Friday, October 16, 2009

A touch of devilishness

Happy Deepavali, everyone! We’re celebrating in a small way at home with tandoori on the BBQ yesterday and mutton curry with friends tonight.

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.

If you like this story, please don’t copy it but provide a link to this page. Thanks!


Pam said...

That is too funny. I can see Sassie doing the exact same thing if she was allowed to go outside.
Bushy looks exactly like a dog we used to have. He was such a sweetie. I keep saying I am going to get another like him, but as long as I have a cat there is no chance of that!

brattcat said...

I like the way Au has everything running so smoothly there. What a wise cat. A good role model for the Brattcat who mostly likes to run up and down the attic stairs fetching little spongy balls. Thank you for your kind visit to Brattleboro. Yes, the text and photos are all mine. ( :

Angel Simba said...

Lovely story. Dogs are delightful animals, but cats have much more complex brains and personalities, don't they? And even when they seem only barely awake, they are keeping close track of things around them.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Lovely regal monarch Au! He knows he is of aristocratic blood! LOL, poor meter reader! I go ahead and touch strange kitties anyway. Cats are really good at teasing dogs that way. You are right about dogs being like the Marine Corps, always giving 100%. With cats -- if it serves no visible purpose, why bother? Cats are masters of energy conservation!

The Chair Speaks said...

Hahaha, I can see that scene - Au swishing his tail with Bushy jumping like crazy. Au is such a teaser.

Anonymous said...

Great story! I love your articles in the Star. Please write more!

havetailwillwag said...

my cats think my dogs are dumb!! i see it in their faces!! eyes half closed with contempt =)

lupie said...

Thanks lynie, you have convinced me that ... my cats think I am dumb!!! I need to get a dog now!

Ebie said...

A lovely story, and you made me smile. My daughter would still prefer a dog over a cat. But maybe both can get along!

BTW, why are the books still in the warehouse? Just curious.

Hehehe, what you're serving your friends sound so yummy!

Just let me know if the book is available to purchase on line!

Happy Holiday Ellen!

The Oceanside Animals said...

It's good to be able to start each day off with a big achievement, even if it's only in your head. So kudos to Bushy!

Gattina said...

What a cute story ! It's just the same behaviour that Arthur has ! He also is sitting on our little wall and watches the world going by and he espacially likes when dogs on a leash bark like hell at him and the owner is doing waterski to hold back his dog and Arthur just looks amused ! But he likes people who stop to tell him what beautiful cat he is and allows them to pet him.
Our big neighbour dog is used by Arthur as an ombrella, he once walked under him when it rained !

Naddy said...

i had the same thoughts like u about cats. stories/news about dogs have always highlighted their mission to be good to fulfill their mission while cats are defined as a rebel.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Re Gattina: Waterski! Umbrella! Oh, too funny! Haa haa haa! More materials for Ellen's next book!

Dora said...

Hope to see this book in Singapore soon!:D

Unknown said...

Great story, I really like the way you described the differences between cats and dogs at the end. My kitties don't get much exposure to dogs, I'm not sure what they would do if they did lol.

TorAa said...

I read this story twice.
It's not beacuse of my lack of underatnding English.
Just because I liked what here is written about Dogs and Cats.

I remember, many years ago when I still lived with my Parents, we had a Cat. And the Neighbour had a dog - a german Shepard. Our Cat at that time was a siamese.

One afternoon our cat, named Tonka, went into our neighbours arden - and then came the Dog running and yelling like german sheppards does.
The Cat?
Just sat down. It's body was very intense
Until the dog was 1 meter away, and still running fast towards the cat.
I was sure this was this cats last moment.
So, in matter of milliseconds the cat reacted.
Jumped towards the dog and used its clows on the dogs nose.
Jumped with a bow, so the dogs large mouth could not reach the cats body.

After that event, our neighbours german shepard allways ran away when he saw Tonka.
Amazing how strong and smart cats can be.

Besides, they behave very quiet, calm, and do their "business" without human assistance.
And playful - oh yeah.
And trustful - oh yeah
When we arrive by car to our summerhome, they run down the path to wellcome us. Of course they know the sound of our Car.

If you want more stories for your books, don't be shy to ask.

ps. Will you have to possiblity to come to Oslo next year?
It seems like your way of gatheringships are very similar to what we practice here.

have a great weekend
and thanks for sharing this story.

Më| §zë said...


my tango sounds like bushy, and the street cats at my area sound like au...


but my tango has grown smarter, he more or less ignores them now...

Pete said...

Ha ha, cute little dog!