A cat is not a dog



Lee and Robin visited last night with our 21-month-old grandbaby. Brewsky hated Sidney at first sight, but has since become grudgingly reconciled to her presence although she tries to poke her fingers into his eyes. Last night, she had no sooner seen him than she hit him on the head, and this so infuriated Brewsky that it’s to his credit he didn’t bite her, but neither did he spend the rest of the evening hiding as he once would have done. Instead, he intermittently, over the next six hours, hissed long and loudly at her parents. Lee and Robin seemed mystified rather than worried, and I had no idea that he would actually attack them, so I did nothing to silence him, partly because when I chastise Brewsky, he has a history of later biting Peggy hard enough to draw blood.

I initially left it to Peggy to solve the biting problem, but when months passed, and he was still transferring his anger at me onto her, I felt that I had to help. The next time he ambushed her, both of us chased him through the house cursing loudly. She soon thought he had had enough, but I chased him until he was too tired to run, and I then lay on the floor and cursed him some more as he cowered under a recliner. This was nearly a year ago, and he hasn’t bitten her since, but I wasn’t about to stifle the rage that he felt last night because I had never seen anything like it. It’s also true that I could scarcely believe it, and this tended to paralyze me.

Brewsky is 4 1/2, and it has only been within the past six months that I’ve grown close enough to him that I’m content to not have a dog. I’ve always admired several of his features, for example, his self-cleaning feature, his litter box feature, and his never needing a walk feature, but now I admire him. My present problem isn’t so much with longing for a dog—as Peggy does—but with being tempted to get another cat. If not for Peggy’s refusal, I would surely have two cats, although I would worry about Brewsky’s reaction. I met a couple last week, the man of which talked his wife into getting a second cat. The first cat hated the second cat so much that when they were alone, he would pin her into a corner and keep her there. Brewsky seems content with his life as the only cat, and at 14-pounds he could be formidable if he didn’t like his new brother or sister.

Peggy plays with Brewsky and cuddles him to the small extent that he will allow, but I mostly massage him. He likes deep tissue massages, and never bites or claws when he’s had enough. I also give him frequent small treats. He’s normally so easy-going that I sometimes greet people at the door while holding him upside-down under one arm. I think it fair to say that I’ve become that which I never thought I would be, someone who loves a cat almost as much as he could love a dog, and to think that it only took four years. It’s only the trouble they represent that keeps me from having another dog (I never imagined that I would someday be burned-out on baths, foot-wipes, vet visits, wet wintry walks, and late night poops, but I am), because I would have fewer qualms about exposing Brewsky to a dog as to a cat.

I call Brewsky Sweet Man, Shit-Head, Fuck-Face, Best Cat in the World, and many other terms of endearment. Yesterday, I hugged him while pretending to cry as I said, “I love you, man.” So often when one straight male tells another he loves him, he’s so overwrought that he throws in the word man to avoid sounding effeminate or, god forbid, gay, and so it was that I got a laugh from Peggy by assuring Brewsky that I hadn’t gone sissy on him.

My only wish is that he was more affectionate. Of course, I had a schnauzer named Wendy who was less affectionate than Brewsky (Wendy would walk away if you tried to pet her), but I never doubted her commitment because twice she came after me when I left her at someone’s house. The first time, I resolved to never do it again, but the second time, Peggy was there, so I didn’t hesitate. On both occasions, I met Wendy walking down the road looking for me when I returned. Peggy says that Brewsky gets upset when I leave home even for a short time, and twice when we were both gone overnight, he knocked heavy flowerpots off the top of the refrigerator. This tells me that he feels connected to us, but as Peggy’s sister who has nine cats told us when we got Brewsky after decades of nothing but dogs, “You are dog people, and a cat is not a dog.” This is so true. I’ll always miss having a dog, but if Brewsky died tomorrow, I don’t know but what I would grieve for him as much I have for my many dogs because, as with dogs, he isn’t just like a little person in a fur suit, he’s better in some ways.

16 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

We once made the tragic mistake of getting a second cat to keep our first cat company. It was a fiasco. Both cats were miserable, and the second cat hated people and tried to shiver out of its skin if you were foolish enough to try and pet it. Thankfully, it ran away.

PhilipH said...

Know exactly where you're coming from Snowy.

Dogs seem to have a greater 'hold' on their owners but that is just my opinion.

I've owned both cats and dogs, but more cats than dogs. I once cried when our little 'Candy' was injured one Saturday night. I was calling her on a dark Saturday evening as she hadn't returned as usual.

Found her lying in the gutter, not moving. Picked her up and she started to purr, very weakly.

Took her indoors and laid her on a blanket in front of an open fire, kneeling down to lightly stroke her - and she purred.

Took her to my car, wrapped in the blanket and drove to find a vet, knowing it was probably futile on a late Saturday evening.

After a while I saw a light in a place in the London Road in Purley, some six or seven miles from my house. I knew this was a vet's place and knocked on the closed doors. A lady opened up and allowed me in.

She told me what I knew, but dreaded to hear, that Candy had a broken back, probably caused by a vehicle bumping into her.

I asked the vet to put Candy out of her pain as there was nothing that could save her.

Driving home I had tears running down my face. It was an awful time and I have never forgotten this episode.

On the whole I prefer a cat. They are so independent and I've always found them affectionate.

My daughter's new dog is lovely and is just a year old now and we love him and he always greets us with great pleasure. But doubt if I could handle all that goes with owing such a big baby.

Sissy said...

This goes to show that animals are feeling beings just as people are feeling beings. Only difference? One has more hair than that other one. Loved this post, Snow. Don't know that I would be comfortable around Brewsky; he might decide to snap my head off if I crossed him the wrong way. I sometimes long for another cat, then realize I don't have the stamina to cope with four dogs who've never lived with a cat eventually learning to say "Hello Kittycat, Let's romp".

Elephant's Child said...

Brewsky is better behaved than our Jazz.
If a visitor comes to the house Jazz growls, and scuttles off and hides for the duration. When he is sure the coast is clear he emerges, piddles copiously on the kitchen floor, and comes looking for me to bite me. And nothing but nothing we have done shifts his misplaced aggressive tendencies.
And yes, he is a much loved cat and when he dies I will grieve. Bleed less often - but grieve.

Paula Kaye said...

I love every single one of your pet names for Brewsky! Maybe that is what I need....a cat. I'm just not into the care of a dog either. Thanks for sharing Brewsky with us.

Snowbrush said...

"Thankfully, it ran away.”

I think it’s horrible that he or she was so miserable at home as to run away, but I do understand that it wasn’t because you did anything wrong.

"She told me what I knew, but dreaded to hear, that Candy had a broken back…”

I am so sorry that you had to experience such a thing, and alone at that, it appears. The last broken back I was around was my own (a year ago on November 30), and before that a snake that I ran over with my bike. I stomped it because I had no better way to end its misery.

"My daughter's new dog is lovely and is just a year old now and we love him and he always greets us with great pleasure. But doubt if I could handle all that goes with owing such a big baby.”

If we ever get another dog, we would want one under ten pounds. I’ve never had a dog over 40 or so, but even 20 seems big now in terms of trouble. What we would really would be one that would fit under the seat of a plane.

"Don't know that I would be comfortable around Brewsky; he might decide to snap my head off…”

As a rule, Brewsky is extremely tolerant and non-threatening. If he were the kind of cat who bites those who pet him, I doubt that he would still be here. As it is, you can practically twist him into pretzels without complaint.

"When he is sure the coast is clear he emerges, piddles copiously on the kitchen floor, and comes looking for me to bite me.”

Our blue heeler was the only dog I’ve ever had who would bite—including Peggy and me--whereas biting is commonplace in cats.

“I love every single one of your pet names for Brewsky!”

They’re one of various things I do about which Peggy says, “That’s just like a man!” Well, I AM a man, so I guess it’s only natural that I act like one, but somehow I think she might mean it as a criticism.

Linda said...

"That's just like a man." is not criticism. It is recognition and puzzlement at how men work. My friend and her husband had a craft show booth where they made jewelry to order. The husband would ask any little girl waiting for her bracelet, "Do you want me to install it for you?"

He is an engineer and a mechanic. So, he installs jewelry like he would install a car part. His wife and I laughed at him every time, saying, "That's just like a man." Women, no matter how oriented towards work and whatever they do, never "install" a piece of jewelry for a child.

Men often come to a problem or action like a woman never would.

The Blog Fodder said...

Our dog is so lonely since his brother died. We hear him crying softly at night. I don't know how he would react to a puppy, certainly we couldn't get another grown dog as he might fight it, even if it were a female. We have three cats, all from the same litter so they get along. Adding a new one would be problematic. Love your names for Brewsky. You can call animals anything in a loving tone and they are happy.

possum said...

Squirt guns.
That is how we have managed bad behavior in our cats when they become aggressive toward one another or company. Only need to use it once.
Current cat loves people to pieces. You come to visit, be prepared to get sat on, head butted (means scratch me!) or pestered until you play with him.
Rusty loves to play fetch... he will bring you his "pet ferret" and lay it at your feet. Visitors can't believe he is asking to play fetch.
He bites me when we are playing rough but never in anger.

Can't do the dog walking thing. Hell, right now I can't even walk myself!

Glad you have Brewski. His job was to teach you cats aren't so bad after all! Looks like he succeeded!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cats can be as different from each other as can be. Most are only willing to tolerate so much attention before leaving. Dogs tend to need more affection but there are exceptions. I like both dogs and cats, but dogs somewhat more

ellen abbott said...

I've always been partial to cats. have had cats always except for a few years when we were traveling a lot, we didn't have any pets. when my son was 12, his father got him a dog, a boxer (I had boxers as the family pet when I was growing up so they picked a breed they thought I would not object to). I came to love that dog so much and when she died it was so traumatic for both of us (because of course, when our son grew up and moved away we would not let him take the dog) that we have never gotten another dog. I think perhaps someday we will. when my last cat was killed by a car when he was only about two or three, I was so bereft (he was a very cool cat personality-wise) that I refused to get another (we lived near a very busy street and I refuse to have just indoor animals which is why we had no pets and could travel to the art shows). When we moved out to the country, a cat showed up at my sister's house who had just rescued two little kittens so I took her. Her idea of affection is sitting in the same room with you or jumping on you in the middle of the night wanting to be pet. and when she is through being petted, she leaves abruptly. she is no lap sitter. and also does not tolerate other cats.

Joe Todd said...

Love dogs but am allergic to cats and don't like them. “If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.” James Thurber Have a good one

Snowbrush said...

"Squirt guns. That is how we have managed bad behavior in our cats…”

We had indifferent success with that, and, of course, you have to have the squirt gun at hand in order for the cat to know what he did wrong.

"Can't do the dog walking thing.”

The first time I resented having dogs was when I had those three shoulder surgeries. For six weeks after each surgery, I couldn’t lift my arm, and for another six weeks, I couldn’t lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee (during all time, I had to wear a sling that held my arm out from my body), yet Peggy was out of town for up to a week during at least two of these periods, and I was at home alone with two dogs to walk. Imagine holding both leashes in one hand when they weren’t used to it, and also imagine that it’s winter in Eugene, and therefore raining, and that I had to somehow pick up their poop while holding their leashes, all with one hand. After that, I realized what a liability dogs could be . There’s nothing worse than wanting to do right by them and not being able to. When old people are encouraged to get a dog, I always wonder who the hell is supposed to take care of the dog, and what’s going to become of him or her after the old person dies.

Linda said...

Old people getting a dog or cat is how many older people end up with broken bones, concussions, and other injuries, some of which lead to a diminished enjoyment of life or even death.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I love how all animals have a bunch of nicknames!

Winifred said...

We've had quite a few cats, usually strays or ones people didn't want. They never got on! I asked the vet about & he said why expect them to, mostly they prefer to be alone. So don't take the risk Snowbrush. He may come to hate you.

I miss my cats so much. My husband won't let me have another, it would outlive us! Not fair to it to have to find another home. Still hate coming in to an empty house though.