I have never really been a pet person, I like animals, but they always seem like too much hassle. Currently I have 2 cats that I essentially looking after until I can get them their required jabs and get them to Sarah and the kids. I have experienced dogs and cats over the years, along with goldfish and hamsters….but cats always seem to win in the pet vote.
When I was a nipper, my nan and grandad had a dog, I forget its name but it used to get so excited when you came back into the house, that it would actually pee…it would do this whilst running around and jumping up at you. Not the most pleasant experience. Now, a lot of dogs are excited to see you and in fact I guess that can make up a lot of the attraction for having them. Unfortunately, this dog would get excited to this level if you closed a door behind you and then opened it again…..
My mum and dad had 2 dogs a while ago. A big pedigree labrador and a little long haired terrier thing. Now Storm (the lab) was fun, but placid and generally no trouble. Callie (I think) was different type of dog entirely, and took to trying to dig up the flooring in the house. Unfortunately, as big as Storm was, Callie was clearly the boss. Eventually getting Storms help in the big Dog Food Theft of ’98. They tunnelled through the wall into the cupboard where their food was…
I have even tried dog ownership myself. I am a firm advocate of rescuing animals, but I have to say I would be dubious about rescuing dogs in the future. Labradors are generally considered to be placid and docile creatures, but the one I chose to rescue was a cross between the Tasmanian Devil and the Hound of the Baskervilles. Brandy, not sure why we chose that name, had this amazing ability to leg it at any given opportunity. Unfortunately chasing after her made her turn on you. Not chasing after her, made her turn on other people. Quite the dilemma. She also resolutely refused to be house trained. We finally had to find her a new home.
Sasha we got as a puppy and she was adorable. Very friendly and gave the impression of being quite intelligent. She had her moments though. The most memorable for me is when I was living in Ollerton at the weekend and working in Cardiff. Occasionally I would leave early doors on Monday morning, head to the hotel, get changed and go straight to work. When this happened, I hung up my suits and shirts near the front door the night before, so that I could grab them, throw them in the car and go with minimal chance of disturbing the house. This I duly did, drove to Cardiff, got into the hotel and started to get dressed for work. It was at this point that I notice that none of my trousers have buttons…and that they have a distinctly chewed look about them. Same for the shirts. I end up having to run and buy new clothing and was late to work.
My first cat was a rescue cat. Lorrin and I decided that a cat would be a good pet. Loving but minimum effort as they can be pretty much trusted to do what they wanted. So off we trot to the local vetinary clinic that did a bit of pet re-homing following rescue. We are told that there are 2 cats available and proceed to bring out the cutest little tabby kitten. Clearly loving, this little thing came up to us and was purring the whole time. Lorrin fell in love and I was pretty impressed. They tell us that the kitten is recovering from cat flu, so wouldn’t be available for at least 2 weeks. At this point I ask to see the other one. The assistant shrugs her shoulders and disappears into the back. A lot of banging and clattering takes place, coupled with some muffled swearwords and eventually the assistant comes out holding what can only be described as a minature Tasmanian Devil….only with an attitude. She follows the same protocol and puts the cat on the desk near the kitten – Where it decides that the kitten is obviously lunch. Lorrin tries to stroke the cat and it goes into beserk mode. I try to stroke the cat and….it lets me. Weird. So obviously I choose the bundle of fury over cutesy. Hey, cats need to be fun too right? Ebony (Ebby for short) begins a veritable reign of terror on Lorrin. She chases her round the house, literally climbs the wallpaper and net curtains. Lorrin can’t put her feet down off the sofa without being attacked. All of this would take place whilst I was at work, clearly Lorrins place in the pecking order had been defined. When I would get home from work, the reign of terror would stop, Ebby would jump up onto my lap, curl up and go to sleep. Evil Genius cat.
Then their is the pedigree side (for pedigree read stupid). When mum and dad were living in Berlin, mum got 2 persian kittens. They were designated as house cats, and lets face it, if you have ever seen a persian cat, you do NOT want to be grooming it after it has been out running through grass and mud etc. We were there one christmas and on christmas eve the snow started falling. By christmas morning we had over 8 inches of snow – It was fantastic. So everyone was running in and out of the house. Eventually the door was left open and one of the cats made a break for it….and sank into snow well above its head. Where it waited to be rescued and transferred into the warmth.
Another cat, Amy, instinctively knew what clothing was important and needed for the following day and would be guaranteed to shed all over whatever you made the mistake of lying out. My dad came to visit once, and pre-warned about the cat, left it until the morning to lay his suit out for the day. He went to have a shower and 5 minutes later was cursing at me in a number of languages…some of which I don’t even think were real. Amy also had a tendency to sleep in the sink. If you weren’t paying attention, the first you knew of it was her trying to shave your face with her claws after you turned the tap on.
And that brings me to Ollie and Berry, the cats currently living with me. Berry is very skittish and Ollie is a methodical feline evil genius, who enjoys nothing more than tormenting the unwary, and in particular Berry. As recently as this morning, he saw that I was going to shoo Berry from the bathroom and positioned himself just right, so that when she ran past he was already up on his back legs ready to swipe her. His favourite trick though, is to see where you have left the treats, steal them and then rip the packaging to shreds to get at them. There are other stories, but I suspect you are bored of animals….providing you have even read this far…
Dogs essentially focus on the nearest person, hoping for some form of interaction. When that interaction doesn’t come they move on to the next person, however, even without the slightest hint they will go back to a previous source of rejection….all within the space of less than a minute. There are exceptions to the rule of course, there was the infamous Lassie and I even know a very smart dog personally (W of Z fame).
Cats on the other hand are interesting creatures. They have an air of authority and intellect, every cat you meet sizes you up and makes a determination as to what part of the pecking order you fit into. Sometimes you are lucky and don’t find yourself at the bottom, othertimes you aren’t so lucky.
So what have we learned here class? Well….certainly dogs are generally stupid, whilst cats are intelligent, cunning and only require human intervention until they work out the whole opposable thumbs deal…
I will leave you with something I was sent a looong time ago, it is a bulletpointed, step by step process about giving a cat medication. I bring you, Cats and Pills:
Subject: Instructions For Giving Your Cat A Pill:
1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.
4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10.
5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.
6. Kneel down on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold cat’s head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat’s mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.
7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with its head just visible from below spouse’s armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw and force cat’s mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
12. Ring fire department to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil.
13. Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Force cat’s mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour a pint of water down throat to wash pill down.
14. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room; sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture shop on way home to order new table.
15. Arrange for SPCA to collect cat and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.