Nola has a few complaints about the cats, especially their complaining

Published 10:19 pm Saturday, August 4, 2007

Nola tried to crawl up onto my lap the other day, but couldn’t fit. Her front paws are so big they took up all the room.

Nola was not a happy puppy. She has big ears and really good hearing and had been listening to the cats making all their complaints to me. She also says she has learned how to read — self-taught, she brags, and she’s only five-and-half months old — and the worst thing was when she read what they had to say about her in the paper. That was just too much for her.

Nola said she has some complaints about those cats.

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First of all, they’re rude. They won’t listen when she tries to talk to them, and when she invites them to play, why they turn away in a huff, stick their tails straight up in the air and walk away.

To Nola, that is the height of rudeness. When someone is trying to be friendly with you, you are at least civil to them even if you don’t want to be friends.

Not being friends is something that Nola really doesn’t understand. She has yet to meet a stranger.

Nola said not even Dancer, the corpulent dachshund, on one side of us, nor Amos, the too-proper, loud-mouthed miniature poodle on the other side, are as rude as the cats. Holmes, the black terrier that visits Amos occasionally, has gotten to be almost friendly.

Besides, Nola said she can understand the dogs. They have a job to do, which is to defend their territory from other dogs, such as her. When she gets a little older, why she’s sure she will be doing the same. It’s just not seemly for puppies to talk back to their elders, she says.

There needs to be an editor’s note here. She talks back to me in spite of my age, especially when I want her to stop doing something she wants to do. Of course, she is a girl. I guess talking back to her “parents” goes with the territory. Now, let’s get back to what she has to say about her neighbors.

After those adult dogs get through with their yapping and warning just to make sure that she understands, they usually will come up to the fence to touch noses. That’s the friendly thing to do, Nola says.

Not those darned cats, though.

All three of them slap her face if she tries to touch noses with them.

When she tries to play with them, all they do is scream, holler and hiss and get her into trouble with her “parents.” Then the cats go around telling tales to anyone who will listen, especially to “dad,” who goes and puts the cats’ complaints in the paper, just like she had committed some kind of crime.

All she wants to do is play chase, Nola says, and those three cats really need the exercise, especially Rosie and Buddy, who Nola says are so fat that they can barely leap up onto the counter.

Personally, I have to disagree with her there. They never seem to have a problem with leaping up on the counter if there’s some food there that they would like to steal, but that’s another story, and involves the late, really portly cat named Samantha that once took off down the hall carrying a whole partially thawed chicken.

Still, I have to admit that she does have a point about the three tattletales needing some exercise.

Tiger, who leaps to the top of the refrigerator with no trouble, and Buddy do play chase, I pointed out to Nola. Buddy will start off chasing Tiger, and then Tiger will turn tables and chase Buddy.

Would you play nice like that and let them chase you as well as you chasing them, I ask her.

She looks down her nose at me as if I’m some sort of vermin and informs me that cats never chase dogs. Cats are for dogs to chase, Nola says.

Well, I said, perhaps the cats don’t like that arrangement. Besides, Hunter, your late sister, never chased them, I tell Nola.

Nola gives me a disgusted look as she prepares to climb down off my lap.

She stops. Well, she says, I don’t know what Hunter’s problem was, but I don’t have it.

Then I hit her with the shocker. I tell her that not one of her predecessors, going back to Cap, my first dog, and including three Airedales, a breed used to protect packs of hounds hunting mountain lions out West, ever chased the family cats.

Nola, stops for a minute, then looks up at me with a sad and worried look on her face and with great seriousness asks me if she’s the first non-mentally deficient dog I’ve ever had.

All I can do at that point is sigh as she finishes climbing down and goes looking for one of the cats to try to persuade to play chase — her way. It’s going to be a difficult few months until she finally gets over being her self-centered little self and settles down.