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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2200222
A 597 word piece, written for the ? Why ? Why Not? September 2019 challenge.
Be More Dog, Cat!

'Be more dog, Cat!' or, vice versa, 'Be more cat, Dog!' I don't mind which, to be honest, but if you'd find a way to reach a mutual agreed code of behaviour, my life would be so much easier.

Not that it's ever going to happen. The basic mindset of canines and felines are very far apart. And after all, isn't it common knowledge that dogs ALWAYS hate cats?

Take, for instance, the question: Why do dogs chase cats? I think that often, but not always, this is one of those differences of mindsets. Having just been introducing a four month old puppy to four adult cats, I've had plenty of opportunity for observation.

Puppies like to play, and a big part of their playing is chasing. It will often begin with a play-bow. Just in case you are not familiar with this stance; the rear end stays up, the tail wags, and the front legs go low to the ground. Other dogs will understand this, but just pause for a moment; is there not a time when a cat adopts a very similar posture?

Exactly! The cat adopts a very similar position when it is preparing to pounce. It's tail thrashes, but not from playfulness. It's rear end is risen, front legs down, coiling up the energy, ready to unleash with force to spring on to its chosen victim.

There is one easy-to-confuse conflict between canine and feline psychology.

Now, how about the actual game play. Dogs like to run, chase, jump on and, if you're lucky, retrieve. Cats also like to chase, but they like to pounce at the end of the chase, to bite and to claw at their prey, be it animal or toy. Clearly, if either play by their own sets of rules together, it can only end one way, and that is 'badly'.

The puppy will seize any opportunity to 'play'; luckily there are plenty of corners and trees that allow the cats an escape, if that should happen. This, again, can cause confusion as the dog simply cannot seem to grasp the fact that she cannot climb trees too. She has certainly developed some goat-like habits, such as climbing up the back of furniture by running at it. She'll also run up an arm to perch on a shoulder. A touch of identity crisis? Perhaps. But this could also be the root cause of hatred, no matter how long or short lived it may prove to be; a simple case of jealousy!

The corners, of course, can be utilised by the cats whenn playing by their rules. They can hide behind them, ready and willing to pounce on whatever emerges first. If that is the dog's nose, well, she did start it! Another reason for hatred? Cats are so much better at making themselves all but invisible

Now, before anyone claims that I am cruel, that I am putting both cat and dog at risk, I would like to point out that nothing has happened. There have been no feline inflicted injuries, or canine ones. There has been a good deal of stress, but not on the part of the animals.

They actually are very fond of each other, in those calmer, more laid back times. The cats will purr and knead the ground at the sight of the dog, and she will touch noses and let them rub up against her.

In the meantime, when either are feeling bored or just plain frisky, all I can do is tell myself it's just a manifestation of species misunderstanding.

(597 words)

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