Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Outlaw Sometimes Wails

It’s like the OK Corral at our house, every day. There’s a standoff around every corner and sometimes there are multiple casualties. It’s a regular Clint Eastwood movie around here. Trying to make a traumatized cat and a spoiled middle aged dog get along is like trying to beat out Kanye West for the title of A** Hat of The Year. It’s just darn near impossible. And we may all die with our boots on trying.

When we adopted Sabrina, we knew it would be difficult. She’s a beautiful kitty, but she led a rather isolated life at Sissy’s house. She likes solitude and quiet. Our house is not quiet. Mostly because of Jack.
Our miniature schnauzer has a personality bigger than his body and makes his presence known. He barks at anything that comes near our yard, causing a rucus about six times a day. When I get home from work, he meets me at the door, barks a greeting and spends several minutes trying to talk to me and lap up all of my attention. He is noisy. He likes attention. Lots of it. He’s used to being top dog around the house and was not happy about Sabrina’s arrival.

She wasn’t too happy about it, either. I think she would have been content to roam around Sissy’s empty house for the rest of her life as long as we stopped by once a day to feed her. Which is what we did for the first few weeks after Sissy died, putting off a decision about Sabrina’s future while we focused on settling the estate and boxing up Sissy’s belongings. Sabrina’s fate was pretty much sealed though. At a cranky eight years old, she was not likely to be adopted if she went to a shelter, and we couldn’t stand the thought of her being put to sleep, so we brought her to our house. And braced ourselves.

For weeks it was easy because she didn’t come out of Teen Angel’s room. Ever. She literally stayed in there all day and night. She ate in there, used the litter box in there and hid from us. She simply didn’t know how to interact with people because Sissy never spent much time with her. We tried to coax her out, but she wanted no part of it. Or us. I don’t think she understood love and affection. Teen Angel kept working with her and eventually she buddied up to TA to the point that TA could bring her into another room of the house and sit with her. And that’s when the trouble started.

As soon as Jack realized she existed he started trying to get rid of her. He barked at her. He snarled at her. And chased her back into the bedroom. He literally attacked her a couple of times and we had a couple of close calls before we could rescue her. We couldn’t leave the house without shutting her behind the bedroom door for her own protection. We tried all kinds of positive behavior modifications with Jack but nothing worked. I finally had to wear out his bottom with a newspaper one night. That convinced him to quit chasing her, but it didn’t make him like her. He hates her.

About two weeks ago, Sabrina suddenly started leaving the bedroom on her own and began prowling around the house and seeking us out. It was if she finally decided that she liked us and wanted to stay. At first, she came out just a little and dashed back in whenever there was the least bit of excitement or noise. But gradually she started staying out longer, especially when she realized Jack would get into trouble if he chased her. A light bulb went off in that sneaky feline mind, and she started using his bad behavior to her advantage. She’s become…well, downright sassy in the last few days. Not only has she decided she likes us and wants to stay, now she’s staking out some territory of her own. She prowls the house nonstop, laying in Jack's favorite places like the sunny dining room.
She climbs into Hubby’s lap in the recliner which ticks Jack off to no end, and Saturday Teen Angel found her lounging in Jack’s bed in his crate. That kitty is on a suicide mission, I tell ya’.

Several times a day, Sabrina waltzes right in front of Jack, just daring him to chase her. Sometimes she hides and waits for him to notice her.
All of this posturing leads to one standoff after another. He’s all bark.
And she’s all hiss.
Literally, she’s all hiss.
Any day now I expect a dirty blonde woman and her grandmother to show up at the front door. If we close our eyes while all of this is going on we can almost hear that cheesy spaghetti western music. Figuring they need to work through this jealousy territory thing on their own, we have backed off disciplining Jack somewhat. We closely monitor these little showdowns, letting the fur fall where it flies. Our only hope is that they learn to tolerate each other before they kill each other. For now, they’re free to shoot it out, but the day one of them spits tobacco juice at the other is the day somebody’s getting my boot up their butt.

10 comments:

karisma said...

LOL! This reminds me of when my mum brought her dog home many years ago, the cat hated him on sight. She learned to tolerate him and I think she even misses him these days.

Sabrina is a beautiful cat. I love that shot with the hackles up! I hope he got out of the way before she struck?

The Church Lady said...

Jack is so cute and Sabrina - what a beautiful cat! I am sure it won't be too long before they are bestest of friends!

Rink's Ramblings said...

On a night of insomnia this made crawling out of bed at 1 a.m. a joy. Hula, you are a bright spot in a somewhat dreary existence right now. It makes me realize how lucky I was to have both you, Lew, and others like Tom B., Sam B., and a lot of other great folks in my life for the all too short time I spent in Paducah. Thanks!

oreneta said...

LOVE the post...my cat hating Chuck would have SO many problems in Jack's place....

I had forgotten about a**hat...thank's for the reminder...great word!

A New England Life said...

Poor Sabrina, at least she seems to have thick skin! She needs to give it to Jack real good so he won't bother her anymore.

One of our cats, Phineas, loves to sleep in our Pugs crate too, or any of his other spots. When we adopted Phin he prefered to hang out with the dogs all the time anyway so I think a good part of his brain believes he IS a dog!

Jan n Jer said...

Oh that is so funny, but maybe not to you. Cats have a mind of their own and are very smart. They love to tease dogs. My daughter has the same dog breed and i know what you mean about barking for attention. I think Jack n Sabrina are on their way to making peace with each other. Let hope so anyway for your sake!

Gin said...

This cracked me up!!!! Cats do have a way of taking over! Mine did, but thankfully my dog is very laid back so she didn't mind at all.

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

That is a hoot. When I lived in Cincinnati, I had my dog (who was 12, and pretty much slept all day) and my cat (who was less than a year old) who loved to pick on each other. The cat would often play with the dogs bushy tail. One day, the dog had enough and while laying down gave a bark and stretched out one paw and "thumped" the cat. Cat never bothered the dog again.

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