As it’s a holiday, there won’t be Weekender Star published tomorrow. Which means there will be no Dog Talk published this week. So for those of you who demanded their “fix” (you know who you are!) here is an extra story. It was originally intended to be mostly about dogs but once Au got into it, he took over. Hope you like it.
ALSO: do remember that a compendium of favourite stories has now been published in a book, Katz Tales, Living Under The Velvet Paw, by Ellen Whyte, October 2009 Marshall Cavendish ISBN 978-967-3035-64-9. It’s been lying in the warehouse for more than a month now but should be in the shops soon. Will keep you posted.
Now on with Dog Talk…
A touch of devilishness
Bushy, the little Yorkshire Terrier who lives across the street from us, was on patrol in his garden this morning at dawn. So the second the newspaper delivery guy arrived, our little Cerberus was barking as loud as he could.
When he gets excited Bushy also jumps in the air. He’s quite a springy little dog; he can bounce a meter or so off the ground with each leap. But because Bushy is so little, and his bark is quite big, each woof sets him back about a foot.
I always laugh when I see Bushy doing the bouncing barking dog routine but Au thinks it completely unamusing.
This morning our senior cat was having a lie-in when Bushy started up. Au staggered off his rug, made his way to the window and peered out. Knowing that Bushy will bark for a good 5 minutes, Au shook himself and went outside. He jumped up on the wall, putting one ear back to show how incredibly put he was by Bushy’s barking.
Bushy of course has no idea that his fierce defence is totally useless. As Bushy sees it, the newspaper man sneaks in every morning, intent on entering Bushy’s domain. Bushy thinks that his barking drives the man away. So for our furry neighbour, each morning begins with a triumph: the driving off of the wanna-be invader.
Unlike his daft neighbour, Au knows perfectly well what the newspaper man, postman, rubbish truck and other passers-by are all about. Our cat supervises them all from the comfort and security of his wall, looking rather superior as he watches everyone else work about him while maintaining an air of insouciance. We kid him on that this approach makes him excellent senior management material.
Very sometimes we have a passer-by who wants to touch Au. I noticed the electricity meter reader paying homage to his fuzzy majesty only last week. Au was well within reach but he gave the poor man such a steely glare that his admirer hastily tucked his hand behind his back and merely praised Au from a respectful distance. From Au’s satisfied gaze I could see this is exactly the sort of behaviour he would like to see more of.
While Au won’t give Bushy (or any other dog) the time of day, Bushy watches Au with great interest. He doesn’t understand how Au can keep his cool while strangers are about. Where Bushy is all pep, zest and fire, Au is so cool he could chill sushi.
Bushy has been flummoxed by Au ever since he was a pup.
When Bushy first met Au, our cat was with his older friend Scoop. Bushy stuck his nose rudely towards the cats, and Scoop gave him a ding on the ear that set the little dog reeling. Scoop passed away two years ago, but if Bushy gets too close, Au gives him a wallop on the nose just to remind him who’s boss.
Luckily Bushy is a sweet little dog. He just shakes his head, backs off and looks sideways at Au as if to say, “Now what’s up with you, pal? I’m just saying hello!” Bushy may be loud, but he likes cats. When a neighbourhood stray put a kitten in his garden last week, Bushy didn’t do a thing – to her or the kitten.
Bushy may be loud but he’s a dear and he doesn’t deserve to be bopped on the nose by our rude fuzz. When I tell Au off for hitting Bushy, he turns big green eyes on me with a look that says very clearly that he is totally unrepentant. I know I can’t change Au’s opinion. He says dogs are inferior and that’s that.
But at least I have stopped him from doing one thing: Au used to hop over to Bushy’s house, sit up on the wall and dangle his tail over the edge. As poor little Bushy jumped up and down, trying desperately to reach that twitching tail, our evil fuzzy’s green eyes would gleam with devilish amusement.
For me that scene really sums up the essential difference between cats and dogs. Dogs are mainly about trying to do the best job possible. Like the Marines, they want to be the best of the best. But cats have a nasty sense of humour that delights at causing mayhem. And I’m ashamed to admit that this is just one of the reasons why I like cats so much. There must be a touch of the devil in me too.
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