25 April 2010

This cat thing

The cat thing is not working out so well. I think the cat needs more human contact and affection. Human-feline quality time, as it were. That's difficult when you have an excitable dog, one that is used to chasing cats. Up trees, when possible. That's the most fun.

Bertie sat on our next-door neighbor's doorstep yesterday
afternoon, watching us sitting on our own front porch with Callie.

But Bertie can't go to our neighbors — at least not the ones we know best. They are anti-cat, it turns out. Now we understand why the two sets of neighbors over the road don't have anything to do with each other. One household keeps several cats. The other neighbors, we now know, complain mightily that the cats do their business in their flower beds. They don't like the crottes. We were never aware of the problem until we told them we had inherited a cat from a departing Englishwoman.

He looked lonely, don't you think?

Sigh. We heard those neighbors shooing Bertie away yesterday when he was walking down to road, looking for a friend. Or une caresse, as they say in French. They clapped their hands loudly and hooted him away.

On a happier note: the lilacs are in bloom all around.

I had forgotten how divided the world is when it comes to dogs and cats. Most people who love one animal have very little use for, if not outright antipathy toward, the other. Now it feels like we are squabbling with neighbors who have been good friends to us for seven years.


  1. Cats are not always popular with neighbors because the roam around. They're very independent though, as you know. Yours may not be as lonely as you think. I hope not, anyway!

  2. Betty is right in my experience of cats. They are generally very independant and opportunists who will accept all cuddles but can do perfectly well without them. Bertie will be fine. But it's a shame he is causing a rift between you and your neighbours. Cat poo in your garden is extremely unpleasant so I can see why they feel a bit miffed.

    Maybe if you could explain how you acquired the cat it would help.

    I once had a dog and a cat at the same time and they got on fine, although the cat was there first. Maybe that makes a difference.

  3. Jean and Betty, thanks. You are right -- Bertie is probably not lonely. It's just that empathetic me feels guilty and sad at having to shut him in the garage alone for so much of the time.

    About the poo, Bertie seems to go regularly in his litter box. I clean it up daily or even twice a day. So he's probably not the one leaving presents in the neighbors' garden.

  4. Maybe you should try and put Callie and Bertie together in the house - preferably at feeding time - where there are no trees ... They'll be too occupied with their food to take notice of each other. And although it may be a bit noisy and hectic at first, the worst that can happen is Bertie flying up the curtains or a wardrobe. As you said, Callie only wants to play; she won't hurt Bertie. I think the garden is too big a territory to defend for both parties! :)) Good Luck!

  5. Hi Martine, well, our downstairs room, the entryway, is pretty much empty of furniture and curtains right now, so that might be a good place to have our dîner à deux.

  6. I once had to find a good home for my German Shepherd dog who hated cats. I wanted her to have a place in the country where she would have room to romp and run. It happened that the kindly somewhat elderly Jewish town librarian wanted a dog to feel safer in her home in the country and she loved this dog. A match made in heaven!!

    On the appointed day, I brought the dog to her house only to find out that she had a resident cat. "Oh oh", I said, "I don't think this is going to work."

    She thought about it for a minute, put her hand half way up the wall, and ssid "Not to worry, the dog will have from here down, the cat from here up!" ...and that's how it worked out.

    Was her name Ruth Bader Ginsberg?

    No, but it could have been.

  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGNmFrhK7E0&feature=related
    Ken, I hope this works for you. It's a link to my favourite French singer Camille. She's a bit off the planet but interesting and I thought this song might help you in your endeavours of a life with a cat and a dog.
    If it doesn't work, google Camille on you tube and "Cats and Dogs".
    Enjoy and have a giggle

  8. Ken, Excellent idea, but you should leave an escape route for Bertie. You don't want him to be 'cornered' by Callie. Don't let him get out though. Maybe up the stairs, while you let Callie out in the garden ... to cool down! :))

    P.S. Put Bertie's bowl slightly higher than Callie's. Cats like to 'look down' on people and other animals! :))

  9. u might let the neighbors know that bertie is a litterbox cat....my kitty does like human interaction & he comes in specifically to be admired & patted....once a kitty bathroom place is established outside, it's hard for humans to change....so prob good if neighbors discourage mr B early on....Callie, being a herder, will always chase, but prob only for sport...and maybe not as much indoors...cats can always go higher...i had to feed one cat on the table when dogs were present

  10. I'm sure that Bertie knows which side of his bread is buttered on. Don't worry, he'll come back.

  11. The lilacs are gorgeous. I miss their lovely smell and the one from the syringa too. Good luck with your neighbors! (I have a problem with squirrels).

  12. Our neighbor's cat lives in our yard. I think our somewhat chaotic garden is more interesting than their very sterile and manicured space. The fact that they have two quarreling little boys might have something to do with it too. Good thing I like cats, and that Tony pretty much doesn't notice animals. The cat never makes a mess in our yard, so I'm guessing she has a litter box.

    Good luck with all the sentient beings around you, especially the neighbors. The animals will adjust.

  13. Well, I would guess that a free-roaming dog might cause more damage to a garden than a cat. That said, I found some cat quotes that seem on point:

    "Beware of people who dislike cats." (an Irish proverb)

    "Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat." (Mark Twain)

    "Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. They have never forgotten this." (anonymous)

  14. I think if you just let Bertie and Callie co-exist, they will eventually become friends. The longer you separate them, the more difficult that will be.

  15. Good luck with the neighbors.

    We have problems when Rosie comes to visit. Lewis puts a brick in our door that leads to the cat's quarters so that Bella can escape easily and also see what's going on in the house.

    Rosie can't get through the narrow opening (secured by a bungee cord). Each visit gets a little better, but we still have problems.

    Love the lilac! Bon Dimanche.

  16. Thanks, everybody. Day by day we will figure it out. Bertie had a good day yesterday, and the neighbors made a peace gesture toward us, coming over to talk about things they are doing this spring at their house here.

    Bob, I'm sure you're right about co-existence. We've been afraid the cat might take to the hills if the dog kept harrassing him. But now I think he's settled in. Still wish I knew how he was injured last week though.


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