Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is Mandy. She's very sweet with us, but I think she hates cats. I love cats and have quite a few (don't ask how many), so that causes some friction around here. Mandy met her match this morning. I was startled awake at 6:15 by the terrible sound of "gnashing of teeth". I don't know how else to describe it. The sound was not unfamiliar to me. It's the awful sound Mandy emits when she's going to chase after one of the cats - a low-growling, half-howling sort of utterance. I'm embarrassed to admit that Mandy is a cat chaser and no amount of effort on our parts has dissuaded her from this annoying and dangerous habit. She also tries to chase squirrels and rabbits. If we know animals are in our yard, we don't allow her to go out. We don't want her to frighten them. We'd like her to be as gentle with small furry things as she is with us. She was a rescued dog and I fear someone encouraged her to chase smaller animals in her previous life. To my complete dismay, she seems to have retained the prey instinct.
Spouse let Mandy outside in our fenced backyard this morning and started to eat his breakfast, totally unaware there was a neighborhood cat IN our yard. Most of the cats whose owners let them roam (don't get me started on that) know Mandy is here and I rarely see any cats back there. That's the dog's domain. Yet there he was, a big gray and white cat ready for a boxing match. I have seen him confront other cats in the area and he's fearless. I've also seen Mandy in action a few times, and for a 70-pound dog, she's quick and agile.
I didn't see the charge this morning, but I heard the result of the confrontation. It was a sound that instantly alarmed me. I hurried to the kitchen to see what was going on. By that time, Spouse had brought Mandy inside and was consoling her. Wait....he was consoling the dog? I asked if she had "gone after something" and feared the answer. Spouse said a cat gotten into the yard and Mandy had given chase, but he added, "Mandy got the worst of it". He saw Mandy submissively lying on the ground while the cat pommeled her with both paws. When Mandy regained her composure, she thought of going at the cat again, but the cat stood his ground, puffy tail and all. Mandy wisely kept her distance the second time and returned to the house when called. She was unscathed except for a bruised ego. I'm sure a lesson was learned.
I don't want Mandy to be injured, but neither do I want her to harm any other animal. I've often wished my own cats would stand their ground with her and rap her across the nose a time or two if she gives chase. Maybe then she'd leave them alone. Alas, my cats are wimps.
To my knowledge, Mandy has never caused the demise of another animal and I pray she never does. She has, however, caused some bruising and a few minor lacerations to a couple of my cats. Each incident was due to error on our part. Suffice it to say we now take full precautions to avoid that sort of thing and we're more careful about trusting Mandy to be friendly toward the cats. While on leash around them, she sometimes gestures as if she's going to be nice to them, then quick as a wink, changes her mind and lunges toward one of them. This confrontational attitude toward cats causes some extra work around here. The animals have to take turns. When Mandy is out, the cats are secured in the lower level of the house, but they are never caged. When they're roaming free, Mandy is either outside or in her crate/cage/house, whatever one wants to call it. We call it her house and she doesn't seem to mind being in there.
The cats are actually friendly toward Mandy and often lie down on top of her house while she's in it. When they do that, she just rolls her big brown eyes, but remains calm. I don't know if we're ever going to have a completely peaceful household. We hope to one day build a cat house - or maybe I should call it a cat barn - and let all the cats stay out there together. We'll have an enclosure where they can be outside but protected at the same time. Until that time, we'll do whatever is necessary to keep peace.


Liz said...

This is so funny I bet she want chase cats anymore.

Cindy B said...

LOL!!! I think many learned a valuable lesson today.