We’ve all heard of the legends of children who were raised by wolves. These children, according to the tales, came out more “wolf” than human. They walked on all fours and couldn’t speak human language. They liked their food uncooked. And who can forget Mowgli from Disney’s Jungle Book, who was raised by jungle creatures? Mowgli had no problem swinging through the trees like a monkey.
Our dog, George, was obviously raised not by cats but rather with cats, because it’s clear he’s adopted their feline ways. My niece, Kristin, first noticed this about him. We were at my mom’s having family dinner. We were all there — my brothers and their wives, the nieces and nephews, my husband, my son and me, and the dog of the hour, George. Kristin noticed that George was wedging himself into very tight spaces, just like a cat would. He had no problem squeezing between the loveseat and the bookshelf and walking behind the whole length of the little couch until he appeared at the other end.
“I bet he was raised with cats,” Kristin, the owner of two cats, said.
Upon further observations, the whole family noticed his other cat-like behavior. He likes to jump up on a kitchen chair, climb onto the kitchen table, and walk around, nibbling at whatever food scraps he finds up there. He looks ridiculous standing on a table, very out of context. Dogs don’t do this. Cats do. It’s obvious; he grew up with cat brothers and sisters. And he does other cat-like things. Plain and simple, George thinks he’s a cat.
The other night, George jumped up on the open dishwasher door and commenced to lick the knives, forks, and spoons. He thinks he’s a light feline, but in reality, he’s a 47-pound Beagle/Basset mix. I’m surprised he didn’t break the door off its hinges.
George’s posture of choice is sitting down. George always sits and thoughtfully ponders what’s going on, just like a cat would. My other dogs never seemed to want to sit, unless you commanded them to sit. My other dogs were either standing up or lying down. Usually cats groom themselves when they sit. George doesn’t go this far, but he is certainly meditative like a cat as he sits and observes the world go on around him.
And this is perhaps the thing that makes him most like a cat — he’s always underfoot. When I’m working at my desk, he glides in and rubs his body along my legs, just like a cat who craves human contact would. And when I’m in the kitchen cooking, I have to watch where I step. My 84-year-old mother is afraid one day that George is going to trip her. She’s terribly afraid of breaking her hip.
The dog does everything but purr.
There is one thing, though, that makes George very dog-like. He likes to chew things. He single-handedly devoured three of our son’s retainers. At $350 apiece. The orthodontist says that dogs are attracted to the food smells imbedded into the plastic of the pricey mouth appliances.
When taking a dog into the family, the family must put up with the dog’s idiosyncrasies. One is, so the saying goes, stuck with what one gets. This is because said dog grows on the family, and soon the family falls in love with him. It doesn’t take very long. George wormed his way into our hearts in about two months. By that time, we understood exactly what we had — a dog who thought he was cat with an appetite for our son’s $350 retainers.
We came very close to getting rid of him after he ate the third retainer, but we couldn’t. He had started to work his magic on us.
Now, it would be impossible to oust him. My husband cuddles with George every night before he goes to sleep. That dog is in the place where I used to be — in the nook of my husband’s arm with his head on my husband’s shoulder. And I keep my distance, wondering if my hubby will ever let me cuddle with him again.
I wonder what George would do if I bought him a litter box and kitty litter. It might be worth doing just to see if he squats down and does his business in it. Wouldn’t that be something?
I’ve always appreciated people who were a little different. One of my favorite people in college worked on a fishing boat in Alaska in the summers to pay her tuition all year at Oberlin. She didn’t have money for room and board, so she slept in her car with a huge Alaskan Husky. She was a little different.
It’s no wonder I love this cat/dog named George. He is truly one of a kind, not your ordinary pooch. And he’s all ours.
Do you have a dog who thinks he’s a cat? Let us know in the comments!
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About the author: Laura Yeager is a freelance fiction and nonfiction writer who lives in Stow, Ohio. She misses dear Jesse terribly, but she and her husband have adopted George, another Beagle, who is also a sweetheart. Laura has been writing professionally for over 30 years.