Pigeon Sounds and Stealth Attacks
The kittens grew, and it eventually became time for us to find them new homes. It broke my heart, and I convinced my husband that the heartbreak would hurt a little less if I could keep just one. He picked out a long-haired, grey tabby, with a spotty tummy. We named him Odin, and I spoiled him with love as I watched all the other little kittens leave one by one to start new lives with new families. At first, he missed his siblings and paid no attention to us or the dogs. He preferred to hide in an old pop box and tear around the house at night.
I was becoming disappointed with our choice, as he was very much unlike the soft, cuddly, furball that I had pictured in my head. Even though we had been there since the beginning, he seemed to distrust us since he was the only one left. One night, while eating supper, I decided to try to get him to behave like a cat should and offered him a piece of pork. Although wary at first, he made his way out of the box and took the meat from my hand. It was the first step in a wonderful relationship.
After some time, Odin began to look forward to our return from work. I would call him and he would run to greet me. It was then that we discovered how very vocal he was. It started out with small chirps and squawks and soon grew into what we describe as pigeon sounds and “blalling”. When left alone, even just behind a closed bathroom door, Odin would become distraught and throw his voice to amazing volumes while jamming his paws through the space under the door. At night, when no one was up to entertain him, he began to tear around the house at full speed, howling the entire time. Perhaps it is my fault for talking to him so much, or perhaps he was just meant to be different. Now when we have visitors stay over, we have to warn them about his sounds, so that they will not think that one of us is making them. When called, he would respond by “pigeoning”, and when alerted by a shaking treat bag, he would vocally beg for the treats—twirling around our ankles, looking into our eyes, and letting out small coos and meows.
The dogs accepted Odin with good grace. Koda, ignoring his existence as much as possible. Mylo, taking on an entirely different role. I am not sure how it happened, but somehow Mylo decided that Odin was a decent playmate. He seemed to understand that Odin was much more breakable than Koda, and that he had to be gentle with him. Mylo would push Odin with his nose, and then drop to the ground, tail wagging, to wait for the play to start. At first, Odin was unsure of what to do. I assume that his instincts were telling him to run before he was eaten. He returned Mylo’s attempts at play by batting his head in quick order, and streaking away into some dark corner.
Odin must have overcome his instincts, or perhaps his energy got the best of him, boosting his bravado. Whatever it was, he took a leap of faith one day. He hid under the coffee table and watched as Mylo paced around the living room, oblivious to the tiny cat that was lowered into a hunting stance not 3 feet away. When Mylo was sufficiently occupied with a bone, Odin made his move. He flew out from under the coffee table and wrapped his arms around Mylo’s leg—ears lowered, pupils like dimes—knawing away at Mylo’s buttocks. Mylo started, confused as to what had just happened, then whipped around to commence a wrestling match. Odin was like a furry ninja, biting, batting, and swatting at Mylo before the poor dog even knew what was happening. I was afraid that something bad would happen, but as I looked at Mylo, a big goofy grin on his golden face, and his fan of a tail violently wagging from side to side, I understood. This is what he had wanted all along. He wanted to be Odin’s buddy. Now, Odin conducts daily stealth attacks on Mylo, and he has never once been harmed.
But, Mylo was not only Odin’s friend. Odin is, and always has been, a little shit. He destroys things, gets onto tables, steals small objects, and causes more trouble than the 2 dogs combined. In the beginning, I felt like I was always chasing after him in order to keep my house together. Thankfully, our extremely intelligent and wonderful genius dog, picked up on this. Whenever Odin was up to anything bad, and I couldn’t get there right away, I would make a loud “psssst-psssssst” sound, which he seemed to hate. Eventually, Mylo learned this sound and its meaning, to my utter amazement. Whenever Odin was wreaking havoc, all I had to do was make the sound and Mylo would run off to find the devil-cat and nudge him away from whatever mess he was creating. I had no intention of training my dog to get after my cat, but I can’t say that I regret it happening. Mylo takes his job very seriously, and will always keep Odin from doing too much damage.
When we decided to keep Odin, I had expected to have tolerance in our home between the 2 species, but I did not expect to have genuine friendship between them. Mylo is much more intelligent and gentle and caring than I had ever thought, and I feel ashamed to say that it surprised me to find that out. I have since learned to discard any and all assumptions about my pets and their behaviors. Like I have said before, dogs will surprise you every single time. No matter how many books you read, or sites you follow. A dog is as individualistic as any person, and it’s a shame that we don’t all see that.