Friday, December 24, 2004

The Dog-Like Cat

My cat has an identity crisis. She is in desperate need of pet psychotherapy. I freely accept that this is my fault - she is the natural result of what happens when you let a dog-person raise a cat, and when that poor cat lives only among dogs.

She does not know that she could easily jump up on the kitchen counters. My cat-loving friends have cats that get up on the top of the refrigerator - Xena hesitates before jumping up on the couch. She has no idea that she is capable of much, much more.

She has no interest in cat treats. Offer her a little mouse-shaped or fish-shaped treat and she'll turn up her nose and leave it on the floor to be eaten by the dogs. The only treat that works is a bit of wet food. Even with that she'll wander off before finishing it, and we have to guard it from the dogs. She won't play with cat toys. She will, occasionally chase one of the dogs and give her a good smack now and then, but that is about it.

We have never had to defend the Christmas tree from her. She does not climb it. No, my freaky dog-cat just walks around it, sleeps on the tree skirt, and drinks the water. I think she finds the pine-scented water to be a special treat. It is actually quite handy, as she complains if the water gets too low to reach, which provides a nice early-warning system for keeping the tree well watered.

We didn't get a tree this year, so I can't document any of this with the digital camera. The best I can do is show these scanned pictures from a few years ago:

Getting a good drink of tree water

What's Wrong with sitting under the tree?

Demon Cat Under Christmas Tree

For a short time, I thought she'd show some catliness in the room I use as an office - she would jump up on the desk and sit next to the laptop.

Cat Helping with Computer

Sometimes she lounged up there in a refreshingly catlike manner.

More lounging on the desk

Ah, the cat actually jumping! Finally! But no, this habit seems to have faded away. She decided she'd rather lay under the desk, as if it were a know, the way dogs like dens...

All of the true cat-people out there are probably shuddering right now. How did I end up with a cat, I, a self-admitted dog person? Well, I must admit, it was not my idea. I resisted the idea of a cat for months before caving in. I grew up in a family that was decidely anti-cat. My dad used to grouse that he didn't like cats because they would "jump on the stove and lick the butter." The fact that we didn't keep the butter on the stove didn't seem to occur to him.

Eventually I caved and I was beguiled by the charms of kittenhood.

Xena as a kitten

I love the cat, I am glad she is here. I like listening to her purr (though I wish she wouldn't drool on me!), but that doesn't change my dog-personness.

In some ways, a dog-like cat is a good thing. I mean, I don't particularly want my pets climbing the Christmas tree or knocking knick-knacks off the high shelves. Perhaps I should figure out how I managed to raise a dog-like cat and patent the process.

As I've pointed out to my dad, she never jumps on the stove or licks the butter.

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