- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
For many many years both my wife and I yearned for a dog but, as we both worked long hours we sensibly felt it would be unfair to leave a dog alone all day so, having an equal love of cats, we headed that way.
My wife retired from work quite recently and I was considering suggesting we get a dog now she is at home. The fact we had 5 cats was, of course, going to be a factor. The cats were already here so any canine recruit would have to be capable of understanding that he/she was moving into a cat house – if you’ll pardon the expression.
In the event, as per an earlier contribution to MMA, our next door neighbours dog, Lacey, became our dog in an adopted sense, or rather my dog as she seems inordinately devoted to me.
This unexpected scenario made my wife and I privy to an experiment we hadn’t planned nor expected.
How would our cats react to the intrusion of a dog?
I have found it fascinating to observe this unplanned experiment. Whilst most of our ‘cats reactions’ are what could be expected, one in particular has been anything but.
Our youngest two cats, Purrrdy and Marie Bug, run as soon as they see Lacey. Lacey then chases them in what I perceive to be an instinctive way. This only occurs outside our house. Inside she ‘moves to chase’ when they run away but almost immediately stops and returns to me without any command to do so. Almost as if she senses that whilst ‘outside’ she can chase them, inside it is their turf and discretion is needed.
Stealthy (The Stealth Bomber) seems to sense Lacey is coming through our broken fence before we have any idea and heads upstairs. Perhaps 30 seconds later we hear Lacey’s claws on our kitchen floor if the door is open or we hear her bark as she sticks her head through the cat flap. Stealthy knows at least 30 seconds before we do that Lacey is en route.
The Emporer Maximus Spittimus (Wriggly Kitty) merely glares at Lacey once she enters the house, jumps up onto the dining table and ‘hisses’. At that point Maximus Spittimus forgets why he jumped onto the dining table and falls asleep. Well, he isn’t the brightest of cats you know.
All of the above are scenarios that I would expect when one of our cats encounters a dog in their home.
Then we come to Billy No Mates.
Billy No Mates belonged to a friend of my daughter. After having a baby she felt she couldn’t keep him so our daughter brought him home to us. As he answered to ‘Billy’ we felt we had to keep the name (daft name for a cat if you ask me. I give them sensible names like Maximus Spittimus and so forth. Oh. Erm. Yes. Quite) but, as our cats clearly didn’t like him – they were fine after several weeks but for several weeks it was all out war – I named him Billy No Mates and it stuck. Sorry Billy.
In the event his reaction to Lacey startled me.
Lacey came in wagging her tail and came face to face with Billy No Mates. Stealthy and the cat crew were long gone. Lacey stood looking at Billy No Mates and Billy No mates stood staring right back.
After a few seconds Lacey moved forward. Not aggressively, more of a ‘lets get to Norman as he will give me doggie treats’ sort of movement. Billy No Mates stood his ground and refused to flinch.
Billy neither hissed nor spat nor swiped a paw in Lacey’s direction. He just sat where he was as if to say ‘I’m sitting here dog so go around me or else’.
Lacey indeed went around him.
At that point Billy No Mates stood up, walked casually over to Lacey and started sniffing her bottom.
Now. Let’s be serious here. Dogs often sniff other dogs bottoms. Cats often sniff other cats bottoms.
Here we had a cat sniffing a dogs bottom. The expression on Lacey’s face was a picture – and, had I had my camera to hand I would have taken it. It seemed to say ‘WTF is going on here??? This is A CAT!!! Why is a cat sniffing my bottom???’
After 3 months of ‘walking’ Lacey for my neighbour a system has evolved.
Purrrdy and Marie Bug run away. Stealthy goes upstairs. The Emporer Maximus Spittimus (Wriggly Kitty) jumps on the table, hisses then falls asleep and Billy No Mates sniffs a dogs bottom.
Love them all to bits. What more could I ask for?