When There’s No Answer To Why

I’ve spent much of the morning dealing with Ivy. I will spray her in the face and chase her off the table, and within minutes she’s right back up there. Why doesn’t she seem to learn?

I’ve tried to scold her in a normal voice. I’ve tried raising my voice to get her attention. The only thing that does is scare poor Charlie. Ivy seems oblivious to it.

I have removed all the faux plants from the tables so she will stop chewing the faux leaves.

Kitchen microwave and cabinets

She is always curious and into things, but this morning she seems to be particularly bent on destruction. Is this a kitten thing? Will she mature out of this?

Yes, I’m a little frustrated this morning. I’m not angry with her. She’s a cat. And that is that.

I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning and straightening and putting things in order. And Monday morning arrives and I’m tired. I slept well, thankfully. But the cold is seeping into my arthritic joints, as it is for many of you I imagine.

I did not even realize Thanksgiving was this week. I thought it was next week. My mind has a hard enough time remembering what day of the week it is.

Things just get away from me sometimes.

Ivy on my bed

Yes, little Miss Ivy Lou, I see you giving me the stink eye. But I love you and no matter what you do, I will still love you. Love is not something I consider remotely conditional.

I grew up wondering why both my parents abandoned me. Then when I was a little older, I wondered why they took my sister and left me behind, an infant, to fend for myself in a world full of strangers.

But I will never have my answer.

Where I felt ashamed, as though I had done something wrong, I should have just felt anger or indifference. Oh, I got around to the anger by the time I was a teenager.

But it’s hard to hate someone you don’t even know. Hate is generated and stoked when all you hear is negative. Eventually you begin to absorb that.

This misguided hate caused me to do something I regret to this day. I’ve probably told you this at some point. Shortly after my great-grandmother’s funeral, one of her daughters brought me a packet of my mother’s things. I think they were photos of her.

But I did not look at them. I didn’t even open it. I took it to the barrel where we burned trash and burned the whole thing, watching as the flames licked away at what was essentially my history.

I was angry that she was making me go through life with people questioning me as to why my parents were never around. And I had no answer for them.

I was angry that my great-grandmother, who had basically served as my mother figure, died and left me, barely 13 years of age, to figure out the rest of the way myself.

Swan Lake in Tulsa

Why is one of those questions that does not always have an answer. And often the answer is not satisfactory.

I have spent a lot of useless time asking the universe why. I know there isn’t going to be an answer and the whole exercise is futile.

I have also spent many years chastising myself for burning that packet. I only have two photos of my mother. In one she is about 3-4 years of age. And in the other she is with my father on what I think was their wedding day.

Why oh why didn’t I keep those photos? Why did I act so impulsively?

Swan Lake in Tulsa

I burned them in a fit of rage and fear. What was going to become of me? Who would take care of me now?

My great-grandmother was old and tired by the time I was born. She had helped raise her step siblings, then she raised eight children of her own.

She was then left with my grandmother, who for all intents and purposes remained a child herself. When my grandmother was raped and became pregnant she then had to raise my mother.

She never had a chance to catch her breath, much less explore her own desires in life. And when she learned that I’d been left in another state by myself, she was not going to stand for that.

So she sent for me. And what was she to do but take me in? In the final years of her life, she had to begin this mothering thing all over again.

Swan Lake in Tulsa

I don’t know how I went from Ivy’s stunts to my background.

Well, yes, I guess I do know how these two topics are similar.

Ivy was found abandoned at about two weeks of age. Ivy had no mother to take care of her, to feed her. She was rescued and bottle fed.

I sit here and look over at her sitting in the sunlight, and I’m not frustrated with her any more.

I think of the tiny kitten that would have died had someone not found her. And it just makes me feel sad for all the unwanted animals and children that are brought into this world.

Not one of them have a say in it. Not one of them did anything wrong except slip from the womb and draw breath.

Ivy is indeed willful. She is inquisitive and funny and stubborn all at the same time.

But no matter what, I love her.

I’m her mother now, and I will never leave her.

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49 Comments

  1. Wish I had some brilliant words of wisdom for you to comfort you. What I like about you is that you live in the present even though your past pops up to affect you. Forgive yourself about the photos. When I break or lose something precious, I remind myself that I could be living in California and having lost everything, or I could be living in an earthquake zone. I’m not. Things are just things no matter how precious they are, and I’m going to be leaving them behind in the not-too-distant future. As for Ivy not obeying, I find that hissing at my cats when they are doing something wrong really works. They stop and scat right away. A sharp hiss, not like a snake hiss; more like a cat hisses at another cat before a fight. They still love me and cuddle up with me, so I don’t think they hold it against me that I hiss at them. It kind of makes me “alpha cat.” Thanksgiving blessing to you, and I’m thankful to have found your blog. I find it so peaceful and inspiring.

    1. Asking “why”starts a controversy. Asking “how” provides a plan. People know how to do things will have a job and happier life.

  2. You are so right about never being able to find the answers to some of our “why’s”.

    Coming to terms with that isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to move on.

  3. I don’t have photos of my mother either. I did know her. For whatever reason she attached to my one sister but was very distant to my other sister and myself. I used to ask why all the time. Not anymore. As I grew older and my own children grew up I realized we weren’t the ones with a problem. I would say she missed out but really one can’t miss something never wanted in the first place. Photos would just make me feel resentment and I don’t like that feeling so I accept it was what it was. I just work very hard to be aware of my actions and not repeat with my children what was done to me. There’s a lot to be said about having a warm loving mother but there’s also a lot to observe and learn from one that was very self centered. It made me sensitive to others needs.

  4. My little solid black kitty, “Bitty”, was found in a boat where my husband works at a marine shop. Eyes only barely open, we bottle fed her, claimed her as our own and the rest is history. She has been with us for over eight years now. She still rips and runs throughout the house, gets up on the table when she thinks we aren’t looking and many other things too numerous to mention. Bitty still thinks she is a kitten. I think they are not nearly as easy to train as a dog. She thinks she is the queen around here. Just give Ivy a little more time. Kind of like a child, you don’t want to break her spirit.
    I wish I could comfort you about your childhood. As I have done genealogy for over twenty years, finding out clues about parents and people in general is not an easy task. If a picture of a person is found, it is like gold in family searching. I am sorry you don’t have that packet of information of your Mother’s. Even through your anger and heartbreak you have come through as one of the most genuine people I have “met” on blogs. Lighten up on yourself a little. You have made the sweetest home for you and your pets, you have a daughter and grandson who love you. To even add my comment, I had to scroll down many pages of people’s comments to add my own. That right there shows how much you are thought of!!

  5. Brenda, I can understand why you burned the photos. You were angry and alone, and you probably were scared too — afraid of seeing something in the photos that would make you feel even more alone — probably the fact that your image would not be in the photos. Frankly, to me, what you now have, all these years after burning the photos, is something that maybe is a more significant message than what the photos would have shown — you have a memory of you doing something powerful for a few moments during a time when you were feeling powerless. Maybe you need that memory more than you needed the photos.

  6. Brenda, go to Amazon and look up “Ripple Rug” under cat toys. I got one for my cats and they love it. I can hide their different toys in and then rearrange the rug to be something new to them everyday. It does not take up much space and it keeps them out of trouble. I would imagine she is just full of kitten, curiosity, and may be a bit bored to. Give it a look, I found it is well worth the money and I have had mine two years now. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your furry kids.

  7. Dear Brenda . . . I too was an orphan and I’ve found that it has had a profound impact on my entire life. At 71, I no longer “search” for the relationships I missed out on, and I more easily accept the fact. I feel that remaining alone has been quite healing. It isn’t that I enjoy being alone, but I have come to realize that I am “okay being alone” and I am pleased that I no longer “pay” too much for relationships. I have my pets and a few well-chosen friends and that’s as good as it gets. Brenda, just know in your heart, that there are many people who have had to “walk this road”. We feel alone, but there truly ARE so many of us . . . We’ll understand why, by and by.

  8. Brenda, one of the hardest things in a person’s life is to know that they have been abandoned. And it matters not the circumstances or the state of mind of those involved in doing the abandoning. I’m so sorry that you have had that happen to you. But it doesn’t mean that you were unworthy of being given the love and security you didn’t get. It means not one iota of lack in you. And I know that you know that, but sometimes we forget and it’s hard enough to believe anyway if no one has told us or shown us at the time it was most important when we were young. I just say these things as reminders from someone who only knows you long distance but can see such beauty and worth through your writings and through your ability to love your fur babies. And, of course your daughters and Andrew. Brenda, you are a strong, talented, bright person with a wonderful sense of humor. I would be happy to have you be my next door neighbor. Truly.

    As for that little Ivey Lou, the rascal, I would be a bit short-tempered at times with her doings, too. But, I think you and she were destined to be in each other’s lives, because she needed so much to be loved and cared for and you’ve been happy to give her those things, which could be sort of like re-parenting that little Brenda when she was in need of those same things. Ivey will grow up and settle down just like my hyper-active grandsons, but in the meantime they can have us pulling out our hair with annoyance and frustration. Nothing to do but hang in there and keep loving them.

    I hope your Thanksgiving is happy and peaceful–even with Ivy careening around the apartment!

    Love and hugs to you and your two fur babes.

  9. Gotta love that Ivy cat…and that is that!
    I think there are many forms of abandonment in life, Brenda. Not just physical abandonment but also the loss of a mental/emotional connection with a parent or spouse. It leaves one feeling alone and lost in the game of life.
    I am sorry you burned the pictures but you know you can’t keep beating yourself up over that. What’s done is done and can’t be changed.
    Love to you- xo Diana

  10. I think Ivy is at what I call the teenager stage. Teenaged cats are real troublemakers. I’ve seen them climb up drapes. Don’t worry she will slow down eventually.

  11. I’m sorry to hear of your childhood struggles, Brenda. I can relate on so many levels as I also was from a dysfunctional background where neglect was the name of the game. And I too have noticed that my anger has mellowed over the years, but never really disappearing and still leaving its mark. I have often wondered if such a background makes one a more compassionate person. Such would seem the case with you and your pets as described on your blog.

    I can tell you from my cat experiences that a BORED cat is a TROUBLESOME cat (how like teenagers!). When I had a cat and complained about her antics, the vet suggested playing with her for about 15 minutes a day with a toy like a fishing pole with a stuffed fish or feather at the end of the line, and let the cat “win” with some catches so they don’t get discouraged. And I think the laser point cat toy looks cool, too (although a cat can’t catch a point of light). I’ll put a few links below. Just a few practical suggestions for your kitty!

    https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Bolt-Interactive-Laser-Cat/dp/B0021L8W6K

    https://www.chewy.com/smartykat-frisky-flyer-feather-wand/dp/135000?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=SmartyKat&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIseeDid7h3gIVFIvICh0xmA61EAQYASABEgIC-vD_BwE

    https://www.chewy.com/hartz-just-cats-gone-fishin-cat-toy/dp/110671?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Hartz&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4PKL6d3h3gIVRMDICh087goiEAQYASABEgIUc_D_BwE

  12. The only ones who knows the answer to your why question is your parents and God. He loves you just the way you are. You were provided a very strong lady to care for you even though she had her own troubles. I often wonder why children have to suffer so much in this life and I hope one day we will all know the answers to all the whys. I think God put you here for this very time to care for a little orphan kitten who had no one but you. She is bringing you joy and bringing all who read your blog a lot of happiness. Give her a hug for me. And a big hug to you for your kindness.

  13. Dear Brenda – Cats are cats – and they really are – I’ve never had a kitten that wasn’t a stinker – but my cats were indoor/outdoor cats so I didn’t have much trouble with them – sweet and lovable but they loved the outdoors – I live in the semi-country so no problems and my neighbors would offer them treats and cuddle them when they came to visit -Just give Ivy time. As she gets older it’ll get better – think of her as a two year old – Holiday Season upon us – please don’t let yourself get depressed – it’s hard when the flowers are gone and those bleak winter days set in. But you do so well and have so many interests – I think you do great. Take care of yourself and a hug to Ivy and cuddles to Charlie (I really love that little guy) oh, and a hug to you too .. Mary Ellen

  14. It has been a while since I’ve been owned by a cat, but yes, they do {albeit slowly} grow out of their “manic” phase ~ hang in there with your precious girl! Distraction works well, and so does the empty soda can filled with gravel.

    As for yourself ~ I’m so sorry that you had to go through all that. But just look at the wonderful person you have become! You HAVE survived!!!

    Hugs ~

  15. I didn’t realize Ivy had been abandoned so young. Our rescue kitty, Maddie, was also abandoned by her mother at about 4 weeks. We took her in and bottle fed her and nurtured her and held her alot. My vet told us that a cat that didn’t have it’s mother to care for it and who didn’t get to nurse long enough, can be very different and has alot of traits that other cats won’t have… so maybe do a little research on that. Our girl (like he told us) is very aloof at times and ignores us completely, and then other times she seems very very needy.. she can be ornery and mean sometimes (scratch if we try to hold her) and yet other times, she’s OK with it. We’ve learned to be very aware of her moods… I think she still has issues with being abandoned.. I don’t know why she was left.. maybe the other kittens died of mal nourishment and she was the only one that survived. The mom is still around and we trapped her and they took her and spayed her and returned her to us…. and Maddie has hated her from day one… now though, it seems she has developed some sort of tolerance of her (after 3 years) and allows her (the mom) to hang around and sleep in the chair next to her outside. She even lets her sleep in our garage now, without chasing her out and getting in a big fight! So do some research… could be why Ivy ignores you sometimes.. our Maddie is the same way… won’t listen when she gets into something she shouldn’t. I find that mostly a stern NO! is what gets results. We love them and do what we can to show that. The mom, who I also didn’t like, I’ve come to understand that she was probably abandoned herself.. … she just was wild and had batches of kittens over and over, and the male cats harassing her ALL THE TIME. Now I feel more sorry for her than anything as her life wasn’t very good… now at least she’s being fed regularly and is much healthier.

  16. There are a lot more people like you out here than you would think. We have similar histories. We feel similar things. You are not alone. And the reasons we were abandoned or not abandoned are legend.

  17. Ivy will grow out of a lot of her crazy kitten behavior. Mine were very wild like that when they were kittens. My son’s roommate has a kitten – well, I think she’s about a year old – and she is still pretty spastic,

    I tried the squirting with water thing (could never do it in the face – I felt guilty enough doing it on their sides or hind end) with both Monkey and Clementine because they both love going on the kitchen table. But it never did any good. So I finally just gave up and now they come and go on the table. And yes, I have to disinfect it all the time but I’ve learned to live with it. The only time we don’t let them on the table is when we’re eating, of course. I’ve had to lock them up sometimes when we’re eating if they keep trying to jump on the table. Try the foil thing, like someone else suggested. I forgot about that one. I never did try that with my cats.

    Your great-grandmother sounded like an amazing woman. Bless her heart for raising and mothering so many children. Where did you go at age 13 after she died?

    There are many life questions that we might have…I have some myself. I don’t know if we’ll ever have the answers.

    1. I stayed there with my grandmother, her daughter I spoke of, for a couple of years. Then I went to stay with a relative, but that didn’t work out. So I was pretty much on my own by 15-16.
      Brenda

  18. You can get the canned air in Walmart ,or at an office supply store it is used to rid your computer of dust particles and amazon will have it I am sure .
    I use a soda can of rocks to distract my Kittie off of tables or put aluminum foil where you do not want them to go .They hate the foil .
    I applaud you for coming out of that bad family situation ,and becoming the great person you are .Sometimes we just have to relive things in our minds that we regret .But we all have regrets .Be glad you have the wedding picture I am sure it is very special .
    Hugs to you and your babies today !

  19. I know where you are with Ivy and I can offer a possible suggestion. Cats are so stubborn and enjoy a battle of wills. If she thinks you are determined that she not do a particular thing she will become all the more determined to do it. But like a small child there is something that can often help – the power of distraction. When she does something you don’t like try to distract her with something different to play with or do. And for the really bad things she does that could be dangerous get some canned air and try spraying that in the air (not on her). It is the sudden sound of the air that scares cats but we try not to use that too much.

    Your Great-Grandmother sounds like a wonderful lady. I can’t imagine growing up like you did but you have become a very special person with a lot of love. It is hard to have regrets and I think most of us do but to live our best lives we have to put those things behind us. Yes, easier said than done and I struggle with that, but I try to look at the good in my life like my two cats that love and accept me no matter what. Have a good week Brenda.

      1. You can get canned air in the electronic dept. of WalMart. It is used to clean computers and such and can be handy around the house for tight places that get dust in them. You can also get it in office supply stores or anywhere that sells electronics. It is kind of pricey but will last a long time if you don’t use it much. If we need to spray it with our cats just one short spray works but most of the time if we show them the can they stop what they are doing. I think it sounds like another cat hissing to them maybe?

  20. Ivy will calm down as she gets older, I’m sure. It’s funny, shes so alike my sweetie’s Lucy and yet so different – Lucy doesn’t get up on any of the hard furniture with the exception of one piece at the bottom of the stairs that is left empty for her. She never jumps on any tables or the counter….and never did. She’s older now, she’s 9, but as I’ve been with my sweetie for 8 years now I’ve known her since she was just a year old. I’m not sure what she was like as a kitten, maybe he trained her not to get up on things, who knows? She does like to chase and eat bugs and also plays hockey with her toys and sometimes her food….oh and she loves to play hockey or volleyball with crumpled up paper, and also with peanut m&m’s!!

    1. Sometimes when she’s bothering me I will take a piece of paper and wad it up for her to play with like you mention. She loves to bat it around. And put it in the bath tub. Does his cat put things in the bath tub?

  21. Ivy is just one curious, active kitten; her rampage will slow down, but no time soon I’m afraid. She knows you love her and I think she will continue to test you to see what she can get away with. You burned those photos out of anger and it sounds as though you’ve let that anger go, so don’t dwell on what’s been done as you can’t change it, keeping moving forward. Ivy, Charlie and you are a wonderful trio. I hope you daughter drops off a yummy plate of a Thanksgiving meal and that you enjoy every morsel.
    I’m on vacation after today for the week and intend to gather all Christmas that I’ve not used this year or in the past and am taking it to our local consignment shop and hope to make a little money for myself. It feels so good to let things go.
    Have a great Monday afternoon!
    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

    1. I’m going to go through all my Christmas stuff too when I get a chance. Today I’m working on the shelves he put up this weekend. I love rearranging things on them. And am so grateful for the extra storage space.

  22. And you are willful and stubborn and inquisitive and funny. I think they are all positive traits. You are firm in your comfort zone, and know yourself, and you are incredibly interesting and curious and make us laugh. You and Ivy Lou are a match made in feline heaven. She will mature out of some of it, but the best is when they are still amused with toys and playfulness as they age.

  23. I read your morning’s post and have to say I don’t this there is one breathing person on the face of this earth who has lived a life absolutely free from some regret at some point. I think it helps keep us all real and able to empathize with each other. When thoughts like these pop up in my mind, I try to be kind and compassionate with myself. Most everyone I know is simply doing the best they can.
    Once upon a time when I had kitties, I would put a bit of lemon juice along with water in a spray bottle. It won’t hurt, but gets their attention. We all want to move away from pain and towards pleasure, so maybe that will help. Brenda, I wish you a peaceful day.

    1. I don’t feel pain about the past. It’s just the past. And I do think most are just doing the best they can. Experiences that are painful make us more compassionate with others.

  24. Your trials have made you very strong and an inspiration to others. That’s been one purpose of your life, and I’m sure there are many, many others I don’t know about. But, rest assured, they are there.

    Ivy is so pretty. Cats are so different in their ways from dogs. I should think much harder to train as well. She’s fortunate to have you.

    Wishing you and your fur babies all the best this season.

  25. I am so glad that you found Ivy! She is truly a blessed kitty to be living with you and Charlie! I am very sorry about your parents’ abandonment of you, but thankful that your great grandmother wanted you. Your experiences have made you the person you are today, and I am sure all of your friends who read your blog are thankful and glad that you are who you are. I know that I am thankful because I always look forward to checking in to see what you and the precious fur babies are up to. I count you as a dear friend even though I have never met you, and probably will not, at least in this lifetime. Thank you for being you!

    1. I think of all of you as my friends too. Now it’s just a part of my past. Doesn’t bother me like it did when I was a kid and felt different from the other kids.

    2. Yes I agree with you Dottie.
      Brenda,
      So many children are unwanted in this painful world. Then again, even if an unwillingy parent keeps us, no telling how they’ll treat a child. Or understand their child. Happened to me. Each of us siblings were raised by a very neglectful mother. That’s the bare bones, and truth of it all. Very very difficult growing up with any dysfunctional parent. We didn’t all survive, or have a happy childhood. All of us. Our mother never should have had children. She was way too unloving. Thankful for our wonderful dad. He was the best. So fortunate for him. All my life I became a pet rescuer/adopter. My way of caring ❤ and loving unwanted precious pets. I don’t think we ever get over having a severe and hard childhood, into teenage years. It develops our individual personalities. P. S. Very sorry about the photos Brenda. I fully understand your reasoning though. I did the same to a mean aunt. Just destroyed all photos. When feelings are deeply injured, oftentimes beyond repair, we must give ourselves an honest break. Simple as that. Hope you feel better. I have RA. Winters are not good. Keep cozy Brenda! Think of spring/summer 2019! By the way, whirlwind Ivy Lou will ❤ eventually (when is a mystery!) settle down. I promise you! ENJOY THANKSGIVING.

  26. Good morning Brenda. I too was an unwanted child. I didn’t experience the heartbreaks to the extent you did. My parents didn’t give me away, but I grew up knowing I wasn’t wanted. Through my precious older sister’s guidance I turned to the Lord and find His Word to be a “very present help in time of trouble”. I read Psalm 143 in the first person when I seem to be at my wits end..like this morning.

    Which brings me to precious Ivy. This a.m. our newest kitten has knocked my pretty soap dispenser off the bathroom counter and broken it..spilling soap all over my recently cleaned floor. I found it at a thrift store and it was a perfect match for the decor. Two of my younger tomcats (all neutered) have ganged up on one of their brothers all morning. Another tom has decided he wants to kill my Loo Hoo who could be Ivy’s sister looks wise. We live in a rural area and neighbors around the road have ‘barn cats’.. Which means they never have any of them fixed. So they wander over here cold, wounded and hungry!

    I say all the above to agree .. there is no answer to the heartbreaking, unanswered ‘whys’ in this life but God’s Word does give peace in the midst of the storm. I hope the remainder of today will bring peace, joy, and comfort to you!!

    1. I think living with parents who make you feel unwanted would actually be worse to tell you the truth. I don’t understand why people don’t neuter pets. You can get a cheap deal for it in many places. In one place here I read it was $20. Sorry about your pretty soap dispenser!

  27. I don’t really know you, but I would venture to guess that willful, inquisitive, funny, and stubborn might have also been used to describe you. My parents divorced when I was 2 and my father never took an active role in parenting. My mother was great, but I always felt the abandonment and everything that goes along with that. It’s part of what makes us who we are. I wonder if that’s the good that comes from something so wrong. I know those 4 words have been used on more than one occasion to describe me.

  28. Life is full of why’s and what ifs and we can spend our entire life trying to figure them out. It is completely understandable that you would be angry at your mom and burn her photos, she abandoned you and you were afraid. I am sorry that you do not have the photos anymore, perhaps your sister has some that she might share with you?

    Thank God your grandmother sent for you!

    You are a strong woman, many people would have given up after everything you have been through but you forged ahead raised 2 daughters and 2 fur kids and now miss Ivy Lou.

    Have a great day

  29. Very touching about you and your relationship with Ivy. I am glad you are embracing he curious nature and love that she feels relaxed enough with you to be herself. As frustrating as she can be it is good to see you are letting her personality with limits of course come through. Training a willful pet is hard. Have you tried the loud noise of something clanking or ringing bells etc. Some cats are sensitive to noises and will associate that with what they are trying to climb on etc. Just a thought to try. Usually the water spray will work. She sounds like she just embraces everything with a positive in life. Can’t fault her for that! I am sorry about your childhood and having your parents abandon you like that. How awful for you. I am so sorry.
    Kris

    1. Well, I don’t know anything else. People used to ask me if I missed them and I’d say “you can’t miss what you never had.” It doesn’t bother me anymore. Yes, Ivy is a handful. But I’m embracing who she is.

  30. First, Ivy is hysterical! I love reading about her. Second, I’ve had kitties of “this color” – black and white and they’ve been my most energetic type cat! So I wonder if they are like dog breeds? You know, some are more hyper than others? I do have a recommendation. I own a circle toy (about 1 foot wide), with a ball in it that they can’t get out. They bat it round and round. It sounds like a great “movement” toy for Ivy. My cat at 8 still plays with it! (Do not get the enclosed one.) https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/bergan-star-chaser-turbo-scratcher-cat-toy?rrec=true or https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/petstages-tower-of-tracks-cat-toy?rrec=true

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