I have to think about this. Father just told me that there may be new kitties in the house sometime soon, and I’ll be their older brother.
He said I’ll be the one to teach them how things work in the house. It’s such a great responsibility; what to teach them first? I know. “This is my bowl; never eat out of it. This is your bowl… if you can’t finish your food, call for me to help you.
Father accused me of being churlish. The $95 charge to poison control was the issue.
I can’t help that they left those wonderful nuts out where I could reach them. I was still licking out the container when Dad got home. Yum. They were almost as good as the chocolate fudge coffee brownies I ate last month. Mom was mad at me then. Now, that was fantastic! Yes, I was up all night and had to pee a lot, but now I watch Mom closely when she bakes.
Maybe she’ll leave something out and forget how high I can reach. As Father likes to say, “Hope springs eternal.” But it is just my great legs for jumping high and clearing the kitchen counter.
I grew up in a household where the cat and the dog formed a powerful duo dedicated to theft. Typically the two cordially occupied different parts of the house and minimally associated, but put something on the table they mutually desired, and it was the Mission Impossible team. The classic mission was when my godmother brought an elaborate cake for a Sunday gathering. Placed on the table, the people soon left the room to socialize in the living room, out of sight and mind, but only for the humans. Soon Daisy ( our cat) came to scout, and Honey ( our dog)took her station at the door to observe the humans. The cat reported that the goodies were acceptable, and the routine started. She was slowly nudging the cake toward the corner of the table. Honey was in the doorway, keeping watch. Suddenly there was a thud as the cake hit the floor. Next came the feast. The humans were in the other room unwrapping presents, telling stories, having cocktails, and other bewildering human activity.
The cat nibbled delicately, the cake really was not her favorite, but the dog stuffed in as much as possible in the seconds between the cake hitting the ground and the humans coming to investigate. Now came the escape. The cat scampered into a neat hidey hole and avoided the worst punishment. Honey, while small, was too large to disappear under a bed conveniently. She was chased about the apartment until all that exercise proved too much for a cake-stuffed tummy, and she barfed up the cake on my godfather’s shoes. I was soon implicated by laughter; I had little love for my godfather, and instead of seeing the tragedy of his expensive shoes being ruined, I saw a pompous ass brought gutter low.
Later I commiserated with the cat and dog. We had all three of us been punished. Me doubly, because I snuck dinner to the dog and the cat. My parents saw this as a betrayal of my godparents. My godparents had left in a huff, swearing not to return until “that cat and dog” were gone. Ahh…good riddance to bad cess! Cats and dogs. Forever!
What happened? The UPS truck is coming! He always leaves a biscuit for me. Oh, and a package for someone, but that’s not important. Those Post Office people, FedEx, and Amazon folks are dismal failures. How can they come to my house and be so rude!
Dog biscuits? What about some Greenies, Bursts, or Friskies Party Mix? Something with a bit of glamour for a cat. Get with it, you delivery people.
About fifty percent of my work time is spent at my computer in my home office; my wife works nights and sleeps during the days, so guess who I interact with most? The family cat and dog.
Xenia, her imperial majesty, insists on four-star culinary service, comfortable beds, and open doors so she can bed down anywhere in the house she desires—Max, AKA the hound, is an expert at snatching kitty food while no one is looking and terrorizing chipmunks in the woodpile. It can be a bit of a circus.
Every afternoon at about four thirty, a ritual brings together the kitty and the hound in a union-like solidarity. Dinner. Sitting staring at the clock, they silently tell my wife or me that dinner must be promptly served in the main dining room no later than five PM. After which the domestic staff is free to do whatever they want until “tenzies.”
Around ten, Xenia is looking for a bedtime snack, and Max is also in the mood for a little “something.” After which, the domestics are again free to retire for the night.
I guess it’s like John Milton once said, “They also serve, who only stand and wait.”
OK, so what. Yes, I helped Kitty finish her breakfast, my breakfast, and her lunch. We have a mutual assistance agreement. She gets too much, and I finish it for her. She and I have a deal. I clean up after her. It’s not normal to go away and leave food in a bowl. No one in my family would do that. Puppies eat till there is nothing there. I suspect that cats are so skinny because they have bad eating habits.
But the deal ties Kitty and me together. She needs me to clean up for her, and I need the calories; I’m still a growing pup.
Hey! It makes it easier on you, the housekeeper. What do you mean you’re not? I see you picking up the empty bowls all the time. And who else puts my toys away in the toy box? Not me!
Don’t get so angry. That’s only going to…what’s the work the kitty used on me the other day when she was so mad? That’s only going to “exacerbate” the problem. So now do what Mom tells you to do. Please take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Count to ten? Whatever.
Look, it’s just going to happen. I need the calories. The more I zoom around, chase you over the yard, guard the house against the mailman ( you can’t trust those guys), bark at dogs in the street, and beg for dinner, the more food I need! So I have a high demand for calories.
Dad hurt my feelings today. He was reading his blogs this morning and noticed that an Australian blogger used the word “furphy.” when he looked it up, he said it meant an unreliable or false report. Later, when Mom said I was growing up and becoming a mature dog, Kitty, and Dad started laughing and saying that that was a real furphy. Then my sister’s boyfriend said my nickname should be Captain Chaos, and everyone laughed. After thinking about it, I like the sound of Captain Chaos as a nickname. Do I look like Captain Chaos to you? Of course, but superheroes need relevance. I could be a destroyer of evil gray fuzzy tails and a chaser of fanatic destructive chipmunks. Kitty is rolling around in the catnip again, saying I’m a cumbersome nuisance. A superhero gets no respect in his own home. Do I need a cape? A mask? How about a cat sidekick? Sshit! She’s coming for me. I’m outta here!
Father says that this help makes things clearer for him. I’m not sure I agree, but the kitty says they make me look ridiculous. I think they make me look dignified. Ready for a career as a TikTok influencer? The kitty says she’s unsure she could continue living in this house with such a stigma. And that I should try out dog food commercials instead. They always are looking for undiscriminating hounds with big appetites. The finale could be my imitation of a canine vacuum cleaner on a bag of spilled kibble.
I wish she’d stop listening to Father use all those big words and say what she means!
Max: “The kitty told me to bring a full box home. They are sooooo fuzzy.” Dad: ” They are as rambunctious as you. Not exactly what we need around the house.” Max: ” But dad, the kitty said that after they grow up, they would…what’s the word she used…augment her food supply.” Dad: “Hey, Max, want to go to the toy aisle and see what they have for good dogs?” A tug, pulls on the leash and lurch to the other side of the Tractor Supply Store. No chicks were harmed in writing this post.
Not all teachers are human. My most influential non-human teacher was my gray cat Clancy J Bumps ( don’t ask what the J was for, he didn’t like to be called by it and would attack madly). Among the nicknames he earned was – The Grey Menace. The Menace loved to fight. But he almost always won through strategy and intimidation. Few cats or dogs dared actually to engage him in full combat. The enormous German shepherd learned this lesson the hard way. He thought the kitty was a handy snack. The Menace was tied on a leash in the yard. The dog did not know that the leash had a breakaway section for times just like that. Clancy mewed piteously and lured the dog into our yard. He then snapped the lead, assaulted the dog, and sent it into a hurried attempt to clamber over an eight-foot palisade fence. Afterward, the Menace sat there licking the blood of his claws. The dog’s owner was furious. I pointed out that the dog was collar and leashless, outside his yard and in mine. The dog also had attacked my poor, innocent cat. I refused to pay the dog’s vet bills. Although the Menace tried to lure the dog back into the yard again, it whimpered every time it saw Clancy in the yard.
An excellent example of a teacher you’re thinking? Well, he tended to make friends with his foes after fights. Seeing four or so cats basking in the sun was amusing. With catnip growing as a weed in the garden, the afternoons often turned into catnip nap sessions. The Menace was fiercely loyal to his friends and would threaten to tear you up if you threatened them. He also knew when to make a face-saving retreat and take credit for a victory. He was a gourmet who loved chile, roast beef subs ( with hots, please), and relished a good dance party.
What did I learn from him? First, you should attack fiercely when attacked, make peace afterward, and enjoy life to its fullest.