Katy is our second shelter dog. She’s some kind of hound mix, and her gentle nature is a perfect fit for a family with small children. Even our cats have warmed up to her over the last two years.
They were hardly overjoyed when she first arrived, however. They welcomed her with World War III – hissing and scratching at every opportunity – and then settled into low-level guerilla warfare for the first few months. Katy never fought back, and her patience eventually earned her the coveted title of honorary cat, private forth class.
A few days ago, that changed.
We are inundated with chipmunks this summer, and we can’t walk out to the driveway without tripping over a furry striped carcass. The fresh daily kills are offerings from the cats. It’s their contribution to the survival of my garden.
Katy is not much of a hunter (or a watch dog, or a working dog). The cats apparently decided that failing reflected badly on them, so Snoop, the fatter of our two black cats, snagged an unsuspecting chipmunk near the garden fence and brought the struggling rodent to Katy for the final blow. Snoop dropped their prey an inch in front of Katy who sniffed it. Then she sniffed Snoop. The terrified critter started to run. Snoop looked at Katy for a second before pouncing on and retrieving the chipmunk. He dropped it in front of Katy again who stood there wagging her tail. She looked from chipmunk to cat and back to the chipmunk, and the chipmunk escaped again – this time making it to the safety of the crevices in the fieldstone wall.
Snoop stared stonily at Katy for another moment. Then, flicking his tail, he started walking toward the forest. As usual, Katy started to follow, wagging tail and tongue at the prospect of a romp in the woods, but Snoop turned and leveled his gaze at her. Their noses were almost touching. Snoop glared into her eyes, and Katy’s tail was suddenly still. Then he turned and walked to the edge of the woods, not bothering to look back because he knew she was not following any more.
She had been demoted.