Tag Archives: cats

Chloë Compares Her Chefs

Winterized crate

The temperature will dip into the low thirties this week, meaning it’s about time for Heather  to put a heavier blanket over my crate at night. If I get chilly, I might whine and wake them up. Nobody wants that.

It’s been pretty low-key around here, although I saw some old friends during the past week. No, not dog friends like Willy, Scott’s new dog, who did come over to our house for a football game last week. There were sad faces in the house that morning, but not on Willy, who got a walk with Heather and then sat on Mike’s lap for the whole second half, looking quite content. While that was going on, I went into the office with Heather, got into my bed and ignored the whole thing.

Along Capehart trail.

Much more exciting was seeing my friend Andy, who is dogless since his Spiff died a few years ago. He’s always glad to see me, and he gave me several total body rubs when we ran into him on the Capehart trail in the park. No treats, of course. Andy strikes me as a diet-conscious kinda guy, like my best pal Charlie is. That’s OK, let them be lean. That means more for me, just not anything coming from them.

I also saw my pals from Juneau, George and Debbie, with George returning to Seattle for further chemotherapy treatments. We walked for about 40 minutes in Volunteer Park, where I had to be tightly leashed at all times, thanks to its high pedestrian use and overflowing squirrel population. I could tell there would be no ball-throwing amid the tall trees of this park. Mostly I walked with Heather and Debbie, since Mike and George are both recuperating, and they have to walk like slow old men. Well, older than they really are, I guess.

Heather creates dinner etouffee for the attentive diner as Lamby looks on.

I noticed Mike has picked up his pace a little in the past few days, but he still walks with a leaden gait, and Heather is still doing all the stuff that Mike did to take care of me, such as feeding me, taking me for most walks and grooming, to name but a few. This substitution has had both pluses and minuses for me. Heather is much stricter than Mike, whether it comes to discipline or measuring out the amount of food she dispenses. Mike is less demanding on me, and when it comes to mixing my food, he goes with his gut, which usually limits the size of mine. Heather’s preparation tastes just as good, and there’s sometimes more of it.

But Heather has been much more thorough when it comes to brushing my teeth and grooming me than Mike is. She pushes that toothbrush hard into all quadrants of my mouth, and after a brief break for play with Lamby or Wiffie, we sit down on the kitchen floor and she flips me into her lap so she can brush under my legs and over my tummy. Mike never did that; I wouldn’t have begun to let him get away with it. But I gladly do it for Heather. Not only is she nicer, smarter and better-looking, but there’s something even more important: She bribes me with chunks of Trader Joe’s cheddar cheese sticks. Be advised, Mike. I always respond well to cheese.

Tuck at the keyboard.

Before signing off, I want to give a brief shout-out to a loyal reader and aspiring blogger in Syracuse named Tuck, even though he is a cat. I know from experience how hard it can be to get established in the writing business when you’re inexperienced and unpublished, and nobody takes you seriously when you say, “But please, sir, I really want to be a writer!” So take heart, Tuck! Keep on increasing your vocabulary, keepoing your nails sharp and polishing your craft; someday, maybe you, too, can become a literary giant in the competitive animal blogging field like I am. Good luck.

Chloë Raids the Kitty Clubhouse

Adversary

A Chloë adversary

The cats down the street are bugging me again. I know they have been wandering around my yard, leaving their scent and occasionally their poops around our property. It’s mostly Ted and Fred, the Bartons’ cats, but recently another black-and-white cat has joined the brigade. Sometimes they even hang out together, waiting for an unsuspecting vole or small bird to flit by. Cats are mean. I hate them. But now that I know where they hide, I will get them.

1-Kitty ClubhouseThey hang out between two hedges, boxwood on one side and rhododendrons on the other, between the Bartons’ house and the one between ours and the Bartons, where the phantom French bulldog Scout lives (we hardly ever see her, so she’s a phantom to me). The sidewalk entry point to the kitties’ lair is well hidden, but I nosed it out. Now I check it a few times every day. Can’t be too careful, you know.

I’ve seen the cats scurry  into that hole many times. And even if they’re not home when I stick my nose in to check, I can tell that they have been, and even how long they’ve been gone. My nose is smart that way. So even though I see no cats when I look, it’s always worth another try. If Mike didn’t have that leash so tight, I’d have seen if there was another exit point further into the hedge. Mike has thus far refused to cooperate.

Chloë investigates.

Chloë investigates.

Those damn kitties wanted me to stay out of their hedge. So they hung out a sign, thinking it would scare me and keep me away.

Kitty Clubhouse Sign

Kitty Clubhouse Sign: “DOGS: DO NOT ENTER, ESPECIALLY CHLOE!! “

My compliance is not likely. At least, not as long as my nose stays unmarked by kitty claws.

Chloë emerges from Kitty Clubhouse.

Emerging from the Kitty Clubhouse.

Nobody tells a dachshund what to do. Least of all a cat.

 

Chloë Sees Orange

Roland and Heidi, 2004

Roland and Heidi in Seattle, 2004

My patience with Mike’s extended absence was wearing thin when he finally returned from the East Coast. Even though he was gone almost a month, I greeted him with gusto, having decided to cut him some slack after Heather told me Mike had stayed east so long in order to attend a memorial service for his dear friend Roland. Believe it or not, I never got the chance to meet Roland, but I heard countless tales of how much fun he was, and how he was especially devoted to his own pets (not to mention a family of threatened elephants). I know my predecessor Heidi really liked him, and that’s good enough for me.

I could tell Mike was feeling blue, so I tried hard to be extra nice to him. It worked for a few days, but then the photos you see below mysteriously appeared in my “in” box. They were apparently taken by a hidden camera in Mike’s bedroom in Syracuse, where he stayed with so-called friends. I say “so-called” because, while I’m sure they are fine, upstanding people otherwise, they have two cats, Dinah and Mingus. Dinah could care less about Mike, but master Mingus likes to sleep on Mike’s bed, or anywhere else he damn well pleases.

Mike and Mingus

Mike and Mingus

The first photo looked innocent enough, but the next one raised some concerns. Things seem to be getting a bit too chummy for my taste.

Whisker to whisker

Whisker to whisker

There were more photos of the two of them, but I could no longer bear to look.

The photos crushed me. Here I was in Seattle, thinking every single waking second about nothing but food, playing with my ball, and Mike all the time he’s gone, but the moment he gets out of town he starts cheating on me. With a cat, no less. And a  huge cat, at that.

I don’t know. When it comes right down to it, who needs the aggravation that true love inevitably brings? I will be better off to forget about Mike and that cat, because Mike’s intentions are crystal clear. Before you know it, he’ll be going back to Syracuse and taking care of cats. I couldn’t bear it. I’m done with him.

But oh, will I ever be able to trust again?

Chloë Patrols Her Block

Every dog needs a purpose; profound, I know, but I cannot take credit for it. My primary purpose, of course, is to make Mike and Heather happy. Frankly,  I seem to be doing pretty well at this (not to say there hasn’t been a rough patch or two).  Right now I’m thinking of “purpose” in more of an everyday way. More like a part-time job,  something to do when I’m not eating, sleeping, playing or misbehaving in some way.

Beau

Beau

I have therefore decided that my job will be to keep elephants and cats off our block, a canine Neighborhood Watch without guns. So far, keeping elephants away has not been a problem. It’s  those darn cats that pose a bigger challenge. Like English ivy and Scotch broom, there’s no way to  get rid of them.  We can only hope to contain them. Like those invasive weeds, cats have no purpose. As far as I can tell, anyway.

I am particularly concerned with three cats that live on my block.  Beau, the Bartons’ cat, lives on our side of the street, two doors down. With the house on either side of his usually vacant, Beau has been trying to expand his territory. Not so fast, my furry friend.

The Coon Cat

The Coon Cat

The other two cats, Mittens and the Coon Cat, live across the street and down the hill a little. Mittens belongs to Sandy, who is active in Seattle’s cat rescue community.  Sandy’s nice enough to me when she sees me, but I still eye her suspiciously–perhaps with good reason. And the Coon Cat, if you can believe it, lives in the same house as April, a mixed-breed dog who I see often outside our house or in the park. April’s OK, but she’s a loner, too aloof to pay me much attention. (Maybe living with a cat AND a kid have made her that way.)

So here are my duties: Early every morning (usually in the dark), then again at mid-day and once more at night,  I  conduct on-site  surveillance of every inch of sidewalk and parking strip on both sides of our block, making sure no cats have been treading illegally on our pedestrian thoroughfares. Every once in a while I actually spy one of these cats, and if I’m lucky enough to be off leash, I’ll go tearing after it, sometimes crossing the street without looking for cars, sometimes roaring into the tree-filled backyards on our side of the block. Often I bark and yelp loudly as I run, making quite a prolonged racket.  I once chased Mittens down the sidewalk from in front of Claire’s house to in front of her own, and she wound up scaring the Coon Cat, who had been lying on the sidewalk  minding his own business until Mittens ran him over. This propelled the two of them into a screeching cat ruckus that in turn startled their neighbor Trudi, who had been gardening nearby with her head down until the two shrieking cats got her attention.

Whenever something like this happens, Heather (in particular) is not pleased, and I get all the blame. Not the cats, me! She gives me one of those “Chloë Tully!!!!” yells, followed by an icy cold stare or two.  Funny, I’m always a Tully when I’m in Heather’s dog house.

Grace

Grace

Anyway, cat control is a time-consuming job. I used to be able to rely on my friends the Macs (Bichons MacKenzie and MacDuff) to help me out  in keeping the three cats at bay. But they moved to Florida last fall, and who’s going to help me now? Gracie, the elderly Basset hound? Give me a break. Grace is my special sweetheart, but she’s  not cut out for this line of work. Her purpose obviously lies elsewhere; tracking, perhaps, or just resting.

No, this responsibility is all mine, and I take it seriously. Morning and night, I require whoever is walking with me to take me all the way down to the dark five corners intersection at the far end of our block  (unless it’s raining hard, of course, when it’s OK to take care of business as quickly as possible and rush back inside). I must make absolutely sure no cats are out or even imminent.

Chloë chills.

Chloë chills.

In fact, I’m taking my cat control job SO seriously that several times recently, after Mike and I returned from an afternoon walk, I took off after cats while Mike was  spreading out my drying towel on the floor inside the door to the house. After the first couple of times,  you would really think Mike would have caught on to my plan. Sadly for Mike,  you’d be wrong.

As it is,  in my own humble opinion, my multiple daily patrols and occasional quick-strike offensives are having the desired effect. While raccoons still hang around our block in the early morning (I saw one today, in fact),  I haven’t spied one of those three cats around for days. And no elephants, either, come to think of it. As far as I’m concerned, the system is working.