Last September the kids and I went to the Bangor Humane Society and brought home 2 kittens. The children and cats played, Julia Ellen dragged them around, and I fed them and cleaned their litter. Today the cats are 1 year old and one of them is not welcome in our house anymore. Star, the girl kitty, loves to lounge around all day and is polite. Night, the boy cat, is huge, muscular, and gets into trouble every day. He gets on the kitchen counters, knocks over vases of flowers, and likes to drink out of the faucet. Fresh water in his bowl every morning is not apparently aerated enough so his latest trick is to turn on the faucet by nudging the handle of the kitchen sink, leaving the water to run for hours. He doesn't merely threaten to let the well go dry, but since the hot water faucet is easier to manipulate, I have woken several mornings to steam rising from the furnace room vent, his having used so much hot water that the tank has refilled and was being heated by expensive propane. I've taken to putting mixing bowls over the handles, but it isn't really a long term solution.
Several times I've gotten so mad to throw him outside, but all that will do is bring fleas into the house. He can't stay out there because he would be food for the nightly howling coyotes in a matter of days. But since his other trick in the past few weeks is sitting in the mudroom and bolting out the door, I think he really wants to live outside. The only option seems to be to turn Night into a barn cat. He can spend time outside, go into the barn to sleep through a kitty door, and keep the mice under control. Just as the Little Golden book, Four Little Kittens, bases its story around the idea that kittens, like children, have different personalities and vocations, some kittens are just meant to be alley cats, ship cats, barn cats, or house cats and no amount of behavior modification is going to change that.