The new kitten arrived last Father’s Day, which caught me by surprise as I usually show indifference at the sight of fur balls. After all, I own a jet-black lab who worships me. The cat has more narcissism than the lead singer of Guns ‘N Roses. The Lab can swim thirty miles upstream on the Yellowstone River while wagging her tail, pulling me in an inner tube, with a tennis ball in her mouth. The cat hisses at empty bath tubs.
The Lab can sniff out avalanche victims buried 10 ft below the surface. She can find my uncle’s secret pot wrapped in R36 insulation, tin foil, Tupperware and dirty socks.
The last cat we owned was a gift for my then relatively new wife’s birthday. The real surprise came after it tore up the drapes, her dress, and put a claw in the dog’s snout. It was returned it to the pet store within two hours.
Who returns a cute, little kitty? Me. In college, my roommate had a cat and we put it in a lunch sack and blew bong hits into the bag as a jackass science experiment. I know, call the Humane Society. Sorry, there’s a statute of limitations for getting domestic pets high. And, to our defense, we fed it pizza and Mountain Dew afterwards. The final analysis: The kitty was cured of glaucoma and ate the anchovies off the pizza, proving that cats prefer fish over crust…aceans.
The new cat is a fluffy, cute, purring machine and actually plays with our big black Lab. Since we live outside the city in rural Montana, and have large natural fields right out the back door, he has also learned to hunt. It’s called mousing. That’s not the same as chocolate mousseing. He hunts and gathers field mice, drags them home, half-alive, and swats them around for 30 minutes on our front steps. After the little big-eared critter dies, the cat consumes it like it was stuffed with catnip, or haddock.
Instead of hunting wild things, the dog prefers to roll in week-old roadkill, or anything that smells rotten, and then jumps in our lap. The cat is all about stalking, pouncing, and eating mouse tar-tar including head, bones, legs, right down to the spaghetti-looking tail. I’m queasy thinking about it.
If Labs have such a highly developed sense of smell, why do they roll in the worst stench of decaying matter known to man, and enjoy it more than a trip to Doggie Disneyland?
The cat usually ascends to the high ground when the lab’s excitement for action achieves critical mass and runs laps full-speed around the basement circuit.
After the cat acquired the taste of field mice, He goes hunting every day, and the stuffed toys lay dormant on the floor. The dog plays with them out of sympathy. The Lab doesn’t hunt anything except affection, tennis balls, dirty socks, and decomposing skunks that are flattened on the road like pancakes.
The cat will tell you when you can pet it, the dog begs for attention even in her sleep. I call the cat by name and he stares at me like I’m whispering to the deaf. The dog memorized her name, and comes running even if I spell it out…backward.
The cat moves silently through the house. The dog’s nine-inch nails announce her presence on the wood floors while she knocks over coffee cups with her stout, wagging otter-tail.
The cat nibbles on his food and usually leaves some behind, showing mature restraint. The dog has no concept of what full is. Full to her, is when everything edible on the planet is devoured. She eats everything in her bowl within the count of one-Mississippi, and then devours a full pan of lasagna accidentally left on the kitchen counter. After that, she licks up every miniscule crumb that’s invisible to the naked eye.
The lab is black, the cat is white, together they learn to scratch and bite