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Tyronehster
 
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Cats and Dogs?

15 November 2012, 20:29

Raining cats and dogs; what a strange expression. Do you think the phrase was coined because the rain was as vicious as cats and dogs fighting? Or because the rain was spitting down and woofing down the gutters?

Whatever caused the expression to come into common use, it really is a strange way of describing a natural phenomenon.

I know! Let’s take our two favourite animals and throw them out in the rain, then we can see what the rain is like.

Look, they’re running around like crazy; almost like… what’s it again…almost got it…dammit, on the tip of my tongue…that’s it!

Raining cats and dogs. Don’t know if it’ll ever catch on, but hey, it works for me.

Or rather, ‘Verily, it raineth cats and dogs. I know not if the phrase will ever become a byword, but it worketh for me, forsooth.’

So I would say these people were not animal lovers, or they didn’t own pets, or they wouldn’t have done it.

It’s like the expression, ‘No place to swing a cat.’ Who ever thought of that?!

I know what would happen if I tried to swing my cat! The claws would come out, and I don’t mean the cat’s. For the cat belongeth not to me, but to my darling wife, and the cat wouldn’t have to claw me.

I bought my wife a kitten for Valentine’s Day 2009. A tiny, scrawny grey tabby, who was as cute as only a kitten could be. Fur sticking out all over her tiny body, little greeny-blue eyes, and a delightful temperament.

My wife is a Beatrix Potter fan and we had just recently seen the movie ‘Miss Potter’, so that was her name.

Our previous cat, a huge feral cat, also a grey tabby, was called Tom, after Tom kitten.

So Miss Potter seemed like a good name for her: till we got her home. She was no miss, not even a ms: no, she was a dyed- in-the-wool demon and for some reason we called her, wait for it, Muffy.

We wanted to keep her in for the first few weeks, as we didn’t want her running off, so I put netting over the back security gate. Which she climbed and almost got over.

She was quite the wildest and most wilful animal I’ve ever known.

We had her spayed at the unheard-of age of six months, at the vet’s urging.

It was either that or get rid of her, and that was not something we wanted to entertain. So we had it done, and it was another ten days of keeping her indoors, but she rewarded us to almost the same degree Tom did.

She has become an absolute delight, and as agile as any monkey I’ve ever seen. And like all cats, a born hunter.

Her problem as a hunter was her tail. She would crouch on the lawn, in the shade, her colouring making her virtually invisible, and wait for the birds to land. They would land, but would keep an eye on her all the time because, as still as she was, her tail lashed from side to side.

It could have been seen by astronauts, that was how wildly it lashed about. So the birds were well aware of her presence, and she was unsuccessful in most attempts at catching birds.

Whoever said animals don’t get embarrassed has never had a pet.

I was standing at the kitchen sink one day, having a glass of water, when I saw her sink into a crouch and slowly, ever so slowly inch toward a hadeda, who ignored her.

He was, after all, king of the garden. As soon as she was in range, she charged and pounced on his back, and he flapped his wings with a ‘squaak!’ and flew off, with Muffy falling off his back, onto her feet of course.

That would have been that, but she looked at me and saw me laughing, and she slunk off in absolute embarrassment.

Now she wasn’t hurt in any way, but her dignity certainly was! We didn’t see her again for the rest of the afternoon and, when she came in she glanced at me, gave me a wide berth and went to her food bowl.

The only thing I didn’t get was the toothy grin that accompanies embarrassment of that sort.

It happened once when I went out to the car and remembered that I’d left my keys in the house, so I turned around, as any good citizen would, and went back inside.

Our German Shepherd, Brutus, had just settled down after seeing me off, when I walked into the kitchen.

He jumped up and barked at me, a fierce-some, snarling, scary, wet my britches bark.

‘Brutus!’ I yelled, and he recognised me. The barking stopped and the pathetic whining and wagging of the whole body began.

I don’t think a snake could have contorted his body more than Brutus did that day. And I milked it. Oh boy, did I milk it!

‘Bad boy!’ I said and he squirmed in absolute embarrassment, giving me the toothy grin that you think only Pluto could pull off, but there it was, in real life. He managed to get his grinning face and his tail facing me simultaneously: quite a feat for a dog, tail down between the legs while waving frantically.

‘I knew it was you! I was only teasing! See? I’m wagging my tail!’

We tend to anthropomorphise our pets, and give them human characteristics, but these were two cases where I actually saw an animal being embarrassed.  Which raises the question of their sentience, doesn’t it?

Care2Action, a web-based petition site needs all the help it can get in fighting many scourges practised by otherwise civilised countries. They are currently petitioning to get dog breeding for human consumption banned in South Korea.

Please log on and add your voice. Their achievements every year are astonishing, but they need the help of every single one of us.

And God bless you as you consider the plight of those who have no voices except ours.

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