Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Do cats sometimes wish they were dogs?

"If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer." -- Alfred North Whitehead

I know this is a dog blog. But since my 18-year-old cat Mac lives in harmony with Walter and Henry, who came into the household long after Mac had established his “Top Dog” ranking in the family, I feel I have to throw in a few anecdotes that include him. And you will see why. Read on.

Mac is a funny little dude who survived under extraordinary circumstances and thrived over the past 18 and half years to say the least. He will not tolerate other cats (he wasn’t even that fond of his own brother Moukie, with whom he shared our affections for 12 years.) But once the dogs came into his life, it was a whole different story. It was as if he found another side of his inner self.

What I mean is that his behaviors changed. Instead of always walking the perimeter of the room or up on counters and the tops of chairs, he came down to the floor and walked among the dogs. Pretty soon he was sleeping among the dogs. He drinks from their water bowls and I have even caught him tasting their food. He stands in line with the dogs if table scraps are being handed out. He even let me put a collar and tag on him and that was never possible before. He comes to the front door and very loudly meows to greet me as if to outdo the other doggie welcomes. When visitors come, he runs out to greet them with his canine brothers as if not to miss out. He actually pays attention to guests when he used to ignore most humans. And finally, he now gives Brian some real attention - after all these years.

I find it fascinating to watch animal behavior. I received an early birthday present from my sister in the mail yesterday - a book titled “Inside of a Dog” by Alexandra Horowitz. Ms. Horowitz is a scientist who has devoted a lot of her life to studying animal behavior – particularly in dogs. She seems to have the inside scoop. She has a lot to say about what dogs do and how they do it and maybe even why they do it. It is quite remarkable and a perfect read for me since I am relentlessly trying to understand what my animals are trying to tell me and why they do the things they do. Now I have some help.

But why, after so many years of being a cat, has Mac decided to start behaving like a dog? Don’t get me wrong, he will always have enough feline qualities to keep him from being mistaken for a dog, but it seems to me he has this emerging canine sensibility. Perhaps he behaves the way he does just to take a little bit of the attention away from the dogs who demand so much of it. Remember those deceitful little Siamese cats in “Lady and the Tramp”? Mac will knock stuff off the counters and make a mess from time to time and I am sure he would love to see Walter or Henry get blamed for it!

But somewhere, inside that aloof and cunning little feline mind of his, does Mac envy and admire the dogs?

Nah! Who am I kidding?

He’s a cat!


Susan Campisi said...

Ha! I love this post, Liz. We may think we know what's going on in the minds of our animals and maybe we have an inkling but we can never be entirely sure. It is fascinating to watch the interaction between the two species. You're lucky that Walter and Henry live in harmony with Mac (unlike Tommy and my cats!) so you can see Mac's canine side. He is a funny one! I love how you ended this post. It captures the feline sense of superiority perfectly!

That book sounds great. I love reading about animal behavior too. Let me know how it is!

Liz Berry said...

Oh, you are right - there's no doubt that Mac still has the superior feline attitude! But, he sees how much attention the dogs get and I guess he figured: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" He's a smart little guy and he definitely holds his own!

Cafe Pasadena said...

Love your blog's subjects, Liz! Thanks to SC above for leading this dog to it!

Liz Berry said...

CP - Thank you so much (and thanks to Sue for guiding you here!) I don't have as many readers as Sue and I do need to be better about writing lately but I am in the middle of leaving my job and moving out of San Diego so it's been crazy. Hopefully, once I get settled I can start up again. I appreciate your kind comments!

Anzu said...

I'm glad to find your post which tells cats and dogs can get along with easily than we think. As you know I believe that cats and dogs don't be a fated rival.
 U。・ェ・。Uノ♪ヘ(=^・ェ・^= )ノ

Liz Berry said...

Thanks for stopping by Anzu. Yes, in our house, all the animals live in harmony. It is a beautiful thing!