Ch. F: Klumsy Kat, But Only When Anxious (1st 2 pp.)

Klumsy Kat has multiple disabilities/ differences, which actually increases her lovableness to everyone in the Coppola home, including Aspie Mouse. This shorter-than-average chapter (15-20 pp.?) has no villain (like Chapter E). A female cat with multiple disabilities who plays with Aspie Mouse, gets his help to reduce anxiety and thus clumsiness. However, Claire is apparently allergic to KK, so the cat needs to go, much to everyone in the house’s dismay. For now, only the first two pages have been developed and these will probably spread out a bit to reduce the amount of text per panel.

Notes for Chapter F, “Klumsy Kat, But Only When Anxious” (first 2 pages for now)

Klumsy Kat as a character was developed around the same time as Stupid Mouse (Aspie Mouse’s forebear) when the Author of this Graphic Novel was 12 years old. But while Klumsy Kat often appeared in issues of Stupid Mouse in separate one-page stories — and was one of three cats featured in separate 16-page comic book specials called “The Cats” — she (ex-he) wasn’t involved in any stories with Stupid Mouse.

To make Klumsy Kat more 3-dimensional and truly unique — as the only cat who’d prefer playing with AM to wanting to kill him — she got a makeover: first, KK became a she; next — as when Stupid Mouse became Aspie Mouse — her former “stupid look” of one eye up, one eye down was replaced by having one “lazy eye” to help explain coordination issues; then she’s made deaf, as all-white cats usually are (she was always all-white). Also, her front paws were de-clawed, an all too-often procedure done to keep cats from scratching the furniture, usually with bad psychological and even physical problems resulting for the cat. Finally, she likely also has Autism, helping explain her “unexpected” behavior of not wanting to kill mice or birds.

Despite her apparent compatibility with the Coppola family, Klumsy Kat (or KK) ends up in trouble. When Klumsy Kat gets anxious, she causes a lot of upheaval: breaking things, interrupting meal preparation and other activities. Anxiety leading to upheaval is quite widespread in society, but especially pervasive for those with Autism. This is where Aspie Mouse comes in: he helps KK find ways to reduce her anxiety, which reduces her clumsiness. However, when Gloria Coppola discovers that Claire is allergic to cats — at least to Klumsy Kat — they get rid of her, much to Aspie Mouse’s (and everyone else in the house’s) dismay.

Questions for Thought/ Discussion: Ch. F, ” Klumsy Kat, But Only When Anxious “

F 1: On the first page of this chapter, several different “body language” postures and cues are shown.

a. How good are you in interpreting other people’s facial features and body language?

b. What’s unusual about the way Bobby and Aspie Mouse are sitting in the first panel? What do you think it means?

c. In separate panels, Bobby and AM each fold their arms in front of their chest. Does it mean the same thing for both of them? What does it mean? Do you ever fold your arms in front of your chest? If yes, what does it mean when you do it?

d. Aspie Mouse nods up and down (we know that means yes), but also spins around “in circles” after Bobby draws a picture of a cat. Do you agree that AM spinning around in circles means for AM what Bobby says it would mean for him — “positive excitement?” Do you sometimes spin around in circles? If yes, what does it mean for you?

d. In the last panel on Page 1, Mrs. Coppola puts her hand on her forehead. What do you think it means for her? Do you sometimes slap your forehead? What does it mean for you?

F 2: Klumsy Kat is introduced right away as having “multiple disabilities” — hearing and eyesight issues, plus having been de-clawed. There’s little dispute these are “disabilities” (or disorders). On the other hand, people with Autism often dispute having their brain function described that way, vs. as “differences.”

a.  Why do you think Mrs. Coppola is particularly afraid of letting Klumsy Kat (KK) go outside? What might happen to KK outside?

b. How much do you think KK’s “differences/ disabilities” vs. other cats matter in how positively Claire and AM in particular react initially to KK?

c. What concerns would you have about KK if she met up with a fiercer cat (such as Brilli in Ch. C or the ASPCA cat in Ch. D? In Ch. G, you’ll see just such a meetup.

d.  What is your position as to whether — or to what extent — Autism is a difference? a disorder? a disability?

e. Do you, like KK, have “multiple conditions” (one or more besides Autism) that society considers a disorder or disability? If yes, how do these/ does this other condition(s) increase your difficulties in dealing with the non-Autistic world? What positives do you have from this/ these additional condition(s)?

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