I like animals and have owned both cats and dogs. My last dog was a stupid basset (this is itself an oxymoron) that my children named Buster. This is one of the better names they have come up with when we give them the privilege. My older daughter, Samantha, when she was young, once got a toy giraffe from the gift shop at Brookfield Zoo and named it ‘Haack’ (like a big wad of spit). She was around four at the time, and also christened her doll ‘Baby Ka Ka’ (like poop).
Anyway, having owned both kinds of animals I feel I’m entitled to make a few generalizations. First, contrary to public opinion, cats are more polite than dogs. Just look how they eat. When a dog eats, spit, slobber and food fly in every direction. Then when they’re done gobbling, they nose around, Hoovering up bits of food, spittle, and pushing the bowl around hoping, I guess, to be in position when more food falls from the sky.
Before he got Junkfooditis, which earned us a stern look from the vet, we used to mix a dash of people-food in Buster’s dinner. But if we forgot, he’d go on food strike for up to twenty seconds. A cat will go on food strike too, but is much more refined about it. It simply goes off and stalks away to go kill its own dinner.
Not Buster though, he used to give the same look an Italian gives you when you serve spaghetti without meatballs, “Whatsa matta, no meatballs?” and then nose around to see where you put his real dinner.
And I gotta say something here, something so gross you may have to turn your head.
He ate poop! Did you hear me? Poop!!!!
And not just any poop.
That stuff that comes from the wrong end of a feline! Not that you’d want anything from the other end.
The kids talked me into getting our cat with one of the main cornerstones of their bargaining being that Dad Would Not Have To Do Anything To Take Care Of The Cat! No scooping litter, no cleaning hocked up hairballs, no feeding. Nothing. No care, whatsoever. I’m scot-free.
Seriously, my grandfather came from Scotland. Otherwise I’d be Irish-free, or maybe Polish-free or something like that.
Anyway, the agreement was understood. Dad does nothing!
This agreement held for about a week until everybody discovered that used litter smells bad. Like that was a revelation.
Then our cat got fat, so he’s on a restricted diet, which makes him the round, mound of cranky cat.
So in the morning, after an actual night without eating, he’s like a teenager on pizza-deprivation.
And whoever steps in the kitchen first runs into one angry, hungry cat.
Guess who that is every morning?
With every single step, a fuzzy, plump torpedo zigzags in front of me, frantically trying to remind me that the cat must be fed.
This lasts until the moment food appears in his bowl. And I stagger off into the bathroom amid the frantic crunching sound of Purina salmon and eggs-flavored cat food.
Where was I leading with all this?
When I changed the litter, Buster would watch with an intent look on his face. Surely he’s just keeping me company, right? Yeah sure. This dog is a raging mass of impulse and instinct. The impulse to eat, and the instinct to eat. The only things he does between eating, is wishing he was eating, dreaming of eating, pooping out what he ate and wondering what he could be eating that he doesn’t know he could eat.
So one day I come across a basset butt sticking out of the closet with the litter box, and I hear crunching on the business end of the dog.
“Get out of there, you stupid dog,” I screamed at him.
And the butt backs out hastily. And I’m looking him in the face.
Floppy ears, droopy eyes, folds of skin, embarrassed look.
And something brown hanging out of his mouth, with little pieces of cat litter stuck on it like happy little sprinkles.
That dog is never going to lick me again!!!
The Adventures of Guy … written by a guy (probably)
The Next Adventures of Guy … more wackiness
The Heat of the Moment