I'm starting to think that taking Shira for walks on a leash is a bad idea. And I'm beginning to think SHE thinks she's a dog!
Shira's breeder has dogs and she was around them before she came to live with us. Then Ken started feeling the need to counteract the cat culture around here with a dog. Two weeks after we got Shira, Colter came to live with us.
Colter was big even as a puppy. What would you expect from a Siberian Husky/Golden Retriever Mix? Maggie and Zeke thought he was the incarnation of evil and we could tell they didn't understand why we'd need a dog when we had them. Maggie has since asserted her place in the household and Colter is almost as afraid of Maggie as the rest of us are. Zeke, on the other hand, is still running when the crazy dog gets anywhere near him. Shira has always looked at Colter with a bit of disdain. "Why don't you just grow up, you silly dog?" He's a dog; he's an idiot; that's all there is to it. Or so she seems to be thinking.
When Shira was about 4 months old, we took her and Colter to a "bring your own dog" party. Some friends of mine have a property where they have fenced in about an acre so their dogs can run. They invited us city dwellers over so our dogs could run, too. I'd taken Shira to work with me that day to meet everyone and joined the party late. When I arrived, there were five full-grown basset hounds, a black lab, and a golden retriever, and Colter. I put Shira's leash on and put her on the ground. All the dogs came racing over.
"What is that?" "That's sure a funny looking dog!" "That's no dog, that's a cat!" "Hey, let's sniff the cat!" "Better yet, let's lick that cat!"
Any sane cat would've run.
Shira stood there in the middle of the dogs, her tail up in the air like a flag. Soon she was off exploring on her leash, constantly attended by at least a couple of the dogs. It was a fine afternoon and Shira and the dogs had fun.
Fast forward to Shira and my walks around the neighborhood. We don't see many other cats and when we do, Shira throws a fit. A hiss, a growl, lashing of the tail. She's never attacked another cat, but she sure puts on a good show. However, spot a dog and it's a whole different story.
One day, a big, black dog had escaped his yard. Just as we walked down the driveway, this dog comes charging over to Shira. I'm ready to grab her and save her from the menace when he screeched to a halt beside her. She looks up, he looks down, they touch noses and all is well. They stand there getting acquainted while a neighbor grabs a spare leash to take the dog home.
A week or so later, Jeremy and I are walking Shira when we encounter a couple of bassets playing off leash in their front yard. The owner looks a bit panicked as Shira strolls up. The dogs trot over, they all exchange nose rubs and butt sniffs. It takes some convincing to get Shira to continue her walk. She wanted to stay and play.
Tonight was the best of all. Shira met two new dogs. The first was playing with a bunch of little boys in the field near the house. Shira spotted the dog and off we went. There was someone to meet. The boys quickly put their dog on his leash. While he was standing there, Shira strolled over and introduced herself. They were amazed. As Shira and the dog visited, the boys told me they had four cats at home and they sure didn't get along with the dog! Then a few blocks later we met another puppy. This time Shira tried to follow him home after they made their introductions. He kept turning around to look at her and she would try to catch up with him. Only the cruelty of her mom kept her from going home with a new playmate.
It certainly makes our walks more peaceful knowing that Shira doesn't mind dogs, especially since we see quite a few. But it does make me wonder why she'd purposely try to make friends with every dog we see.
© 2002 lisa s vasa
(Please note that you will see a number of photos of our cats and kittens that I've taken outside in a natural setting. The LostWoods cats do NOT go outside unsupervised! When we do go outside for pictures and occasional adventures, there is always one person and usually two watching them closely. We do have an outside, fully enclosed run to which the older cats are allowed access, but even then we check on them often.)
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