. It is okay to be hurt, angry, and upset. Those are emotions. We do not have to let our emotions control our words or actions.
  2. If someone we love lashes out at us, be patient. Remember they are doing so, not out of hatred, but out of pain. Meeting frustration, pain, or anger with more anger has never solved any problem. Return sarcastic remarks with kindness and empathy. No, don’t argue with me about this. I’m right, so just do it.
  3. We have to be in tune with our own emotions so that we can communicate them clearly to others. But remember that the other person has their own pain, their own burdens that they are dealing with.
  4. Most importantly, remember what (and who) really matters. We call random people strangers for a reason. Quite frankly, with all due respect to my adoring public, my Mom and Dad and family are the ones who feed me and cuddle me. They were the ones who helped me through my surgeries and support me every day now. Sorry guys, but at the end of the day, all that matters is being with those you love.

So, Mom, I promise to try not to scratch you ever again. But please forgive me if I’m having a really bad day and slip up from time to time. I am just a kitty, after all.

Until next time – Keeping Pebbles Strong!

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