Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Cat's Side of the Story

Someone asked me how the cat feels about her new home, so I thought I'd reveal her whole side to this story.

To your left you see The Cat. This is my cat. Normally she lives at my apartment, but since we're here now, The Cat had to come too. We actually brought her over here when we went on vacation, so she's been here for about 3 weeks or so. She likes it here, mainly for the lizards, but also because there are a lot of windows and one of her favorite activities is looking out of windows. This is what led me to the brilliant idea of putting her on a leash so that she can take long walks with Bomboclaat and I. Because cats love walking on leashes.

The Cat, whose stage name is Canela, surprisingly adores Bomboclaat. You would think a cat, MY cat, would have better taste in animal companions, but she apparently sees some hidden virtue in the dog to which I am utterly blind. Perhaps he is like an older brother to her. When I found Canela in the parking lot of the Bubblegum Kittikat, as a tiny worm-butted kitten, I brought her home to my parents' old house, Casa Azul, because that is where I lived. Bomboclaat had already established his dominance there and Canela perhaps looked up to him. I'm not exactly sure. There was none of the expected chasing, hissing or barking one would normally expect. There seemed instead to be a mutual admiration.

I moved out into my own place shortly thereafter and Canela came to my apartment as my roommate (a demanding one who wouldn't clean up after herself). Canela and Bomboclaat had not seen one another in years. I assumed they had forgotten each other, but I was wrong. Apparently animals can remember one another just like people and where again I expected a knock down drag out, instead I witnessed the sweet reunion of old friends.

I'm fascinated by how they communicate, because Bomboclaat is deaf and Canela is not. They both make noise, but I'm guessing that Bomoclaat being deaf, can't speak properly dog language, or if he can, he's really hard for other dogs to understand. Then there's the whole issue of dog vs. cat. I thought each species had its own language and there was little to no crossover. I thought Canela spoke Cat and Bomboclaat attempted to speak Dog. Someone here is bilingual. These two seem like they have in-depth discussions about last night's Charlie Rose.

Maybe by living together they developed a hybrid language. Since Canela did not grow up around other cats, Bomboclaat was her mentor. Maybe he taught her his kind of language and she doesn't know any different. I've always thought she had a speech impediment anyway. She doesn't meow like a normal cat. There's now oww, only a one syllable meee. Most of the time it comes out as"EHHCHH" which isn't a cat sound at all. Sometimes I think Canela is trying to bark. Other times she goes around making throaty, chirping noises, but I think that's pretty common.

So whatever odd noises are coming out of these two animals, they communicate effectively and with a mutual respect and Canela has managed to convince Bomboclaat that she doesn't want all the garbage he hides in his bed, so he never snarls at her like he does everyone else.

Occasionally Canela sees fit to administer doses of Tough Love. Being my cat in so many ways, Canela can't stand a bunch of unnecessary racket. Recently Bomboclaat was having a gigantic, hissy fit of shrieking and howling for no reason at all and Canela calmly walked up to him and busted him right across the face, which is exactly what I wish I could do to people who behave the exact same way. I can't express the great love and pride I felt for my cat upon seeing her haul off on Bomboclaat that way. It made him be quiet too.

So since they're such great friends I thought surely they'd want to go on a walk. I felt terribly because Canela sits by the glass door and stares out the whole time I'm walking him. If you look closely you can see her little mouth opening and closing as if calling to us, which is painfully cute and sad. I thought, maybe she wants to come along.

She wears a collar when she's here so that I can find her. There are too many places where she can get lost. Just yesterday she was stuck in both the guest room and the pantry for several hours and she won't meow to get out, so I rely on her collar bell to find her. I figured I could just clip a leash right on the collar and go on. This was not true.

Canela acted like I had doused her in kerosene and tossed a lit match onto her back. There was high drama. She threw herself on the floor as if being killed and refused to move at all. Then she crouched stiffly. Then she tried to kill the leash. I actually think she may have thought a snake had gotten ahold of her. Bomboclaat came to her rescue and tried to pull the leash from her. Then he got bored and went to go hump something. Canela stood up, walked a few inches and then threw herself dramatically on the floor again. I should have filmed it. When I took the picture, she was in Crouching Phase Two, and I felt guilty so I gave up.

I have researched leash training cats. Canela is not that bright as cats go and I don't know if it's worth it with her now, but then I think, I taught her to fetch and she will roll over on command, which is a lot more than we can say for Bomboclaat, so maybe there's hope of one day the three of us all taking on that creepy pitbull together, as a team, like one big Interspecies family.


Michelle said...

Dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!

Maya said...

The thing with leash training a've got to get them a couple of things:

1. A harness, not a collar
2. Used to it, gradually.

The way to do item #2 is to put the harness on the cat for a few minutes at a time. No leash. They generally will sit or lay down and try to crawl out of it (hysterical of course) This could be a weeks-long process.

Once you get them used to being in the harness, you attach the leash and let them get used to the feeling. Again, it could be a while.

After that, you can walk them, but walking a cat (I cop to walking mine) is not the same as walking a dog. Even a crazy one like Bomobclaat.

vic said...

I love your being at your parents house. I think it's contributing to your being so prolific lately. Thanks.

MP said...

2 cats and a dog..Oh yeah. My poor alpha male cat is now a wimpering fool. I feel so sorry for him :-( The puppy has taken over the house. I think if I tried to put a collar, leash etc on the cats they would picket and move.
Puppy and my sweetie 12 year old princess Simease..they sleep together..go figure

Anonymous said...

Stewart loved the leash because he knew it meant he got to go outside, which he loved.

Otis abhors the leash and believes it immobolizes him. He curls into a limp blob and will not allow himself to even be dragged.

Mim said...

I'm think Canela is one of those "grass is greener" animals. You know..."Sure, it looks like taking a walk is fun but I have to be hooked into a torture device? I don't think so."

First Nations said...

oh man, that cracked me up! the chubby freak dog and the drama kitty...oh man!
now i'm going to rip the bombo-dog idea off and do a post on a freak dog i used to know!
eventually, anyway.

ever tried grilled punkin with brown sugar? yum!

LaLa said...

I think the winsome window posing is all for effect. Once you're out of sight she tries on all your shoes and rummages through the dog's secret stash, only to be back at the window looking pitiful and bereft by the time you're back.

Almost American said...

Has Canela ever spent much time outside (well, since you got her, that is)? We had a cat who was terrified of the outdoors. He loved to look at it, and was always eager to try to escape into the Great Outdoors, but if he ever actually got out there he would rush under the deck as fast as he could and refuse to come out. We tried getting him a harness and taking him out on the deck on a leash - but he reacted like Canela. He used to slink along with his stomach practically touching the ground - it was hysterical! The leash was a good thing when we took him out in our arms - it made sure that when he tried to get out of our arms (as he inevitably did) he couldn't rush under the deck, out of reach (also inevitable.)

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining again dear writer. All I can say is those animals have some mighty fine flooring to laze about while they ponder their next meals.

Subservient No More said...

They do? I don't know much about flooring, except that that flooring is cold. And. I have bamboo floors in my place and I like them very much.

gulfsidebo said...

I lived with 4 cats and a large dog out in the country for a few years. one of the cats died (and he kept the peace in the house) and the next top cat claimed clear dominance over the other cats. For some strange reason, this cat had a wonderful relationship with the dog (a large retriever, shepard, husky mix...yes 3 mixes). The dog (a female and my all-time favorite dog ever) would try to hump the backside of the cat. It was one of the strangest sights ever. The cat would purr and chirp as the female dog would make humping gestures.

Dyanne said...

That was so funny!

I had never watched The Dog Whisperer until your last blog, and it came on tonight. It is now my new favorite show! Wow--that guy is amazing. I cried at least twice tonight watching how he helped those dogs--especially Luna!

Right now he is teaching the FLL port dogs to be a pack. lol Very cool show...

Junior said...

I love your blog..

it has gotten better since you quit your job..

I'm buying 2 cat leashes and harness' this week..

Anonymous said...

Our cat's always trying to get outside, so we bought a kitty harness for him and the first time we put him it was sheer hilarity: He wouldn't struggle. Instead he would slump over like his limbs no longer worked, and if you lifted him up to his feet, he'd do it again. We'd put him in it just to laugh, cruel people that we are. He is sort of used to it now, but still 'taking the cat for a walk' is equivalent to dragging him to the first available patch of grass and letting him flop on it.

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