Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cats and dogs

One of my very favorite blogs We Three, Ginger Cat Tales, http://wethreecats.blogspot.com/ has recently had a very interesting exploration of the role of cats and dogs in Jackie's life, and her philosophical musings about them and their personalities. She is blessed to have an amazing dog Bella who is companion, friend, and protector of her cats, and teacher to her new dog Rosie.

I don't have a dog...commuting away from home 13 hours a day doesn't make a household that's comfortable for a dog. And the longer i've had cats, the more i've come to prefer their company. However, i do like dogs (and bunnies, horses, sheep, goats, cows, etc. etc.) and i recognize that they are different than cats as is their right. Sunday we had book club meeting at a home with a Samoyed named Trotski. He's very spoiled, and wanted to be right in the middle of everything, literally--he wanted to stand in the middle of the coffee table and be petted and admired by everyone. This would be cute in a cat (in my opinion) but a little hard to ignore when it's done by a 70-pound, extremely fluffy, large white dog! He cried when he was put down in the basement and likewise when he was put outside. He kept circulating amongst the guests and ending up next to me, where each time he vacuumed most of my body surface with his exquisite black nose. Trotski was definitely picking up cat scent molecules since he spent the longest time at the places where cats sit, lean, or rub against me.

When i got home, it was a couple of hours past the cats' usual dinner hour and they were eager to be fed. Only hours later, when i was sitting at the computer, and first Fuzzy and then Louie hopped up for a lap snuggle, was i given a few cursory sniffs. (I had washed my hands...both cats sniffed spots on my wrist that i must have missed.) The reaction of each of them was clear to read "oh, you spent time with a dog. How interesting for you. *yawn* D'you think you could scratch behind my ear, please?"


  1. I'll admit, I'm a cat person, but never house cats. I prefer to let them roam and catch mice because they always come home (probably since that's where the easy food is, but hey).

  2. Great post! We read Jackie's post earlier, we love those ginger darlings. It brought tears to the PM's eyes. Animals can be such a comfort. We are just cats here.


  3. Trotski - more lively than a coffee table book!
    We love Jackie's blog and her illustrations for books. Her animals really inspire her work.

    Whicky Wuudler

  4. We are an all-cat household here too, but if I could, I would have the lot - pigs, donkies, chickens, dogs, oh and more cats and loads of kittens! Kittens are my very favorite thing in the whole wide world, the naughtier the better!
    I was at college with Jackie in 1980!!!
    We did our foundation together, she was just as brilliant then, she is a fantastic person!

  5. I love all animals, but I adore cats. I love they way they, look, smell (we're talking fur here, not byproducts), and move. Plus, I love how focused they are on me. I can't go anywhere in this house without an escort, and at times, an entourage.

    Mine are indoor-only, for several reasons: It's safer for them (indoor cat life spans far exceed those of cats who are allowed out); it's safer for the wildlife, especially songbirds, since even the best fed cat will do what it evolved to, hungry or not; since Felis Domesticus is not a native species to North America, I believe it's wrong to inflict them on the local fauna; and I believe it's wrong to allow pets to trespass on others' properties. Two cats have recently shown up here, with one especially interested in the feeder birds. If they're local pets, I'll be having the usually fruitless talk about keeping them inside, since that's the only way to keep them out of my yard. If they're, as I suspect, dumpees, I'll have to find a rescue group that's willing to take them, no small order, that. At five cats and holding, there's no room at the inn.

  6. I too love all animals...there's such a special feeling about them that I love to capture in my art. I really relate to cats and live with 3 who are so different and each one adds so much to my life. Been away from them for over a week...too long and am so much looking forward to seeing them in a few days when I return to Maine. One of my sisters is having Thanksgiving at her home and there will be 3 big dogs, a puppy and one cat who will probably be hiding out. The dogs get very very excited when company arrives (they could knock you over!) but eventually they settle down.
    My cats Ellie May and Brody often looked at "we three cats" with me before we had our own blog so in April of 2007 we e-mailed Jackie and she posted their pictures with comments on the "we three cats" blog! If you find the archives on "we three cats" and go to 2007 April, look for "Studio cats" (on April 19, 2007)that would be Ellie May and "far away across the sea" (on April 18, 2007) is Brody. We were thrilled!

  7. Wow, lots of nice comments with many good thoughts. Catbird, in practice i agree with you...my four are indoors-only cats. I used to have indoor/outdoor cats, and was careful about getting them to come in at night and before i left home, etc. But one day 4 of them went out to the garden with me and only 3 came in...somehow Louie's brother Pierre disappeared and was never seen again. I didn't know what i needed to protect them against, so i kept the cats inside afterwards so i never had to deal with the guilty grief again. However...you can see how plump and indolent they've become. Especially compared to Jackie's cats who go for long walks. On the other hand, they don't get fleas or ticks nor into fights with other cats nor hit by cars. And they aren't preying on the birds and little mammals.

    I think some of the figures about the damage cats do to the bird population is exaggerated. It seems to me that habitat destruction is the real villain. I've been enjoying Julie Zickefoose's writing for quite a while, but the day she had a blogpost about National Feral Cat day, which seemed to advocate killing stray cats instead of acknowledging that trap-neuter-return can work very effectively, i was saddened and sickened.

    Nan, thanks for pointing me to Ellie May and Brody's pictures in the ginger cats' archives! I'm sure they were delighted to see themselves on the Internet (like your portrait of Polly admiring herself in the hand mirror) (and Liz, how very cool that you and Jackie were at college together!). It took a bit of time and effort to go back through the archives so i "had to" sample some of the stories along the way. Finally learned where Kiffer came from (poor Kiffer) and about Martha's brother Arthur being killed by a car (poor Arthur).