Friday, September 26, 2008

The inappropriate relationship between the cat and dog

Once again, I will prove to you that I spend entirely too much time with my pets.

I am sure most of you believe I am that crazy animal person who sews little outfits for her dogs and parades them all over town in a baby carriage. You may think I am the one who organizes elaborate parties for my dogs and purchases party clothes for them to wear for the occasion (actually, I do know someone who does this). I have never planned a dog wedding, and I have never once believed my dogs actually speak to me (although, I do sometimes think I understand what they are thinking).

I realize I am a little partial to my animals, and I do think of them as my own very hairy children. For years, my dogs have been a sense of comfort, and as a single gal, they offer me not only protection but companionship. In addition, my dogs offer unconditional love, and that is something rare in the world today.

That being said, I just wanted to be clear about my sanity before I shared the following story.
Several months ago, I adopted a stray cat that wandered up to my office one Tuesday night. The cat was very persistent about receiving attention from me and my staff, and the next morning, when we arrived for work, she was waiting for us.

Fearing she would be hit by a car, I took her home and created a home for her in my storage room. It is very comfortable, and she would be quite cozy and protected from the environment. However, Deadline (the name my staff christened her with) would rather live inside the house with my dogs. Being slightly allergic, I have resisted her ceaseless attempts to move in.

I do, however, allow her to occasionally visit, and she immediately stretches out on the sofa and grooms herself in her pretentious, cat-like manner. She does not attempt to roam the house -- trying to sharpen her claws on my upholstery or leaving wads of cat hair on the carpet. She is quite the low-maintenance, occasionally-indoor feline.

Recently, however, I have noticed a change in Deadline. The endless grooming, the staring, the snuggles. I have come to believe Deadline is madly in love with my Chihuahua, Don Juan. Okay, before you scold me for my ridiculous notions and run-away imagination allow me to present my evidence (and please do not think I am a raging lunatic for studying this).

First, Don Juan is an exceptional Chihuahua, and I believe he agrees with this notion. He tends to prance about displaying his fine features, and he is usually very aware of females of any species. In other words, he loves the ladies.

Deadline will follow Don Juan around the back yard, and if he stops and sits, she will sit next to him. If he lays in the grass, basking in the sunshine, she will curl around him and groom him until he growls and lets her know he is no longer interested.

Second, when Deadline comes inside the house for a visit, she will curl around Don Juan as he sleeps – very litter-like. She will groom him for hours, and he will allow it – with his eyes closed as she licks his ears, chin, and head. I have even noticed that he will adjust himself for Deadline to get a better angle behind his ears (he likes to be rubbed behind his ears).

When he is tired of her attention, Don Juan will growl, and Deadline will move just inches away and stare at him while he sleeps.

The entire situation is very peculiar, and I am slightly disturbed by the unnatural and inappropriate relationship between the two animals. Don Juan adores attention and is more than likely welcoming of a nice massage by the cat. However, when he has enough, he lets her know, and she moves along.

Deadline is a different story. She is drawn to Don Juan. She will seek him out and situate herself next to him when the opportunity arises. When he shuns her, she will move away and stare at him longingly.

Why is Don Juan like cat nip to Deadline? Do other cats act like this, and being a perpetual dog person, I am unaware? Have I completely revealed myself as someone who should probably stop studying the social habits of my animals and get a hobby? You’re right, I should.


____Maggie said...

I can see how you might feel uncomfortable in your own home with all the licking and oogling! I wish I could see them together!

Hey, if we lived in Califoria, a pet psychologist would surely be on someone's speed dial. ;D

Sorry, I'm no help.

Dana said...

This is amazing! Maybe Deadline was a chihuahua in another life...

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