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  • Animals & The Natural Order

    We have a 13-year-old cat, Victoria, whose personality matches her name. She is quiet much of the time, enjoys being petted on occasion, and likes her routine of nap on chair/get up/eat/nap on bed/get up/bathroom/sun by doorway/sit on the window sill and trill like birds/nap on chair/wash-rinse-repeat.

    Victoria enjoys her routine so much that she is not afraid to use a little psychological warfare when necessary. A neighbor’s dog discovered this the hard way when he used our house as a timeshare while his primary caregivers were out of town. The dog ate Victoria’s food, so she proceeded to soil his. The dog tried to bump Vicky from the bed, so she proceeded to lie down in his bed and exfoliate fur all over it.

    After a couple of trips to our house, the dog’s short-term memory issues finally ended, and they reached a pleasant impasse. But it is obvious who is the true boss of our house, and it’s not the dog, no matter where his species may stand in the food chain.

    Earlier this year, Kate brought home a tomcat (Cairo) who was evicted peacefully from the 700-square-foot apartment where he lived with a couple, their newborn child, and another member of the feline species. Kate has long stated that she wanted another animal, and did the kid-typical, “I’ll take care of it, and do everything necessary to make sure that he is loved, etc.”

    That lasted about three days.

    What we discovered quickly is that Cairo is a high-maintenance, somewhat domineering animal with defined needs that he insists must be met. He has different meows to match those needs, which consist of rubbing on the head, rubbing on the back, making sure the food and water bowls are full at all times, and opening the door so he can go in or out at his whimsy.

    Victoria was not thrilled about Cairo’s presence and disruption of her routine, but she prefers to be non-confrontational. As long as Cairo stays away from her, Victoria is content to do the same. She has learned to deal with it, just as she has learned over time to deal with the dogs in her life.

    Cairo may be consistent in his persistence, but his cognitive skills leave a little to be desired. For some reason, even though he outweighs the neighbor’s new dog by a 2-to-1 margin, Cairo is terrified of him. He hides from the dog whenever possible. Strangely enough, when the dog comes over to check the kitchen floor for crumbs, the natural order of the house is restored, at least in Victoria’s eyes.

    And even though she hasn’t told me personally, I know it’s true. But I’m still not adding a dog permanently, no matter how much a child wants me to do so…