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November 22, 2005

don't corner that cat.

i'm taking moses to the vet every tuesday and saturday morning for a series of shots to help his arthritis.

i usually try to get there quite early, because it's faster and quieter. this morning i slept through til 8, so i didn't get there til 8:30, which is when things start to get busy.

first there was a woman with a very small cat to be spayed. it took an act of will on my part not to serriptitiously photograph this woman with my cameraphone; she was wearing a coat comprised entirely of 2×4 inch squares of brightly colored, boldly patterned, and completely mismatched fabrics. several of the squares were torn and flapping loose. this covered most of her form; peeking out below were pants two inches too short and pilgrim shoes. i swear, even at my worst and most eccentric, i would not have worn such a thing.

as i was waiting to pay, a woman entered with a large dog. the dog was on a leash, but in the very small waiting room, the amount of leash he was being given exerted no effect on his movements at all. he made a beeline for moses' carrier, shoved his nose at the front grate, and was promptly swatted.

i moved to stand in front of the carrier. the woman failed to shorten the dog's leash and he lunged for the carrier again. i wasn't sufficiently in his way and he got swatted again.

it seemed to dawn on the woman (though not the dog) that keeping the dog away from my cat would be a good idea. the crazy coat lady invited her to come stand next to her cat, which she did.

the door opened and a man (who apparently knew the dog and the woman) walked into the waiting room. the dog lunged for the man and the woman let the leash slide through her hands.

once the man was done greeting the dog, the dog headed for moses again. i had stepped up to the counter to pay, and was no longer standing in front of the carrier. the dog was swatted a third time.

the man took the dog out for a walk. i paid, and left. moses assumed a crash position for the remainder of the ride home.

i learned a few things.

Posted by lisa at November 22, 2005 12:45 PM


i was unaware of your belief that dogs are smarter than cats.

care to elaborate?

Posted by: xta on November 22, 2005 03:21 PM

Their heads are bigger. bigger head = bigger brain. bigger brain = greater capacity for intelligence.

I think the fact that dogs seem to respond better to discipline than cats do is a sign of intelligence.

Posted by: lisa on November 22, 2005 03:40 PM

So sorry Moses needs shots for his arthritis. This time of year is really hard on old bones. Have you considered acupuncture, either in addition to or in place of the shots? It's done wonders for Thirteen.

Inattentive dog owners suck. They ruin it for the rest of us. If I were in your place, I would have said "no!" to the dog, then if that didn't work, "do you MIND controlling your dog?" to the owner. Although I'd have to be in a really bad mood to do the latter.

I don't think that dogs are more or less smart than cats as a whole. I think dogs have been bred for a different type of intelligence (performing tasks on command) than cats (solitary hunting). I do think dogs care more about pleasing humans, which is why they respond so much better to training and discipline.

I also don't think head size is such a great indicator of intelligence. If it were, wouldn't cows be smarter than us? And wouldn't whales be like 1,000 times smarter than anything else? They would be like gods :)

Posted by: Sarah on November 22, 2005 04:32 PM

It's only in the last year that I've had much exposure to dog owners and their opinions on training, discipline, and etiquitte, so I don't feel comfortable telling a dog owner how they should handle their dog when on the spot. In retrospect, it seemed very clear to me that that dog owner should have been doing a much, much better job of controlling her dog, but at the time, i didn't think about it.

right now his arthritis is pretty mild and the medication he is on is very mild with very low chances of side effects. my vet and i discussed acupuncture, but not only would getting moses to the acupuncturist represent a significant hardship for me, but my vet said that it simply isn't as effective in cats as it is in dogs.

this is a 6-8 week series of shots to see if we can get rid of that limp he's had since summer. hopefully in a few weeks, we'll be slacking off on the frequency. even before these injections he was a fairly agile kitty given his age, weight, etc.

points well taken on dog intelligence vs. cat intelligence. i think that stimulation and training have a great deal to do with how intelligent an animal appears. and i have met some cats who were strikingly intelligent. moses is not one of them, however :)

as for head size, maybe whales are like gods, and we're just too dumb to realize it!

Posted by: lisa on November 22, 2005 04:43 PM

Since I have lived here I have taken my cats to a vet's office that has a "just for cats" side. Actually it's "just for cats and birds" but the occasional bird makes it a happier trip for the cat. I have had several experiences of calming a very frightened, shaking kitty after being in a room with a Doberman or a German shepherd; they get scared enough without the added stress of Big Dog.

My best to Moses!

Posted by: minty on November 23, 2005 07:27 AM

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