We have two pets at the Burn household. I like to refer to them as the stupid cat and the dumb dog although, technically, their names are Katrina and Max.
Our cat and dog exhibit the classic dog-cat relationship; namely, the dog merely wishes to play with the cat, and the cat merely wishes the dog would put in for a transfer to Mars.
I can understand our cat’s point of view. For three years, she lived in a dog-free environment and pretty much had the run of the house. She grew accustomed to parking herself on every soft surface in our home that we had tried to forbid her from in order to meet her daily requirement of 23 hours of sleep.
So the cat wasn’t too pleased when we came home with Max. Max had been living in a barn with lots of other animals to buddy around with and was just thrilled, absolutely beside himself with joy, when he discovered Katrina in our house. Katrina now gets her 23 hours of sleep on top of the kitchen cupboards.
When she ventures down to eat or pay a visit to her litter box, the dog is right there in breathless anticipation that perhaps today will be the day that she will play with him. Max, who is a medium sized dog, will confront Katrina by barking at her and lowering himself down on his haunches. If she’s been cornered, Katrina’s response is to hiss and growl and takes swings at the dog’s nose with her declawed front paws. If she has an escape route, she dashes off for the nearest and highest surface with the dog in gleeful hot pursuit.
Did I mention that Katrina can talk? Yessir, even though I affectionately call her a stupid cat, she can really talk. And not dog-talk like when you ask a dog what’s on a tree and he says, “bark!”
For instance, I’ll ask Katrina, “What does a cat say?” and she answers back “Meow.”
Then I’ll agitate her a bit by picking her up and presenting her to the dog. I’ll ask her, “What do the actresses nominated for an Oscar say to each other?” and she answers back “Hiss!”
I’ll further agitate her by putting her down on the floor in front of the dog and ask her, “What will The Incredible Hulk say in the upcoming movie?” and she answers back “Grrrrr!”
Meanwhile, the dog thinks that this is all great fun and is trying to see what the cat’s tail tastes like.
Actually, I am beginning to think that this classic dog/cat hatred relationship deal that is going on between Katrina and Max is an elaborate ruse to get my wife and I to forget to tie a dish towel through the handles of the kitchen closet doors that contain our kitchen garbage, which usually contains tasty leftover snacks like drumsticks or broccoli.
Many has the time been during the day, when we are all awake, that we will hear one pet or the other pawing at the closet doors in search of unregistered snackum. The dog or cat, working alone, cannot pry open the closet door.
Yet, with alarming regularity, my wife or I will stagger downstairs after smacking the alarm clock off only to find the kitchen garbage strewn about the kitchen floor.
The only conclusion that we can reach is that the dog and cat must be working in concert with one another, putting aside their play-acting during the day, to get at the kitchen garbage to scarf down some Romaine lettuce stalks or some stale kidney beans.
All I can say at this point is that I miss our guinea pigs.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.