Text From Cat: Perimeter Breached!

#TextFromCat Intruder alter! Unauthorized entity is approaching! Perimeter is about to be breached! Me: Athena, that's just Lilah. She won't bother you. You don't own the floor. Cat: !!! Ready the hissing! Prepare the pointy bits!

Years ago, I would have looked at the picture in the text above and thought nothing of it: a cat is sitting on a sweatshirt looking at a nearby dog who is sniffing the floor.

But that was BC (Before Cats), a long-ago era in which I had not yet learned to speak and understand Cat. I’m not completely fluent; I don’t have moveable ears, whiskers or a tail, so there are some things I can’t pronounce. However, as a student of the Cat language, I’ve become pretty adept at translation.

For those of you who don’t know Cat, the text above is a pretty close approximation, though I’ve left out the demands to leave the area immediately and the accompanying (probably unprintable) cat curses that are being hurled in my dog’s general direction.  

It’s all in the body language—the direct stare, the pointed ears—which are loudly expressing displeasure with a dog who has invaded Athena’s space. But Lilah does’t “hear” a thing, as she doesn’t understand Cat. In Dog, Lilah is leaving plenty of room between her and Athena. In Cat culture, the dog is too close. Way too close. Translated to Human, it would be as if someone was about an inch from your face.

This is one of the challenges of living in a multi-species household. We don’t all speak each others’ language, or share each other’s culture, and as a result there are bound to be misunderstandings.

As the human in the house, it is my responsibility to hear and understand as many cues as I can, to help prevent miscommunication or defuse tense moments. In the situation above, I would have called Lilah to me. She would have been rewarded with some loving and a treat. And Athena would feel less threatened (and probably believe that the dog listened to her for once).

If I hadn’t been there, perhaps Athena would have hissed, and Lilah might have looked up at her. A dog with a sense of humor, Lilah might have nosed Athena for the fun of it, and because she thinks well of every creature she meets. Athena would have stomped off in a huff, tail twitching and muttering additional kitty unprintables.

But that would have been the extent of it; there would have been no tooth vs. claw altercation. And that’s because I pay attention to the interactions around me, and attempt to guide them so they end positively. 

So in my home, we’ve all learned that we can get along. And we do.

If different species can learn to live together—species that would in other circumstances have a predator / prey relationship—maybe there’s hope that we humans can do the same, in our world. 

How do your pets get along with others?

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5 Comments on "Text From Cat: Perimeter Breached!"

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  1. Athena, we woulda been hissing too.

  2. SIBLINGS! They’re always all up in your grill! ~Bear Cat

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