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Sneaky cats, dancing dogs

Seona Smiles
Sunday, March 04, 2018

I'VE just finished making a dog's breakfast. Two dogs' breakfasts actually.

I may as well make a dog's breakfast of many other things during the day, but much of my purpose in life is making sure the animals are fed.

First, you have to buy stuff that is affordable, which is at times a terrible stretch. Especially when the stuff intended for dogs is not nearly as economic as some people food.

It is embarrassing to be cooking them up something that you keep wanting to have a secret taste of, or that you well know could feed a family of five for a day or two.

One thing about being an animal in our household is that we do love you and take good care of you, the SPCA would be proud of us. I abhor mistreatment and neglect of dumb animals, in the sense that they can't tell you that they are hungry and thirsty and someone just kicked them or ran over their leg.

But feeding the critters is a challenge and it is much better to not have pets if you can't keep them in a modicum of comfort.

We try to keep the pet population of our household down to a reasonable level and officially have one cat and two dogs, all of them foundlings or giveaways. But word gets round.

We have for years been plagued by cats who come through the window. Burglar bars and grilles are as nothing to your cat burglars.

They pop in at whim to suss out whether you have left a choice piece of chicken defrosting on the sink top under what you thought was a secure covering.

Several times a day they check out the resident cat's dish to see if you have foolishly replenished the kitty bickies.

That's another thing, I wasn't responsible for starting the animal on special expensive imported cat food, that was the official cat owner's mother who thought it would be and is easier than scraps and tinned fish.

She, the cat, likes to see a nice full bowl so she can crunch a little off the top at any time she fancies.

Meanwhile, the cats who come through the window sneak in for a midnight snack or mid-morning munch.

The next thing I know, the official cat is biting my leg and moaning that she is starving, her dish is empty.

This cat is also a drinker. You have to be very careful not to leave your glass of water or anything else down for even a short time. She will be up on the table having a wee sip to check the vintage or quench a sudden raging thirst.

The last thing you want to see is a cat's head stuck in the glass of nice cold water you have just poured before turning your back to return the bottle to the refrigerator.

She also checks out the dogs' breakfasts for a quick taste test, which I think serves them right because the dogs are great bickie nickers.

They snatch mouthfuls from the cat dish and are greatly practised at watching the food-filled hands of a child who is eating a biscuit, sandwich, or something on a stick.

As soon as the child's attention wanders, a fat pink dog's tongue is copping a taste of the goody. I have seen many times how a dog can gently remove an entire, only slightly nibbled biscuit from a momentarily distracted child's hand without being noticed.

I have many times attempted to stop a child from eating a food item that I know to be coated with dog slobber. But no, I have to agree with the angry child, I can't prove it, I was indeed the only witness but why should I lie? No, it wouldn't be because I want the child's biscuit.

Usually the argument ends with the dog having successfully swiped the whole piece of food while we were quibbling.

Then we have the dance of the dogs' dinner. I have to organise refilling their water bowl, getting the food from the refrigerator and onto their dishes, and getting it out the door and to their designated dinner spots without them getting inside and scoffing cat food, barking at the wrong cat (ours, not the one that came through the window and is now sleeping on the bookshelf in the back), and tripping me up.

Tripping is a serious possibility because the only time our elderly, dowager duchess of a dog deigns to move faster than a slow stroll is when she does the dinner dance.

She twirls and whirls around my legs, giving pathetic little ballet leaps to get a peep of what's on her plate. This often ends with part of her dinner on her head and my foot, and occasionally with both of us lying on the floor while any other animals try to get the food.

We must have the dumbest of dumb animals. The old fatty never learns that bouncing around with joyful anticipation of food causes that food to disappear. It mostly disappears into the stomach of what all our friends agree must be the world's dumbest animal, the almost entirely witless young dog.

The only smart creatures around are the cats that come through the window. And those horrible ants that no matter what you do, refuse to be eradicated and continue to invade our soil, our trees and plants and our houses, apparently without the agriculture authorities noticing.

* The writer is a regular contributor to this column. Views expressed are hers and not of this newspaper.

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