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Thursday, 5th January, 2012, 03:10 AM #1
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I know Nature, and I know Nature Sucks
We have a new cat. She showed up a couple of weeks ago, a kitten not far past weaning. The weather turned around here a few weeks ago and although this is the most mild winter I can remember in years (thank you Global Warming) the nights have still been fairly cold. The days short, and recently windy and chill.
Now I ain't much of a cat man, being particular to dogs of the big to humongous category (I got Great Dane-Saint Bernard hybrids that I bred), but this kitten showed remarkable powers of survival, though she was thin and worn and obviously cold. I admire survival skills in any creature. And I don't like seeing anything suffer needlessly. Plus my girls took a shine to it.
It took a long time and a lot of feedings outside to get her trust. Even to come near me. She was half-feral. Squirrelly too. Maybe someone had tossed her off. Even kicked her around. Maybe she had gotten lost, though I can't find any wanted posters or local reports. No collar, no tags. We live out in the country, it's kinda common for cowards to toss off their excess animals round these parts (if that's what happened), and she had obviously been living inside big piles of brush from old trees I had cut down. God only knows what she had been living off or hunting up until recently, she was so small. Probably late to die off insects.
But eventually I gained her trust and just a few nights ago she finally allowed me to pick her up and take her in my basement. Though she was terrified.
And my dogs scared her and we're gonna have a real time with teaching my bitch to take a shine to her, though my male is fascinated by her but shows no inclination to really hurt her. Still the training is gonna havta go slow, and so far all I've really done is muzzle my dogs, let her see the cat, and get her scent and let the cat see them. Otherwise I've kept the cat in the underground level or on the second floor, the dogs on ground level. But it's gonna be a long training process I suspect. At least for the cat and my bitch. But one day at a time. That's the way you fix most things.
Anywho last night the cat spent the night in one of my daughter's rooms and landed to use the litter box after just one exposure. So she has excellent survival skills and she is obviously smart in other ways too. How smart? Well let me put it this way. All day I tried to get her out of my daughter's room and at least throughout the upper floor and into the ground floor when the dogs were out just to familiarize herself with the house.
No way. Look at it from her point of view. For the first time she can probably recall she is warm. She is safe. She sleeps in a bed. Every noise is not a potential danger. Nothing is trying to bite her, claw her, suck her blood. She isn't exposed to the elements and a lot of diseases. She isn't having to hunt down her own food. (Rough work if ya havta do it for a living, trust me.) She doesn't have to sleep in a tree at night during frigid weather, which is how I first noticed her. She was sleeping in a tree during frosts because although it was much colder than sleeping on the ground, it was also much safer. Though an alert owl or Cooper's hawk could have easily killed her.
She's smart enough to know this: the Wild, if you spend any time in it at all, or you have to live there, is a brutal and helluvah rough place. It ages you quickly. Yeah, it makes you smart, and tough, and cunning. It also makes you hungry and tired and kills you quickly. You really don't wanna live on Nature's terms if you can work a better deal.
Now don't get me wrong. I love Nature. I love the Wild. I go there often. It's beautiful. I certainly prefer it to cities, which I can't stomach for very long. And it's an absolutely excellent and fascinating place to visit. But most creatures, just like most men with any sense or real experience at it, know Nature sucks when you're really at her mercy. Not playing or pretending being at her mercy, but really being at her mercy. It's too hot, it's extremely cold, it's short of food and often safe water, it's dangerous as hell if you don't know what you're doing or stay alert, insects harass you, things bite you, it's just plain grinding work living there. This cat knows nature, and she knows nature sucks.
So when I see our new cat snuggled on my kid's bed, licking ice cream and milk, and refusing (at least for the moment) to leave my daughter's room, I think to myself, "Smart girl. You got it going on."
Last edited by Jack7; Thursday, 5th January, 2012 at 03:14 AM.
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Thursday, 5th January, 2012, 07:48 PM #2
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
I think the exact same thing when my dog is sharing the couch with me.
Mark "El Mahdi" Armstrong
Retired NCO, Grognard Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary
Semper Operor Verus
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 05:21 AM #3
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Yeah, I'm glad me and my dogs don't have to live off the land either. We could do it if necessary, but I got no real interest in it. Besides my dogs earn their keep by being superb guard dogs for my wife and kids. They're fearless in their defense, and that's swell by me.I think the exact same thing when my dog is sharing the couch with me.
Otherwise, my dog and my bitch are slowly getting used to our new cat. My dog was on the bed tonight, with the cat, unmuzzled. At one point my dog tried to grab the cat by the tail with his mouth (the same way he grabs my hand in his mouth to try to get me to go outside and play ball, but he didn't try and bite her) but I got the tail away in time. He's really, really excited by her, but he doesn't realize yet (if he ever does) that because of the size and weight differential he could accidentally hurt her. (He's a Great Dane hybrid and weighs about 160 and is strong as an ox, she's barely 5 pound kitten.)
Nevertheless he doesn't seem interested in hurting her at all, just in trying to make her play. And in sniffing her butt. He can't understand why she won't let him sniff her butt like dogs do. This confuses and frustrates him.
However they will go nose to nose and he likes that.
My bitch has even kinda taken a shine to her, though again her 200 pound girth is a big danger so we won't let her go around the cat unless she is muzzled. She even seems to think the cat may be some strange sort of puppy. But she doesn't bark or growl, just kinda whines and seems real excited by her. I'm hoping that eventually she will think of the cat as small pup and take to protecting her.
This has really went amazingly well though, and a lot faster than I'd imagined, all things considered. Every day my dogs go to my daughters room first thing in the morning, and last thing at nigh, to see if they'll get to see the cat and maybe get on the bed with her. The cat now seems relaxed about it. Dogs and cats both yawn around each other and both dogs wag their tails around her, the tails aren't up in hunting point. So they're all getting relaxed around each other. Another month or so and I'm hoping they can be in the same floor of the house with the family. But one patient step at a time.
One thing is for sure though we can't leave the house with them in the same area, or let the cat outside with the dogs at the same time. I saw my first Saint Bernard Samson kill a rabbit entirely by accident when he thought he was playing with it. He was chasing the rabbit and the rabbit cut in front of him and he slammed into it with his nose. Literally knocked the guts out of the rabbit from the force of the impact and killed it instantly. Samson tried and tried to get the rabbit to get back up and run again, he enjoyed chasing it, but he didn't understand he had killed it by accident.
Either one of our dogs could easily do the same to the cat. Still they can go out separately, and if they get on well inside, then that's good enough for me.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2012, 10:50 PM #4
Defender (Lvl 8)
Aw... I have always liked cats. And until my wife, I'd never really been around dogs - but now I like them too. We currently have both in the house.
As you said, it'll take time, but once everyone is happy and comfortable with each other, it really brings a smile to one's face when you can look around and all the family is enjoying time together. [smile]
Thursday, 12th January, 2012, 08:27 PM #5
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
some of the behaviors depends on the dog.
My old chow would adjust her play, depending on the size of the other dog. She'd be all rough and tumble with big dogs, but very careful with small breeds. She'd chase them, and bat gently at them with her paw, but never ever tackle them.
With rabbits, she developed Extra Bunny Perception. She could tell when they got in the backyard whether she had LOS to them or not at night. If we let her out at night and a bunny was back there, she'd chase it. If she caught it, she'd kill it by shaking it.
She was fine with cats at the vet's office, though she'd gotten a few swats on the nose from over-sniffing. That never stopped a chow from doing what it wants though.
But otherwise, my chow was the gentlest of dogs. She passed last year.
Our new dog is a rescued mix. 30 pounds of spastic pounce machine. She's possibly part german shepherd, but trapped in a 30 pound body. Not gentle, but not mean. Just a rough player.
I'm not a big fan of cats. They make me sneeze. But i like dogs. They're better than people.
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Friday, 13th January, 2012, 04:10 AM #6
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
She's getting on very well with my dog now. (Except the butt-sniffing, still not big on that.) It'll take time with my bitch.
On bad weather days she stays in the top floor of the house in her new bed. At night she sleeps with her stuffed bear in her second bed in the underground basement.
On good weather days she stays outside playing and we've given her the woods behind the pool as her territory. The dogs can't go down there unless they are muzzled, though they still have all of our other lands they can roam. On good weather days I gather her up at nightfall to sleep in the basement and then have breakfast with us the next day.
I'm starting to like cats, at least her. She's smart, affectionate, doesn't demand much, uses little resources, and is an excellent survivalist. Good traits in any creature.
Friday, 13th January, 2012, 05:16 AM #7
Guide (Lvl 11)
There are some animals that have learned to domesticate humans. There is a huge field of study of the species of animals AND plants that co-evolved with humans.
My Greyhawk cartography project. http://admundfortgeographer.deviantart.com
Friday, 13th January, 2012, 06:24 AM #8
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I prefer to think of it as, "Mutually Assured Domestication."There are some animals that have learned to domesticate humans.
Friday, 13th January, 2012, 07:16 AM #9
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
Sunday, 15th January, 2012, 10:21 PM #10
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I took a nap this afternoon and woke up wearing my cat on the top of my head like a Maine coonskin cap.
Cats are funny creatures.