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by Vicky Chapman, NSW, Australia


Traditionally, dogs chase cats. However, I've lived long enough to know that cats also chase dogs. Most cats I know have a good chance if put up against your average dog. Most dogs I know are also sensible enough to know when to stop chasing, and when to start running. Trouble is, I have a puppy, one big ball of naive enthusiasm, and one old and jaded cat, full of hiss and grump. Separate, they are both pleasant enough creatures, put together and they are like a tornado.

The first few days were spent with Shmoggleberry teaching Fluffy her proper place in the pecking order: at the bottom! No problem there, I didn't want a dog that felt it was necessary to dislocate my shoulder whenever she saw a cat when we were out on her walks. But Fluffy surprised me as well, when she thought that the hissing, clawing attitude machine would make a fine playmate. I have also found out that its true that you turn into ones own parents, I sound so very much like my mother saying "Now play nice, you two", "share", and "Don't you two have anything better to do?"

I can understand why Shmoggleberry doesn't like Fluffy trying to sniff his bottom each time he's walking around. Nor would I appreciate a smelly, drooling, vulgar creature continually trying to use my tail as a chew toy. I have little sympathy for Fluffy when she gets whopped across the nose yet again by a cat whos patience has worn thin. Fluffy prances around Shmogg, jumping in and out of claw range, just begging Shmogg for a good romp, while the Shmogg tries his kitty best to ignore the situation in the hope that it will all go away.

For a while there, it worked, but Fluffy has the tenacity and the energy to keep up the idiocy for hours. Eventually Shmogg will have enough, whop Fluffy and try to escape. Fluffy, of course thinks that this is the start of a chasey game and goes wild. Apparantly, the laws of physics don't apply with cats. While the rest of the universe suffers on with the laws of momentum and inertia, all cats can stop dead and turn around, no matter what speed they were going and how heavy they are. Fluffy knows Shmogg's claw range, and usually stays well out of the way, but when the game of chasey starts, her inertia will carry her right into Shmogg's range, who of course, was running full tilt and facing the opposite direction just a picosecond before. Now its Fluffy's turn to be chased by an angry and bristling feline. I keep saying "don't mess with the cat" but she doesn't seem to listen.

Shmogg, like most cats, is a naturally energy saving creature. The game of chasey is well worth it to put the precocious upstart back in her place, but its not an activity Shmogg would wish to sustain for long periods of time. Up until a few days ago, however, he didn't have much choice, because Fluffy just wouldn't leave him alone.

Shmogg has worked it out however. The First thing he tried, was just to whop an innocent puppy across the nose for no apparant reason. This sent Fluffy in a chasing frenzy, but of course, Shmogg hadn't moved anyway. While Fluffy distracted by madly chasing the "ghost" cat down the hallway, Shmogg was able to make a hasty exit to the top of the back of the lounge. That was phase one.

Phase two was to precede the nose whopping with a hiss and death stare. It took a while for Fluffy to figure out the sequence of events, but once she did, all she needed was to hear a good hiss, and off she went, chasing down errant spirit cats. Cats are cunning. Very cunning. But I didn't know how cunning Shmoggleberry could be. Once Fluffy figured out the Death Stare came before the hiss that preceded the whop-on-the- nose, all she needed was one foul look from the cat, and she hurtled around the room in hot pursuit of nothing. The final phase of his ingenious scheme was put into place last night. While safely perched on top pf the lounge, all Shmogg has to do to give Fluffy excercise is to give her a Death Stare. Fluffy goes mad, chasing nothing, up and down for about 10 minutes, and if she looks like she may stray from her goal, Shmogg just ops up the hypnotism spell with another foul look.

All very easy, and dead simple from the vantage point of the top of the comfy lounge. Fluffy gets her exercise, I don't have to worry about either of them getting hurt, and Shmogg can get on with his all important napping. Ho Hum. Another creature conquered by The Superior Species.


Editor's note:

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