The cat (Merriwether) and the dog (Moose) had been dancing around each other for weeks. Although initially openly hostile, Merriwether stopped hissing at the sight of Moose after a week or so (at least in front of me) and there had been no further (known) incidences of attacks by hissing.
The dog, seemingly perpetually hungry, was still trying to eat the cat’s food, usually around 2:00 a.m. when the noise of the plastic bowl nudging across the kitchen floor can have maximum impact against the backdrop of the silent, sleeping house. No big deal, and remedied by putting the cat’s bowl up onto the counter. The cat, perhaps in retaliation, had begun messing with the dog’s water bowl (perhaps to spit in it, but that’s just my theory).
After being shunned for a few days upon our return from the Christmas road trip in which the dog was a first-class traveler while the cat was under partial house arrest in the custody of the neighbors, the cat resumed his demands for attention by rubbing against my legs and trying to topple me in the kitchen. The dog had taken to standing on his hind legs with his (generally grubby) front paws on my thighs, tongue flapping around his panting.
Always vocal, Merriwether’s incessant meowing continues – more than I care to hear, but no matter how I tell him, he won’t shut up. Maybe he just wants to be acknowledged (don’t we all?). Sometimes I meow back at him and we engage in often lengthy conversations of which I have absolutely no understanding. As I wonder what I’m saying to this chatty cat, I wonder what he’s thinking, especially when he suddenly turns tail and haughtily struts away. “Oh. My. Gosh. Did the giant just say that? I have officially had enough.”
In recent days, instead of camping out under the coffee table or the dining room table, the formerly independent Merriwether now climbs onto the couch to occupy (monopolize?) my lap or share (invade?) the cushion already occupied by Moose. In the absence of hissing and presence of willing proximity, I thought perhaps a Christmas-miracle truce had been negotiated between the two. Fantasies of the pets napping in a pile or grooming each other or frolicking together in the yard began to slip back into my head. Ah yes, a suburban American dream—a man I love who actually ‘gets’ me, his adorable little boy playing with our dog and cat in a white brick house with chocolate brown shutters.
I turned my head away for a second, spacing out, pondering a sentence I was writing, when suddenly I heard a nasty, now familiar feline hiss, immediately followed by (nay, overlapped by) an unfamiliar and surprising bark, right before the cat shot off the couch and into the kitchen. The dog, who had suddenly, miraculously spoken, looked at me like he expected to be reprimanded. He wasn’t. I had already seen enough of the cat’s antagonizing to know he likely deserved whatever he had just gotten from Moose, who I congratulated for standing up to the cat. I haven’t heard a sound from him since. Moose, that is. Merriwether is still meowing up a storm.