Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Cat's Meow

"Stop chasing the cat!" is an often repeated phrase in my house. Usually it applies to Cora who is busy chasing a cat who has teased her into pursuit. You'd think the cats would know by now that if they goad the dogs there are consequences that sometimes end in being tasted by a large puppy. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I say "Don't chase the kitty!" at least one dog falls for the bait and races through the house to attempt to latch onto the furry orange bullet, or in Ceilidh's case, marshmallow.

The cats get watched with interest in almost everything they do that involves movement. Walking across the floor, jumping on a shelf, walking across the TV stand, cleaning themselves on a chair ... it all holds riveting fascination for the dogs. Esme is not immune to the allure of the cat and she attempts to herd them whenever possible. Clearly Esme has never heard the term 'as difficult as herding cats' and even if she did it wouldn't make any difference, she couldn't stop herding if she tried.

I can often stop the dogs with a sharp NO! when I see them eyeballing the cats but sometimes they catch me unaware and the chase is on. Usually this ends in a stand off of "Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!" for the dog and feigned indifference and a little disgust for the cat. There are lots of places for the cats to jump to out of reach so I don't often worry for their safety however once or twice I have caught a certain puppy's jaws wrapped around the back of a cat's neck. Said cat usually looks a little bedraggled and spit-ified but is otherwise unharmed. Whenever I see this activity I say "Don't touch the kitty!" and Cora's expression is always "I was just tasting it" as she walks away a little chagrined. I don't worry too much about actual damage to the cats because one time a 'tasting' got a little too involved and when the cat made a yowling protest Cora let go and leaped backward like she'd been stung. I've never seen a cat scratch a dog and given the resident cats I don't think I ever will - they are just too good natured.

My cats are like the Supreme Dog Tolerant Cats of the Universe. Ceilidh actually behaves much like a dog and both she and Weasley often meet me at the door when I come home. I don't generally like leaving them for a weekend because I know they like my company and miss the activity in the house when we're all gone. Perhaps not so much being 'tasted' but certainly the noise and company. Mallaig is a little more shy and she gets shut away when I'm not home, is less inclined to meet guests at the door and is a little more suspicious of the dog's true 'tasting' intentions. However, she has never raised a paw to a dog, good thing too as she is not declawed. She also likes to 'relax' in unusual places ... like on the drying rack.

Anyone who has visited me can attest to Ceilidh's determination that if you don't like cats you will before you leave or if you do like cats you will hate her by the time you leave. She's like a burr that won't let go. She is extremely insistent about being paid attention to by strangers to the point that she sometimes needs to be shut away because when people come to my house they are often here to see the dogs. It is probably difficult to believe but it's hard to see a Ridgeback through Ceilidh.

Weasley and Boy are kindred spirits. He was born on Boy's first birthday at my brother's house in Calgary and when I saw him at 3 weeks old, even though I already had two orange kitties, I had to have him. He has the most unreal and amazing orange eyes I've ever seen on a cat. He certainly suits his name; he's mischevious, smarter than he acts, a bit dramatic about things, takes a lot of his cues from the girl in his life (Ceilidh), and is Boy's devoted best friend. What's not to love about that face?

Even though he is now 3 1/2 years old he is still very kitten-like and is often the cat responsible for goading the dogs into playtime. As evidenced by this photo from when he was a little kitten, he is certainly the most connected to the dogs - Boy clearly being his dog of choice.

Even if you have a cat that doesn't like dogs they can live in harmony quite easily, my dogs are never loose with the cats when I'm not home so I don't worry about them hurting each other. If there is a chase it's pretty obvious and I try to put a stop to it right away. The chasing is less about attempting to do damage and more about the pursuit of fun but accidents happen so I try to be diligent about supervising. However, woebetide any stray, neighbour or feral cat that gets into my yard or is seen out on a walk, those cats, according to Leeloo, must all DIE. Cora and Boy just want to taste them.

No comments: