Bullies are just jealous!

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Ethan,

The stupid pest-dogs told me that you were getting bullied. Now, as a cat, I do not understand why you would let anyone bully you. The only one who gets to pick on you is ME. But still, I guess when you’re away from home there isn’t much you can do. Or is there?

As a cat, I have learned to combine my lightning ninja skills with my superior acting prowess. Sometimes I use my retractable razor-claws to make others bleed their way into submission. I randomly ninja-swipe anyone who walks past my hidey-hole. The screams turn my purrs into throaty, velvety laughter!

Yet, once in a while, not too often, I need the sympathy of those kinder, gentler, and stupider beings who hold the key to happiness: the can opener. Yes, I’m talking about your parents. They mean well but they really are quite gullible, aren’t they?

So, on rare yet festive occasions, such as when I have broken something your mom really, really likes, I wait until your mom or dad has run into the room, and I roll around and around on the floor and cry pathetically. Did I mean to smash your mom’s vase? Absolutely! But why not get some treats and dog-blaming while I’m at it?

You see, I never roll and yowl until the dogs come in to see what has happened; THEN I let my acting skills kick in!  I arch my back and hiss at the dogs and make my eyes big in my “they scared me” routine.

Your parents shoo the dogs away and then your mom picks me up in an admittedly-not-awful cuddle hug. She walks me to my countertop and gives me tantalizing turkey treats. Sometimes she even tells the dogs to get out of the kitchen and leave me alone!

OKAY, so CLEARLY I am fabulous, but how does that apply to you and your sister?

See, bullies are going to exist whether you do the right thing or not. It stinks to get picked on (not that I’d know, I’m usually on the other side of things) but why not have some fun with it?

Instead of playing it SAFE, play it SMART.

Record what happens by turning on your phone-thingy and putting it in your pocket before you walk down the hall. Stop trying to act all brave. Ask for help already! We all know you’re brave. We’ve seen the way the bus driver steers the bus, you HAVE to be brave just to ride the bus to school and home again!

Give the recording to your parents. Admit that you need help. You can trust your parents. They’re dumb and a bit naïve, but they love you. And they buy food, bonus! And remember that whatever the bully says isn’t true.

Bullies try to hurt people because they’re damaged. Your mom calls them toxic. They hit you or say bad words, and the words all seem to be like these weird arrows that open up every bubble of fear or sadness inside you. Bullies have had a lot of target practice and are used to shooting down souls. Don’t let them get away with it.

Every time a bully says something mean and the words start to bleed on your heart, think about how you would feel if they said the same thing to your mom and dad or even your sister. Would you believe those words then? Would you let your family hit themselves over and over with bad words, or would you fight to help them break those word-arrows?

Come on, we both know the answer. You would never let anyone hit your mom and dad’s targets. And they don’t want anyone to hit yours. Don’t let bullies own you, and don’t let them change you.

Mind you, I still think razor-sharp claws would take care of the problem double-quick, but the dogs say you can’t hit back. So you’re gonna have to hit them with your mind. Me personally, I think the bullies are jealous.

You’re different, sure, but your family loves you and they show up to everything. EVERYTHING. Even when they embarrass you and act like their silly-selves, they always come to school events and band practices and plays and rehearsals. You can’t really get away from those weirdos, am I right?

But, have you noticed? You never see the bully-kids at anything. They aren’t at the plays or the carnivals. Your mom said she’s never seen their parents at all either.

Do you think the bullies are just jealous because you’re loved so much?

Then again, maybe the bullies are just jealous because you have the world’s most attractive, most intelligent calico cat to rule over you. Heck, I’d be jealous of me if I wasn’t myself!

For the record kiddo, you may be one can short of a tuna case, but you’re family and I’ll scratch anyone, any time, just for you. Heck, I may do that anyway.

Love from your favorite feline,



You can’t eat a report card!

Dear Ethan,

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

I heard you got bad grades this term. It’s okay. Seriously. If it makes you feel any better, I never got a good report card and look how great I turned out! Of course, cats don’t actually go to school, so my not getting a report card (good or bad) wasn’t a big deal any way.

You have to put things in perspective. Perspective is a big word that adults use to sound fancy, like they know what they’re talking about. (As an adult human, the more big words you use the more money you can get.) Perspective means how you look at something. So, having the right perspective is important.

If you’re drowning in the Atlantic Ocean (or any ocean, for that matter) will your report card save your life? No. (If you answered “yes”, you’re in more trouble than I thought.) If a bank robber grabs a gun and tries to shoot you, will the report card block the bullet? No. If you’re starving to death, can you eat your report card? Okay, maybe that one is a yes, but the report card won’t taste good, and once it’s gone, you’ll be hungry again.

Good grades are important, don’t get me wrong, but you shouldn’t get too upset. Just try harder next time. Or don’t. Us cats only try hard when there is food involved. Nothing else is worth that much effort.

Your mom says the teacher doesn’t like you because you’re different, but it’s okay. You’re great, everyone else is boring. One of these days you will be King Cat and make wayyyy more money than him. More money means more fish. That’s an idea! Maybe you should take your teacher some fish. Would he accept tuna as a bribe? I know I would. A good plate of fish would certainly make me like you a lot better.

OH-Don’t think I’m getting nice or anything. I’m gonna swipe at you later. Probably.