I have two dogs, one is Roscoe a Rottweiler (160 lbs) and the other is Milo a Fox Terrier -Chihuahua mix (12 lbs). Both males. They co-habit pretty well. The little one is the boss…go figure. They are getting up there in years; both are 11 years old.
Today, my daughter and I went to the local animal shelter. She wants a cat. She has wanted one for some time since our other one disappeared a year ago. I’m hoping he found a home he preferred and just never came back rather than consider the alternative…run down by a speeding driver. 😦
I never buy an animal from a pet store. I consider them ridiculously over priced. Moreover, buying a high-strung, overbred dog makes no sense to me when there are so many animals that need a good home that are facing euthanasia in the shelters, why not adopt one? Or in my case…two?
The shelter had a special, buy one get one free. Just like a pair of shoes, I thought.
In the “cat” room I sat in a chair while my daughter looked at the cats/kittens. I wasn’t participating in this selection because she wanted the cat. This time of year cats are handy to have around, they keep the mice population down. Mice come in from the fields around the home trying to get out of the cold I guess. I’m sure they’re looking for some place to set up home before the snow comes. But sorry Fievel it can’t be in my house!
I have a lot of wild quail, a couple of rabbits, many squirrels, an occasional hawk and pheasant, even saw a falcon in the tree the other day; there’s also the pesky Edgar Allen Poe ravens that land wherever they want and act like they own the place, along with assorted other birds that like to hang out in the backyard. So what’s one more animal to add to the menagerie?
But one cat ok? One.
After some time spent looking at the felines up for adoption, my daughter decided she liked one. An employee came in then, to unlock cages for us and advised there is a “buy one get one free” special going on this month. Oh no.
I reconsidered and though oh the heck with it. I’ve got a big house, there’s 3200 sq feet they can hide in if they need to. They might want each other for company too. I asked if we could take the chosen cat out of the cage. Yes, sure. So we sat and watched this 5 month old kitten cruise around the room, going from cage to cage checking out the other prisoners awaiting execution. My daughter liked another cat almost as well. I suggested we see if the two got along. It’s a NO! The cat hissed and growled. I said, “oh I’m not going to listen to that noise the rest of my days! Find another match!”
After trying out another kitten or two (remember my thought about shoes?) my daughter decided on a second one. So now we’re getting TWO cats! Oh boy. I’m already givimg serious thought about how to integrate one cat now I’ll have these two felines with the canines at home to figure out.
Before we could adopt the cats though I had to go home, get my two aged dogs, bring them back. Roscoe was found as a puppy in the middle of the road when he was about 2 months old. Our area was under forced evacuation due to raging forest fires and I suppose the pup got separated from his owners. But Milo, I had adopted from this same shelter about 6 years ago. Yikes! I’m in the system! Apparently I had let the license lapse. Why don’t they send me a reminder or something? Anyway, to adopt another pet I had to get both dogs updated on their rabies shots and licenses. But I’m not adopting anything, my daughter is! Thanks to my daughter, when asked if she had any other pets in the home, she piped up, “yes two dogs.” Ok, wait the dogs are mine and you’re getting the cats but moving out WITH the cats, right? So why are you bringing me into this adoption thing?
Ok, she wants a cat I got it! I drive home and get the dogs. I have to lift Roscoe into the vehicle though; no easy feat given his weight, that he’s old and doesn’t like to jump and my truck is tall. The things I do sometimes….geez.
Conveniently located next door to the shelter is a veterinary office (also run by the city), that gives shots for $10. Very affordable which helps since its mandatory. Especially compared to any number of private vets in this area; make an appointment, wait an hour with your pet in a room full of other pets, pay a gazillion dollars for a shot and leave. I should mention here that Roscoe does not like other dogs. He proved that when he killed a 6lb Chihuahua in a matter of seconds a few years ago. Why he tolerates Milo I do not know. It makes no sense to me really. But I know Roscoe is irrationally insane about this one thing so I keep him away from other dogs. I’ve tried to introduce him to other dogs using every technique known to expert dog trainers, but it’s a nerve-racking unsuccessful experience each time for all involved. So I don’t try anymore. It’s for their protection and mine maybe. I feel horrible when he acts crazed around another dog. That my otherwise calm, well-trained, playful dog turns into a killing machine whenever another dog is around–male or female makes no difference–is hugely stressful as well as embarrassing to me. It took me a long time to get over him killing a little female dog that was in no way threatening to him. I have no desire to ever have that happen again.
Anyway, since we had the dogs at the vets office we ask, can you cut the monster’s nails? Sure they can! That will be $10. I asked, “per foot?” since one never knows really. No, its $10 total. Great!
I told the technician, “get those nail clippers out! Along with a muzzle please. He’s never bitten a person but I don’t want you to be his first human victim.” Roscoe is old as I’ve mentioned, 11 years old is OLD for a big dog in case you didn’t know. He loves his feet rubbed but not his nails clipped. I have to sneak up on him from behind and sit on him to clip his nails. But for $10, its a sweet deal to let someone else do it.
Besides, my daughter wanted a cat remember? We’re here with my dogs because she wanted a cat! One cat! I told her that this little trip to the shelter is on her. The whole thing. So she got to pay for the shots, the licenses and the nail clipping. Seems fair to me. She agreed. She wasn’t even reluctant, so I figure she must REALLY want a cat.
Me? I couldn’t care less. I don’t mind cats, I like cats in fact but I’m good with the dogs.
Dogs are done so we go back next door to pick up the cats. They were being held for us though we hadn’t paid them any money to do so. They had my daughter’s phone number I wondered if they would call her if we didn’t return.
I again get to sit in a chair waiting. This isn’t my show after all. I sit with my two dogs while my daughter collects her cats. I wondered what my dogs were thinking, sitting there at the shelter. I told them, “see? If you don’t knock off your shenanigans you might find yourself taking up residence here!” Both looked at me, “you wouldn’t do such a thing.”
Oh? Don’t test me! Especially with these new chew toys–I mean kittens–coming home.
Kittens in a portable carrier, dogs on their leashes, out we go with two bags of cat food (one each) and some shiny new toys for them to play with. My daughter grinning ear to ear and showing me the toys like they are the BEST thing ever! I kept my mouth shut but thought those kittens won’t get a chance to play with the toys because they’ll be running for their lives most of the time.
Out we go to my truck. All six of us now. Curious isn’t it? Two of us set off on this little jaunt to get ONE cat and now six of us are returning home.
Two dogs in the truck, two cats in the truck, my daughter and me and off we go!
The dogs didn’t seem to notice the cats while in the truck. Probably because Roscoe was too busy sticking his nose out the window. Milo just sulks and looks at me like I’m subjecting him to the most horrifying experience of his life. I would think that being in that shelter once upon a time would have been pretty bad for him and then returning today–that had to be bad. Apparently he doesn’t have bad memories from the place but riding in the truck? He always wants to go, races past me if he catches me getting ready to leave. Jumps up and down let me go! Let me go too! But once he’s in the truck he changes his mind and sits wishing he was back home.
We get home without incident. I get the dogs, daughter gets the box full of kittens and we all get in the house in one piece, no scratches, no fights, all is calm. Sort of.
The dogs act like I just came home and they weren’t with me! Crazy canines. They are excited, happy and wanting to be petted. Did they forget they were with me? Went on a little trip? Got shots?
The cats wisely remain silent safely tucked in their box.
Ok. So we got over the first hurdle. Bringing them all home. Second hurdle? Opening the box! In the house! With the dogs present!
Nope, I don’t want to! Let’s think about this a minute shall we? Two new cats, two old dogs. Hum….
I decided let’s just set the box on the coffee table and let the dogs smell it. Smell the cats and take it a step at a time. Really I needed to sit some more with this. Still having color pictures in my head of Roscoe going at that little dog I did not want another scene like that one.
30 minutes ticked by and I consider those cats might want to be let free. After all didn’t we just spring them from jail? Don’t they want to see what freedom looks like? Of course they do! I know they do because they are starting to M-E-O-W! Alrighty then, let’s do this! But first dogs get to go outside. With the dogs safely outside behind glass I opened the carrier. First cat, black and white jumps out immediately. The other one is more tentative and just pokes his head out. I think to myself, oh whatever cat, figure it out! You can climb trees and stuff right? I saw you climbing cages just an hour ago. You can certainly find your way out of an open box; if not I guess that’s your home from now on.
Curiosity got the cat eventually and finally they are both out and roaming about the house. Chasing each other, running behind furniture, on furniture, over furniture, under furniture, etc.
After a while they noticed the dogs. The dogs noticed the cats. Both looking at each other through the sliding glass door. Milo just wanted in, Roscoe was off patrolling like he does every few hours, securing the backyard from any unwanted visitors. There is a dog door installed that they usually use and after one or two attempts to get through (I had closed it) they realized they might be stuck outside for a while. Outside is fine with Roscoe he likes the cold; Milo hates the cold so he wants in!
Another 30 minutes ticks past and I decided it’s time to get them all acquainted. Milo got to come in first since he just loves everyone and everything and doesn’t know he should have natural enemies. He saw the cats and stopped dead in his tracks. He looked at me, asked, “are you kidding me?!” Or so it seemed. The black and white cat waltzed up to him and they were nose to nose. Ok, that’s cute I guess. Milo didn’t chase and the cat didn’t run. Good sign. The other cat, something multi colored was hiding somewhere.
Probably a good idea, we don’t want Milo stroking out with TWO new cats in the house. Remember they were in the box when I put the dogs out. Dogs come back in the house and all they know is that same box is now open and there are two CATS in the house!!!
This black and white cat is a brave one! He just doesn’t seem to care there’s a dog in the house. My daughter is reminded of the honey badger and thinks she’s going to give the cat the name of Honey Badger…hum…ok..its your cat I think to myself, call him what you want. But I’m not going to be calling Honey Badger! Honey Badger! to come eat. The cat IS brave though.
Roscoe is now unhappy that he wasn’t at the door when Milo was let in; he is looking through the glass door and pleading, what about me? Might as well go for it I thought. The cats are pretty familiar with parts of the house, have scoped out hiding places and come equipped with relatively sharp claws so I let Roscoe in. In my head I heard an announcer shout, let the games begin!
Roscoe is no fool. He knew, just KNEW something was up and he proceeded to move from room to room, nose down looking for what was different. He ran right into the Honey Badger cat and stopped dead in his tracks. They stared at each other, noses almost touching and I stood there waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Ok! That’s enough! Break it up. Neither moved. Neither was going to be the one to back down. Roscoe wasn’t growling but neither was Honey Badger. Maybe they were both stunned frozen. Maybe they were waiting to see which would draw first blood. Roscoe remembered himself finally–that he was a dog–and gave chase. I don’t know where the other cat was, but he was smart enough to stay out of sight.
Honey Badger got himself safely under a table too low for Roscoe. I distracted Roscoe with a dog treat. Ok, good sign I thought. At least I can distract him, unlike the time with the little dog mentioned above.
Honey Badger took off and hid somewhere while Roscoe was distracted. But Roscoe wanted to know where Cat went. While looking for Honey Badger, Roscoe came upon the other one who was sitting on the arm of the couch, partially hidden by pillows. Now this cat is no Honey Badger and took off immediately. Roscoe giving chase, naturally, leaps over an end table almost knocking over a table lamp in hot pursuit of this other cat. He lost the race.
He turned his attention back to Honey Badger, true to his name, came out from his hiding place and strolled in front of Roscoe as if he was daring him to give chase. He did. Chased the cat onto the couch and got the cat in the corner of the couch. First fight! We all know cats come equipped with talons, right? Sharp claws? Honey Badger was on his back and using all four feet to fight Roscoe. To his credit Roscoe wasn’t trying to bite. Ok, first round to Honey Badger! I had to check Roscoe to see how badly he’d been scratched. Just a little nick. Now a curious thing about Rottweilers is their high pain tolerance. They don’t seem to feel pain like other dogs. I worried if Roscoe was scratched he might just ignore it and keep going at the cat(s). I yelled at Roscoe who turned to look at me and Honey Badger took that split second to make an escape.
The cats jumped on the back of a couch and plotted their revenge against Roscoe.
Eventually they all calmed down. Its peace and harmony in the household right now. Sort of. Roscoe was pestering the cats who refused to back down. So I yelled at Roscoe to “go lay down!” He went somewhere and is pouting now in another part of the house. His feelings will remain hurt until I tell him he’s the best dog ever in the whole wide world and prove it by giving him a pat and a dog treat.
Milo is acting like his feelings are hurt too and he’s somewhere else in the house. He’ll forget his feelings are hurt in about a minute.
The cats? They are happily playing as if there’s no dogs in the house. I hear them running around, like big mice scurrying behind the furniture. Occasionally one jumps in my lap to the keyboard as I type this. Typical cat, always nosy.
I think the other cat is going to be called Lenny from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men….if you know the story. He seems a little…..touched.
Seriously, I’m wondering, what was I thinking when I said ok to two cats?!
Clearly I wasn’t thinking. It should be interesting around my house the next few days. I am wondering if my daughter took off for good. Or if shes reconsidering this “cat” thing and just dumped them on me. The shelter gives us three days to return the felines, without reason or question. I guess we all, the dogs, cats and I have three days to see if this will work out. Or not. Before you frown at me, I’d never return an animal to a shelter. NEVER. It would be entirely too cruel. I’d find a home that doesn’t have dogs that are crazy like Roscoe for them.