Pet Advice – Straight From The Horse’s Mouth
by Charles “Horse” Tsence
This column is dedicated to the love and care of animals. Contrary to what some readers thought, animals do not include spouses. Yes, I know that spouses and partners call each other “Pet,” “Poochie” and even “My Cuddly Fur-Ball” (mostly directed to men), but this column is dedicated to our friends with four legs, feathers, fins, prehensile tails and the like. For questions regarding male-female relationships, I refer you to columnist Hortense “Poochie” McGoldstein, who will appear in this publication. Thank you; Charles “Horse” Tsence
My wife is a cat person. I totally prefer the companionship of a dog, but I have learned to live in a house with a minimum of two cats. They tolerate me, and I tolerate them. The thing that rankles me most is their attitude when they want to exit the house.
For security measures, we do not have a pet door. A human must open the door for our feline and canine family members. Dogs have no problem exiting. They want to go out; you open the door; they go out. However, when a cat wants to go out, you open the door; the cat looks around; the cat walks away from the door; you shut the door; the cat turns back to the door; you open the door again; this time the cat sits and begins to clean itself; this usually takes a goodly period of time. Finally, he or she may or may not go out.
This is most maddening when you are in the middle of a good TV program or book. How can I train our cats to go out promptly?
My wife thinks I’m overly sensitive about this, but doggone it, I’m getting sick and tired of their unfeeling behavior. Signed, Sick-and-Tired Woods
It’s a cat’s nature to exhibit that behavior. Dogs view humans as friends and masters. Cats view humans as servants. Your cat’s actions are normal and mirror the actions of those super-rich persons who desire servants to wait on them at their beckoned call. This is absolutely no problem for the cat. If you close the door too soon, he or she will become so obnoxious that you’ll open the door again. If you ever get so upset that you throw the cat out (not advisable behavior for many reasons), the cat will shake it off and revert back to his or her old ways without another thought.
On a more serious note, dogs usually are less concerned with possible danger when exiting their home than cats are. It’s in a canine’s nature to usually charge outside and then take a position – aggressive, defensive, or benign. Cats normally are more cautious and carefully consider entrance into another environment before they take the step. As far as a cat’s reluctance and apparent outside-avoidance techniques of scratching, preening and the like, they can hold the urge to relieve themselves for a much longer time than dogs. When a dog wants out, he or she really wants out.
Go with the flow; chill out; that book will hold and there will be a rerun of the TV program; take it easy, or your dogmatic attitude may result in catatonia.
If I give my cat “Crazy Legs” catnip from time to time, can I be arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor cat? In determining whether a cat is “a minor,” do you count a cat’s actual years or years calibrated to a human’s life? Although I live alone, the neighborhood children know from time to time that I give Crazy Legs catnip. Since I am told that catnip is the cat world equivalent of marijuana, does such conduct on my part set a bad example for the neighborhood children? You know, will they reason, “If Penelope Phisterhofer gives her cat catnip, it must be okay for us to smoke a little weed once in a while.” These questions have caused me to ponder long and hard, and I need answers. I asked my pastor these questions but he refused to answer me and barred me from attending his services for the rest of my life.
Signed, Catnip Lady
Dear Catnip Lady:
Your queries presented first time questions that have forced me to call (and pay for) legal beagle advice. I believe you have been living alone too long because we cannot find any jurisdiction in the United States in which you can be arrested for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor (or major) cat.” Unless your behavior could be considered cruelty to animals, you’re home free. You mention that you give Crazy Legs catnip from “time to time;” how often is “from time to time?” And, how exactly did Crazy Legs get his name? Is it because of his catnip habit?
Based upon my legal beagle’s confidential comments, I strongly suggest you consider weaning Crazy Legs from “hitting the sauce” as much as I believe he is partaking. I know it’s amusing to view cats in catnip cajolery, but excess catnip may prove harmful.
Although it’s a jump from giving catnip to a cat to promoting a drug culture that children and young adults may find inviting, you and Crazy Legs should be on your best behavior when neighborhood kids visit. Humans often mirror the animal world, and this could happen in your case.
Finally, that’s no way for your pastor, a man of God, to treat you. When he’s not looking, sneak into his church and sing off-key as loudly as you can. That’ll learn him.
Signing off for now. Until next time, enjoy your pets and remember that not only are they members of your family, they are part of your personality.