Stella barked. Tiger put her up to it.
“What was that? You don’t bark, Stella. Did Tiger tell you to do that? ‘Act like a dog, Stella! Chase the cat, Stella!’
Ever since Tiger got to feeling better, she has been encouraging Stella to develop the fine art of cat chasing. Mind you, for months before Tiger arrived, Stella and our cat, Moon, lived side by side on cool but peaceable terms. Stella would trot past Moon. Moon would hiss, demanding her space (which amounted to wherever she was, wherever she wanted to be, whenever she wanted to be, for as long as she wanted to be). Stella would cast a sidelong glance and keep trotting past, her tongue jangling and bouncing. Never a snap, never a growl, never a bark.
To be clear, Tiger bears the cat no ill will. Many mornings I find a relaxed Moon sitting right beside a complacent Tiger. But Tiger has a little bit of the instigator in her. When she thinks things are too quiet, too calm, too boring, well…there’s always Stella. Poor, gullible Stella.
Tiger stands at strict attention, pointing her nose in the cat’s direction, usually the couch. She snorts and rumbles. Stella darts her head and stubby body around in short, jerky twists until she sees the object of Tiger’s attention. And then who charges the cat? Not Tiger.
Moon the cat dodges Stella’s assault with little effort, except for that one day when Stella managed to chase her all the way into the kitchen and cornered her against the pantry door. It was a tactical blunder on Moon’s part. She let herself get blocked from all of her hidden retreats and Stella pursued.
Even then Stella didn’t bite her. She didn’t press down. For a couple of seconds, Moon had to endure a sloppy wet mouth the size of Rhode Island and a residue of bulldog slobber on her fur, but she was scared and I was scared – for them both. Sure enough, before I could pull Stella away, Moon lashed out with a claw and scratched Stella just below her lower eyelid. No eyeball injury, thank the Lord, but frightening.
Stella milked the incident for all it was worth, blinking and looking sad. Stella did not need another reason to play the sad face card. It worked. She garnered extra attention and sympathy (although she caused the fight by going straight for the cat and cornering her) and it got her some eye ointment which she fought.
“That wasn’t so fun, was it?” I told her. I’m always telling her things like that. “Why do you listen to Tiger?”
“You know how it is. Something seems like a good idea until you realize that you are in too far and you’re afraid to turn around and get out of it.” Annoyed, she blew out her cheeks, then pranced up to me and raised her paw.
“I am not mad at you, smooshy face. I don’t want any of you to get hurt. I wish you understood. Some of your friends are not always your friends.”
I need to remember that.
“…a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 KJV
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