Sunday, March 4, 2012

Of Cats and Dogs

Best. Game. Ever!! I'm sure that's how Ranger views opportunities to herd The Great Catsby. Catsby no doubt views it differently but personally, I think I'm more inclined to agree with Ranger. I enjoy watching Ranger work and seeing how very much he loves it. Unfortunately, we live in a suburban environment and don't have stock for him to work. Well, except for the cat.

Our cats have been indoor only cats since Ranger came to live with us. The Great Catsby is a recent addition and unlike the other cat Meowzart, Catsby sometimes wants to go outdoors. Ranger and the children have other ideas on the subject. The first time The Great Catsby made a bid for the outdoors Ranger zeroed in on him with the laser like stare of a Border Collie and Catsby backed slowly away and back into the house. The children, knowing that indoor only cats live longer and generally healthier lives praised Ranger enthusiastically and the battle lines were drawn. The Great Catsby tries to go out and Ranger prevents it.

Recently, The Great Catsby escaped into the yard and Ranger herded him back to me. Just to see what would happen rather than put Catsby back inside I put him in a box that was sitting on the porch. The box was fairly deep and Catsby disappeared inside it. Ranger stood there calmly regarding the box and slowly Catsby's ears, head, eyes and nose crept up over the edge of the box. Ranger focused intently on Catsby and walked up in a beautifully controlled move, the kind herding dogs use to put just enough pressure on the stock to move the animals. Catsby disappeared back into the box. Ranger backed up and calmly watched some more. Slowly the tips of The Great Catsby's ears became visible, then his head, eyes, and his nose. Ranger focused and moved in slowly and Catsby disappeared. Ranger was having the very best time, he was doing  what generations of his ancestors were bred to do; he was controlling the movement of another animal. Ranger would have been happy to do this all night but Catsby decided he'd had enough and the next time the  door opened he jumped from the box and dashed inside.

Interestingly, it is only when The Great Catsby is trying to or has succeeded in getting out the door that Ranger feels called upon for cat herding. When Ranger is inside with him Catsby is free to roam where he wants.  Obviously, in Ranger's view cats indoors are in their natural environment, cats outdoors must be safely returned to their proper environment.

Watching the interactions of the various animals with which I live is a source of endless enjoyment and entertainment.

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