Neurotic Dogs and Psychotic Cats
As a rule of thumb, it has been said that neurotic dogs and psychotic cats do not get along…well. As a dog lover, I feel that not all dogs are neurotic, but I am pretty sure that all cats are psychotic.
I base this observation on my mom’s cats and my brother’s cats. I also base it on the strays that have ended up at our shelter every now and then. The truth of the matter is this: neurotic dogs and psychotic cats develop when they are seriously spoiled by an owner who knows no better and sets no boundaries. In other words, the word “NO” is obsolete.
Arrival of neurotic dogs and psychotic cats
According to Whole Dog Training …
“What we do know, is dogs do what works for them to obtain and retain the things they want or need to feel contented or safe. It has nothing to do with dominating or even pleasing us humans; it has everything to do with pleasing the dog.”
The same is said about cats, but worse.
Since 1999, dogs have been a way of life at our place. Over the years, we have learned to better understand our dogs – how to fulfill their needs and find out who they are – accepting dog intelligence and dog behavior way before science began nipping at their tails about dog intelligence.
We were pretty sure about all of this until neurotic dogs and psychotic cats joined forces!
Testing the dogs’ intelligence with stray cats
Eight stray cats arrived at our place throughout the winter holidays, a period when I desperately needed some down time … a period of time when I threw my theory about dogs and cats right out the window, deep into the frigid snow, forming brand new thoughts about these dogs and cats.
Before I go any further, I need to admit that quite possibly my opinion of cats would be very different if I ran a cat shelter. But since 1999, dogs have been our way of life. Over the years, we learned to understand dogs, recognizing their needs, recognized how smart they are … long before science began nipping at their tails with their “newly proven facts.” Facts that most dog owners and trainers were already aware of.
I have always considered dogs easy to train and work with. This went totally out the window this winter when the stray cats arrived, beginning with their group opinion that I was an old woman who lacked in intelligence. These began a daily battle of wits; based on where I wanted them to be vs. where they knew they should be.
Unfortunately, our little dogs had not yet accepted the fact that cats are …. well …. independent and know-it-alls? Having one in the house (my mom’s rescue cat Sassie who had been raised with dogs and cats ) was not the same thing as having eight wild stray cats in the house in the middle of winter.
A stray cat named White Toes
This new way of life for our dogs began with an overly-heavy female cat. She had been found in an old pastured barn outside in the middle of a snowstorm. Along with her sister and brother, she was half-frozen and not very friendly. We ended up bringing all three cats home (sigh), placing them in my art room where the dogs were not allowed.
In this room we placed a heater, their own bedding in the three rocking chairs the room held, large bowls of clean water and cat food, and their own extra large (drastically needed!) litter box with clumpable litter. Oh, yes. And a small trash can lined with a scented plastic bag and a pretty blue plastic pooper-scooper.
This female was a beautiful gray tortoise shell with four white feet and a smidgen of white on her face. Ingenious as I was, I named her White Toes. I like to keep things simple around here. White Toes seemed to take to the house the easiest. She quickly learned to love our little Pomeranians, Gigi and Maya Rose. I think she may have thought they were kittens.
The rest of the dogs? She couldn’t have cared less for them, along with her siblings. In fact, life began to take a turn for the worse, not only for myself but for the dogs.
Can dogs jump like cats?
Our entire life rotates around dogs. Truthfully, we know very little about cats…even less about psychotic cats! When we brought them in over the winter, we placed a thick blanket on an old non-working stove in the living room of our old house. We kept a heat lamp over it for the two Pomeranian dogs and tiny Tille Mae, our hybrid pom/rat terrier.
When we let the three cats out for some exercise in the living room after a week or so (keeping my mom’s cat in the kitchen where the open door was), they always pushed the dogs aside and would sleep on the stove under the heat lamp, especially White Toes. Believe me, those dogs went absolutely berserk.
Remember, cats can jump … and leap. Dogs can, but only to a point. When they would watch as the cats jumped up ontop of the stove, they would have the most puzzled looks on their faces. The poms never stood a chance, while Tessie, our miniature Aussie, could clear it in one jump.
More neurotic dogs and psychotic cats
Eventually, we had three more cats arrive, two who could jump and one 4-year old male who could not. The dogs liked him very well, and considered him one of their own. Unfortunately, we had found a yellow-long haired female in our shed and she was pregnant. Therefore, we gave her a room of her own with Holly Higgins and Willow. Another 9 month kitten we found we ended up taking her to the vet, as she had landed on the left side of her face. She had no teeth on that side, her eye was swollen and infected, and her little face was seriously scraped. We had her on antibiotics twice a day and a med for her eye. And she was pregnant too.
When she landed on the pavement, we were sure she did damage to her brain due to being traumatized. She would attack anything that moved with a crazy look in her eyes, and could never stand to be enclosed in any room. Above all, she hated Sassy, my mom’s cat. And anything that moved. Her life was never the same.
This cat had a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde personality that had every dog and cat in the house running for their life. She destroys every plant in the house, and stalks my Red-tailed Parrot who can imitate cat-calling sounds. We call him the cat-whisperer, except he does not whisper. He screams, “here, kitty, kitty! here kitty, kitty! meow….meow” In the middle of the night, which means we do not get a lot of sleep around here.
We call this cat Lilly. Why, I will never know as that name sure does not fit her.
The third cat is the male, a beautiful silver tortoise, who I have found a home for already. We have had him fixed, gave him all his shots, and crate-trained him. He was already litter-trained. A sweeter cat you will never found. Why he was dumped I will never know, as he is the most lovable cat I have ever seen. I call him Mr. Amos, who gets along with all the dogs and cats in the house. He could have stayed forever, as far as I am concerned!
The last rescued cat is Tommy, who was found sleeping in our shed; a lavender gray cat who will never come near the house as he is so wild. But we feed him every day with fresh water. He sleeps outside with our pet Possum and Raccoons (a mama and her three babies who play in our yard every night).
We keep them all pretty well-fed so none attack our collection of wild birds who we feed in the winter. The birds wait until the door slams, and lines up on the electrical lines …. waiting until corn mixed with some cat food is thrown in the driveway.
Oh, did we say a little rabbit had arrived at our animal sanctuary. Now we need to purchase some alfalafa, but he also eats with Tommy, the possum and the coons, all doing shift work, of course! So, our life of neurotic dogs and psychotic cats has panned out.
Hopefully, we will survive until spring…