Reigning Cats and Dogs
I am a dog person. In fact, it seems that most of the members of my immediate family are dog people, although my 88-year-old mom once owned a cat. And, now that I think about it, she currently has a Chihuahua for a pet, which, size-wise, is basically a cat in dog’s clothing. Jeez, so maybe Mom is a closet cat person. Who’d a thunk it?
Dogs are trainable. Most people are trainable. So, maybe that’s why dogs and people get along so well. Cats are not trainable (as far as I know). Which is why a cat person is never really sure whether they own the cat or the cat owns them–who is training whom here? I am not the first to point this out, of course.
Certain aborigines of Australia, where apparently the loom has yet to be invented, reportedly gauge nighttime sleeping temperatures based upon how many dingos (which are essentially small, feral dogs) it takes to stay warm. On a normal night they might sleep in the embrace of a single, slumbering dingo, for example; on a cold night they might find it beneficial to round up two dingos with which to snuggle; and on freezing nights it takes the body heat from a stack of three dogs to keep the cold at bay. Thus the term, “three-dog night.” (Only a person on drugs would think this is a good name for a rock and roll band). And where is one’s better half in all of this? I am inclined to think that this nighttime routine might be limited to single guys who have knocked back a couple of six packs and think the dogs are in love with them. I must admit that I myself have awakened in the morning on a few such occasions only to find that I had spent the night with a dog.
So, what does a cat person do in this case? Since domestic cats are generally a lot smaller than dingos, I guess one would have to up-size the recipe, so that a “two dog night” would be the equivalent of a “four-cat night” or something like that. And cats are good at this snuggling business. Certainly you have observed a nest of kittens all sleeping together at one time–nothing but a toasty-warm, co-mingled puddle of warm, fuzzy fur with a few tail and ear tips sticking up at odd angles–and the purrs are a nice addition. Dogs are more likely to pass gas as they sleep.
I saw a photo in the newspaper this week where some guy had acquired three Siberian tiger cubs. (Is this a good idea? The pet store must have been fresh out of Anacondas.) They are so cute. This fellow was lying on the floor on his back and the three cubs were crawling all over him, licking his face and excitedly checking him out. He clearly thought they were just being delightfully affectionate kittens. Actually, I suspect they were more likely fascinated with the prospect of having such a huge meal available once they get big enough to eat it (my mother always scolded me when I played with my food at the dinner table). I will be keeping an eye out for more news releases on this guy a year or so from now.
Big cats like tigers can be pretty scary. But so can dogs. My neighbor’s wife across the street gave her husband a beautiful German shepherd puppy for his birthday last year–Coco is her name. And Coco is now in charge of that side of the street. They no longer have any need for a sidewalk over there.
Our neighborhood has a flock of feral cats in the woods behind our houses. They really don’t bother me much. There are a couple of them that like to sun themselves on my patio in the afternoons but dart off into the palmettos at the slightest movement on my part. There are many folks who are rightfully concerned about the proliferation of these poor animals and wring their hands as they try to figure out a way to get rid of them. I think releasing a pack of feral dogs back there would probably do the trick.
I have had cats and dogs most of the time together. Dogs want to please us and cats want us to please them. Some cats when raised with a dog think they are a dog. We don’t tell them any different. One cat ran a burgler out of the house when the family was asleep. Would not want to disturb a large male cat in HIS home.
We had another cat that would get on the kitchen counter to open the cabinet and push treats down to the dog. Not sure what he was training the dog to do.