In appreciation of National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day I sat down with Silvi for a heart to heart talk. Silvi, as you know, is our clinic cat. She lives full time at Guthrie Pet Hospital and is our official greeter and in-house celebrity.
Me: Silvi, I am honored to have you join me for this interview-
Silvi: As you should be-
Me: -and I hope you feel comfortable enough to ask those questions that have been on your mind for so long.
Silvi: Yeah, yeah, let’s get on with it. Here’s my first question. Why do some of you people insist on leaving on a light for me? You know I sleep at night, right? I’m not up to trying to read or anything.
Me: Well, I guess we thought it would make you feel less lonely.
Silvi: I’m a cat, for crying out loud. Alone is what I do. I also have excellent night vision. I can’t see in complete darkness like some people believe, but I enjoy the lower lighting and can see just fine. Now, if you want to leave a radio or to talk radio that would be great. I am used to having people around so the sound of conversation can be comforting. I especially enjoy NPR. By the way, the dogs seem to enjoy Grey’s Anatomy in the boarding room. Next question. Is it necessary for you to pick up everything you drop on the floor? Some of that stuff is pretty fun to bat around.
Me: Actually, yes, it is. Some of the items that hit the floor every day around here can be poisonous if you eat them, or dangerous. Things could cut you or infect you. We take special care to make sure that your home-the clinic-is kept clean and safe for you, and I’m sure your fans are glad that we do.
Silvi: Oh. Well, ok. But leave a few toys out, ok?
Me: Of course. But know that we will pick them up when dogs come in.
Silvi: Of course. Dogs will put anything in their mouth.
Me: How about a hard question. What have you got?
Silvi: Ok, how about this- why do so many people freak out when they bring their dogs into the clinic and see me? I’m not going to hurt them.
Me: It’s complicated. Some people have only seen their dog’s reaction to stray or unfamiliar cats, which usually involve the cat getting startled or scared and running. The running triggers the prey/predator response in the dog, and they end up chasing the cat. We try to explain to everyone that you almost never react to a dog’s presence as a stray cat might, and therefore do not trigger the response in the dog. It is always interesting to see a dog have a passive encounter with you. By the way, while we appreciate your patience and tolerance of all their sniffing, we would never put you at risk with an unknown dog.
Silvi: I appreciate that.
Me: How do you feel about the cats that come in?
Silvi: I’m supposed to be asking the questions, but since you asked, I’m fine with them. I know they are often really scared, which is why I try and give them plenty of room. One thing I don’t understand is why people bring in their cats carried in their arms. Don’t they know how dangerous that is? I hear them say their cat is fine, or calm, and it may be. But I know for a fact that not all the other pets that come in are calm, and they are the ones that could scare that poor kitty right out of mom’s arms. Same thing with dogs, for that matter. Puppies are cute but should still be on a leash. Same with grown dogs, no matter how well they are trained. It isn’t that I think the dogs or cats are dangerous, but a leash or a carrier keeps them safe!
Me: That’s a really good point. Hopefully, people will listen. Next question!
Silvi: Why can’t I go into the bathroom with you.
Me: We have talked about this-
Silvi: No, you talked about it. I never got a good answer. It’s a quiet room; I could sit on your lap, you could pet me, I’m talking about serious bonding time.
Me: NEXT question.
Silvi: Why are some people not “cat people.”
Me: Wow. That’s a hard one. I think it is more that some people don’t see cats as being “people cats.” They think because cats can be aloof and independent that they don’t especially like people. Also, some people want an animal companion that takes direction and doesn’t consider direct commands as mere suggestions.
Silvi: Why are you looking at me like that? Like. I don’t listen? I listen. Most of the time. When what you ask makes sense. And meets my schedule.
Me: That. That right there- that attitude has a lot to do with it. Which is why I always tell people if they want a pet, get a dog. If they want a roommate, get a cat.
Silvi: I’m not paying for cable-
Me: No one said you were.
Silvi: Seriously, the dogs can pay for cable. They are the ones addicted to Grey’s Anatomy.
Me: No one is paying for cable.
Silvi: Seriously? Are we stealing cable?
Me: No one is stealing cable! Can we finish this up?
Silvi: Why, are you going to watch Grey’s Anatomy with the dogs?
Silvi: Ok. To wrap this up, I guess I just want to say that a lot of people have the wrong opinion of cats. We don’t suck the life out of babies, we don’t lick the butter-mostly, we don’t hate people, and we aren’t jerks. We are just independent beings, that’s all. We want attention when we want it. We don’t want to be petted to death, but we don’t want to be ignored, either. We want people to take the time to learn our behavior indicators. We want people to respect our desire to just sit in the sunshine. We really are live and let live type of beings. That’s all. If we want to sit in the chair, you just vacated it is probably because it is warm. You never called dibs when you got up.
Me: So, what I’m hearing is that you are ok with sharing space with people. Right?
Silvi: Yeah, I guess so. I think we can all get along pretty well if everyone respects each other’s boundaries. That’s it.
Me: well, ok. Thank you for taking the time to visit with me. I appreciate your candor.
Silvi: Sure, no problem. Hey, what time is it?
Silvi: I called dibs on the television after Grey’s. The dogs and I are going to watch some hockey.