Tales from Furville: Cute cat and dog stories

A Furville Christmas

Christmas time is a wonderful time .  It generally starts when the  family gets together and decorates the house.  Now it is a well established fact that anything brought into the house is strictly first and foremost for the benefit of the cats.  As far as Jazz is concerned everything is a shiny, bright cat toy.  Monet has an impulsive need to find out how dark and comfortable each box is.  Misty is blissfully left alone to sleep.  Bailey the old black lab use to prance around wrecking havoc with her tail, but now she is perfectly content to pace back and forth amidst everyone stopping in the middle of a hall or room unexpectedly and refusing to budge until she is good and ready.  She still has an eerie sense of the areas that are about to have the most traffic and is fully prepared to block them garnering lots of attention and verification that she is very much a part of the family.

Sometimes to make room, boxes are put and opened on the bed, and Misty has no problem with this as long as they are placed down softly as not to wake her up, and that Monet doesn’t jump too hard as he inspects them.   Occasionally she will become aware and annoyed at the heavy paw pacing of Bailey and will reach out with her own paw whilst still reclining in order to show the dog that she is prepared to smack Bailey if she manages to come any closer.  Only the paw will show any sign of life; the rest of the body stays still, even the eyes remain closed.  But since Bailey can’t get anywhere near the center of a bed anymore and is quite blind, she is completely oblivious to the eminent threat of smacking that she narrowly escapes, had Misty more energy.

The best part of the whole decoration process is the wide-eyed look of Jazz when the tree goes up.  She will wait on the fringes while everyone walks around decorating the tree as she fully realizes the more time she waits means the more swattable toys she will have.  She tries to look cool and aloof sitting in a corner, but everyone can see the ripple of excitement cascading up and down her furry sides.  Her paws subtly flex with anticipation.   From Jazz the family has learned not to use any breakable ornaments as they will be swatted.  From Bailey the family learned never to put ornaments at or below tail range as all ornaments within range will eventually go sailing across the room at high speed after coming in contact with the ever wagging tail.  No ornament is ever safe from Jazz however, as before the end of the first week she will have climbed and explored every branch intimately.  Many a night a family member would stop in the living room to admire the beautiful lights and come to see two glowing cat’s eyes peeking from amongst the lights every bit as brightly and from any height.  An unanchored tree is a tree that will be on the ground within the first day with Jazz again aloof and cool in a corner – the perfect picture of innocence as well as impatience for the tree to be put back up so she can resume her climbing.

Monet will stop to admire the ornaments and lights but will quickly go back to exploring the boxes.  So many boxes at Christmas time, and he has just the claws and teeth to get past all that annoying wrapping and bows.  Extra care is always given to boxes that are to leave the house to make sure there isn’t a stowaway inside.   Once the household presents are wrapped a check is made to make sure Monet isn’t trapped until Christmas morning, and while this has never happened he would probably love every minute of it.

As a part of the family, the humans feel obligated to at least pick up Misty and carry her to the tree.  And she will tolerate this, knowing that eventually she will be returned to the bed and treats will more than likely be put down next to her by the humans feeling guilty for subjecting her to such torture.  It’s a good life.  From the tree Jazz and from the boxes Monet will concur – it is a very good life.  Bailey? Well, she will more than happily wish everyone who enters the house a Merry Christmas with her tongue.  Sometimes we swear her tail beats to the rhythm of Jingle Bells.  It is a good life indeed.

The Battle for the Blue Chair

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Recently, the TV and the office set up went into the master bedroom.Mostly for convenience, and the two humans spent all their time in there.  Slowly but surely, the family pets made the exodus into the room as well.  As the pets were all pampered, food bowls and water dishes found their way into the bedroom as well and other than for litter box trips, and the litter boxes were definitely NOT going into the bedroom, the fur all stayed happily in the bedroom with Misty the antisocial cat on the bed, Jazz the intelligent, curious cat on the windowsill, and the aging Bailey the black lab on the floor by her master on the bed.  Even though efforts were made to pamper the aging girl with a comfy rug or an oversized fluffy dog bed, it always was the hard wood floor that she settled her tired bones on before sleeping.Sadly, the hips weren’t what they used to be and jumping on the bed was a faded memory along with chasing tennis balls in the backyard.

Years back, Jazz and Bailey often slept together on the bed as Jazz truly loved Bailey and would often rub against her or even lick and groom her ears which the lab tolerated with a pained expression.  During all those years, the comfy blue chair was often the preferred sleeping spot of Bailey until again the hips made even this a painful chore but still possible.

Also with age came a loss of balance and eyesight and the two cats learned to run whenever Bailey would lumber through as she would often come close to kicking or stepping on them. Don’t get me wrong, Jazz still loved Bailey, but even Jazz would stop the grooming to watch the drunken sailor’s gait of Bailey with a very cautious eye.  She was quick to take to the safety of the windowsill to continue her grooming.

Another quirky thing about Jazz was her habit of settling on a different sleeping spot about every two weeks.  She would find some unique spot, like a dresser drawer, a padded chair, a certain spot on a bed, or even across the tops of shoes on a rack and the vast majority of the time for the two weeks that is where anyone would find her.  Like clockwork, after fourteen days she would wander off and find new sleeping quarters.

As the winter was coming and the wooden floors were getting a bit chiller Bailey decided that the warmth of the blue chair was worth the aggravation of the sore hips in getting up into the chair.  But as fate would have it we were in the early phase of Jazz having settled on the same blue chair as her two week home.

Finally, after days of watching the sleeping, comfy cat,  Bailey made her move.   As a large dog her head easily came up to the top of a bed or chair, and she learned to use this height advantage well.  Whenever she wanted food or to go out a simple well placed huff of hot dog breath always got her slow moving master up quick and tending to her needs.  So Bailey armed with her hot dog breath stood next to the chair facing the sleeping Jazz and huffed a good puff of air.  Jazz was not as easily swayed; a simple turnaround took care of this discomfort and the sleeping continued much to Bailey’s chagrin.

After looking at the floor and then the sleeping cat and finally at the comfy blue chair that had always been hers, Bailey decided enough was enough and just climbed into the chair, cat or no cat.  At first Jazz looked on in disbelief and then with growing concern as Bailey squeezed into a spot not big enough for the two of them.  With a squeak Jazz scooted up onto the arm of the chair and indignantly watched as Bailey settled in for a well deserved rest.  Or so the poor lab thought.

After watching for a bit , Jazz jumped down onto the little bit of space not occupied by the snoozing old girl and leaned forward to lick and groom the dozing dog’s ear.  First came the disgusted grunts and deep breaths.Then came the head shakes, but all this merely incited the furiously licking cat to double her efforts. If Bailey wasn’t going to move she would have the cleanest ears in the county if Jazz had anything to do with it. Soon enough the old dog’s patience wore out and with a final deep huff and groan she stretched up and collapsed out of the chair and returned to the cold floor.  Her eyes weren’t even closed before Jazz had resumed her spot and was back to sleep herself.  Sometimes the tongue is far mightier than the claws.

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