Friday, October 24, 2008

Cat? What cat?

Sophie and I used to share a house with a three-legged cat named Hobbes. There were a lot of jokes about what happened to Hobbes' fourth leg ("We ate it." "It's in a reliquary at the Vatican." "We donated it to a two-legged cat"). The truth is he was hit by a car as a kitten. Didn't slow him down, happily.

Sophie learned quickly that Hobbes was not fair game for chasing, though she would lick his face in an attempt to get him to run. When he got tired of that, he would retreat to the basement where she wasn't allowed.

Then Doogie came along, and he hated cats. Sophie picked up from him that felines must be chased at all costs. After Doogie died, she had to unlearn her bad behavior with some help from the Voice of Doom. She still lunges if she sees a cat, but a sharp "Leave it!" from me pulls her up short. Friendly cats will even get a suspicious sniff (and I get an accusing look of betrayal).

Most of the time now, though, she doesn't see cats at all. As long as they don't move, she's clueless.

I hope my next poodle is as easy to teach that Kitties Are Our Friends.


  1. I had my cat before I got both my dogs (as puppies), so I had the reverse problem - having to teach the cat not to stalk the dogs. Training a cat is like...well... training a cat. :)

  2. My cat is terrrised by our Jack Russell mutt wo used to be her frfiend when she was a pup. She just growls at her but no amount of telling stops her gowling. The cheeky we boot! The other Jack Russel male quite likes the old cat so it balances out but he does like to nick her grub when he gets the chance! Makes him feel less bottom of the pile.

  3. I've always said that dogs chase cats because dogs just want to sniff them, but the cats run.

  4. Very nice! I have to work on teaching the puppies to ignore squirrels and deer.

    They bark at the chickens, but they seem to do it out of love and fascination more than the chase.

  5. Vicki, does the kitty do any damage? It goes both ways, I guess. Doogie had the potential to break a cat's neck with a good shake, but a fierce kitty could do some serious damage with claws and teeth on an unsuspecting pooch.

    MOB, parity is a little easier to achieve when they're about the same size, isn't it? I love seeing kitties and dogs who are friends.

    Betts, that's often the case! Most dogs are clueless about cats, I think.

    Kathi, what do the chickens do? I doubt ignoring squirrels and deer is really an option for your guys. (Sophie loves to stalk squirrels, but she sucks at it.)

  6. Charlie (always bigger than the cat) has a scar on his nose from Bad Kitty. Chula (4lbs and holding) had blood drawn twice from kitty-claws. But in the last year or so, everyone has become friends :)

  7. The chickens gather at the fence to get closer to the dogs! The fence has openings big enough for the pups to put their whole heads through (barely) which they do, and the barred rocks peck them on the noses, which hasn't yet deterred them from keeping watch.