Saturday, 18 January 2014

Misty's diary: dogs? Just plain dumb

Delighted to say that Ive found our cat Mistys diary again. The extract below seemed worth sharing. Here it is for your edification.

Mid-January 2014

It sometimes seems to me that dogs are on earth to make blackbirds look smart. And, let me tell you, blackbirds are dumb, dumb, dumb. I can vouch for that from bitter experience. Theirs, not mine.

In passing, I think blackbirds must have heard someone say that the early bird catches the worm, because they always seem to be in the garden looking for them. No accounting for tastes. Not that I find their taste objectionable: I rather enjoy it, on those frequent occasions when, whatever they may be looking for, what they find is me.

They haven’t cottoned on to the idea that the garden’s mine. Dumb, like I said. I mean, the whole neighbourhood must know. I had the devil’s own job making sure the local cats all understood when I first moved in. The row was spectacular. The domestic staff sleeps in the bedroom overlooking the garden, and even they complained about the volume at which I explained to feline interlopers that their territory stopped at my fence. Eventually they got the message and kept clear. That even applied to the one they call Napoleon.

Funnily enough, I like Napoleon. Always had a bit of a soft spot for black cats. But I couldn’t have him treating my garden as his own, so I made sure he realised he’d met his Waterloo. These days he recognises my jurisdiction over my land. Which is more than the blackbirds have grasped.

Now our dog Janka’s pretty much at their level. Likeable enough, sure, and I’ll rub against her from time to time, in a friendly sort of way. I even like her smell, oddly enough, so I enjoy taking a nap on her mat. Not that she appreciates the compliment – she always seems worried when I take it over, even though I leave her quite a bit of the edge.

Doing my mate a favour by sharing her mat
But though I like her, I can’t deny she’s – frankly – intellectually challenged. Take the racket she makes. Bark, bark, bark. Whine, whine, whine. No bloody use to anyone. She’s only ever interested in food, and I’ve tried to explain how to set about getting it. Pick a domestic, rub against a leg, and purr for God’s sake. It’s not that difficult.

It doesn’t work so well with the chief domestic. She thinks it’s affection and strokes me. Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. But a stroke’s only so good, whereas a brimming bowl of kibble fills the belly a treat.

So I tend to go for her sidekick. I’ve bitten and scratched him enough for him to realise that affection isn’t anything I dole out in more than small doses. In his case, homeopathic ones. He’s got enough brainpower to get a message, as long as I’ve underlined it with tooth and claw, so when I purr at him, he knows to check my bowl.

Funnily enough, it isn’t always empty, but he always refills it anyway. Which suits me fine. They keep my food up high, so it
’s out of reach of the barking vacuum cleaner. Good plan. But it does mean I have to jump up to take a look at the bowl. It’s an effort. I don’t mind if the bowl turns out to be full, but what if it’s empty? I’m an athlete, I believe in economy of effort, and a jump for an empty bowl isn’t it.

So I purr at the sidekick, and he fills up the bowl whether it needs it or not. Pavlovian, his reaction. Stronger than him. Hear purring. Collect bowl. Tip contents into tin. Refill. Replace.

What’s not to like in that arrangement?

But Janka just won’t learn to purr. Hopeless. No aptitude for languages.

Instead, she’s forced to resort to subterfuge. Or what she thinks is subterfuge. ‘Janka, Janka, old girl,’ I want to say, ‘you just don’t have the wit for it.’

The other day she waited till he’d gone into the kitchen leaving the sugar bowl on the dining table. Up she jumped for it.

Not, by the way, a clean jump like I’d have made. Oh, no. Onto a chair which slid across the floor. From there onto the table, forcing the chair to slide still further. Lots of clatter and scraping and banging. Then she homed in on the sugar.

But by then, alerted by all the racket, he was back out.

‘Janka! Bad girl! Off the table.’

I’d have purred and looked innocent. She just turned tail and leapt. For the chair which was far too far away by then. Hit it. Felt it slip out of her reach. And crashed down to the floor. Painfully, I expect. And think of the indignity! You wouldn’t catch me doing that.

Dumb, poor thing. But then that’s dogs for you. When it comes to catching food, my money’s on a cat any time.

Which reminds me. I wonder if there’s an early blackbird out in my garden now, trying to catch a worm?

I think I’ll go and check.


Anonymous said...

You've found a delightful seam there, David.


David Beeson said...

Glad you're enjoying it, San