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Stray Smiles: Family pets are fighting like cats and dogs

Date published: 9/3/2010


We were looking forward to Christmas-card scenes of the animals curled up around each other, snuggling up to get warm. It seemed that Ted was looking forward to the same thing. In his goofy way, he pushed his face right up next to the cat's, wagging his tail and quivering with the excitement of a newfound friend. Did Bu buy it? Not a chance.

The sounds of hissing, spitting, and the whistling of a tiny paw, with claws unsheathed, descending through the air have become regular occurrences at our house.

If Ted tries to play, simply hoping for a friendly romp, Bu immediately attacks him, pouncing like a leopard would attack an antelope in the Kalahari Desert. Granted, Bu is one-tenth Ted's size and his paws are thickly enveloped in fuzz--but the look on Ted's face after such an attack is enough.

As his head hangs, with his ears back and tail down, Ted's huge eyes look into our faces, glistening, saying, "I just wanted to play "

The assaults don't end there. Bu is not as mean to us humans as he is to Ted, even though we tease him mercilessly, trying to get him to play. But for some reason, Bu sees this play as a deliberate excuse to run about the house until he finds Ted (more often than not asleep in a chair somewhere) and unleash his fury. Poor Ted has woken up to the crazed eyes of Bu and the swipe of a furry paw more times than I can count.

We are all sympathetic to Ted's cause. We try to urge him into another room if Bu is in a bad mood. We give him access to an unlimited supply of Milk-Bones to soothe his pain. We tell him that we're sorry the cat is so mean to him, and that he's a good dog, no matter what the cat thinks.

So, what did we do a few weeks ago, when we truly felt terrible for Ted?

We adopted another cat.

Emily Churchill is a senior at Stafford High School.

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