Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shades of Black (Cat)

The jumpy but brave black cat quietly sniffed the snoozing hound's extended paw.* I'm not entirely sure, but I think this was the closest that Hugo had ever been to Ray.
It has taken four long years, but the dynamic between the cat and the dog has recently been changing. Hugo now knows that if Ray enters a room by one door, Hugo can calmly exit by the other and the dog is no wiser. If Ray is at his dish eating, Hugo can creep out of the kitchen behind him and not be chased. If Ray blocks Hugo's exit from a room, the cat can stand his ground and hiss and the dog will respect the hiss. Ray's tail will wag and his ears will go into Ultra Dumbo Mode but he will not chase the cat up the stairs (most of the time).

When Hugo first started to come out of cat Siberia, to lure him farther into the living or family room, I would slide the window shade up enough so that the cat would be tempted by the windowsill or the back of the couch. While Ray slept at the opposite end of the couch, Hugo would sit on the back and look out of the window. This worked very well for a week or two until Ray caught on that every time the shade went up, the cat appeared. After that, no matter how soundly the blind dog was sleeping, the raising of the shade would get a Pavlovian reaction. Ray would instantly awaken and leap from the couch with his tail curled high over his back, ready for the hunt. The big cat would evaporate into thin air.

After this happened a time or two, Hugo could no longer be lured by the rising of the shade.
So, to try and get Hugo back among his peeps, I have been working on desensitizing Ray to the sound of the shade, keeping a hand on him while opening it and calmly telling him to stay. We've been through the stage of Ray staying, but raising his head, and quivering with alertness, "looking" around the room when the shade opened, and have graduated to the stage of Ray staying and remaining in a sleeping position. However, even though Ray is pretending to be asleep, his eyes are open and his eyebrows are doing the Flatley on his forehead. Along with the eyebrow action, Ray emits an otherworldly, high-pitched hhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmm.
Hugo, however, is not fooled. The big black cat remains elusive.

*You can use this sentence to practice your typing. It contains all letters of the alphabet.


  1. I like that much better than the "Quick brown fox . . ." one. Black cats are very smart.

  2. I feel sorry for Hugo. Reminds me a bit of our dude Gerrard. Isn't it interesting to watch the cat(s) as they seem to figure out that there is something different about a blind dog? I've seen that when we introduced Elsie a few months ago. Sometimes she will just sit and watch the blind ones and observe.

    Hopefully Ray will settle and allow Hugo to relax a bit more. We can always hope!

  3. As always Ray loves to prove me wrong about things. This morning he was sleeping soundly, Hugo was lounging in the front hall. All of a sudden Ray launched himself off of his chair and chased the cat up the stairs. I don't know how he even knew Hugo was there. (sigh)