by Lori Amato
Harvey is the old marmalade striped tom cat that lives just next door. Since our neighbors moved in 11 years ago, Harvey has been very creative in the ways he torments our family. He walks all over our cars right after they have been washed, digs up the garden, and, for added variation, will lay down on the road right where I can see him and passing cars cannot.
I cannot count the times I have run out of the apartment to scare Harvey away from an oncoming car. That stupid cat!!!
Harvey’s favorite pastime was taken up three years ago. Harvey harasses the greyhounds in their pen. The usual scenario goes something like this: hazy hot afternoon – greyhounds snoozing in blissful contentment in the shade of their 100 foot run – Harvey is lurking behind a tree about 25 feet from the end of the run. He peers out from behind the tree and steps off for a stroll around the run’s perimeter. He keeps walking until he is right in front of the snoozing dogs. He knows the five-foot fence will keep him safe. He will then do something to get the dogs’ attention. He will bat a leaf or rub against the fence. Immediately the 2 greyhounds wake up. They are alert, ears erect, hackles up. They start barking and charging towards the fence. Harvey meanwhile sits down and starts washing his feet with his back towards them. The dogs are barking almost frantically at this point and Harvey having finished his ebulitions, walks away. Score “5″ for the cat; greyhounds, as usual, “0″.
Harvey will do this every day during the summer. If he is in the mood for more excitement, he will sometimes climb up the tree that hangs over the dog pen. If Harvey were human, I would equate him to the little kid who always stuck his tongue out at the teacher when her back was turned. Oh, Harvey, will I miss you when you are gone? Methinks not.
Cats and greyhounds, as a rule, get along. There are some exceptions. Harvey is a classic. Another I can think of is a woman who told me her Siamese would not come downstairs from the second floor when she brought home her new greyhound. The grey completely ignored the Siamese, but the cat puffed up, hissed, and struck out every time she saw the greyhound. Hopefully, this has resolved itself. Even if cats and hounds do not become friends, they will come to tolerate each other’s presence. A stray cat I have had for seven months still throws a fit whenever the greyhounds come within ten feet of her. Her hysteria is so complete she will leap, screaming, six feet straight up in the air, to the top level of the cat tree located on the kitchen table. The greys look at each other with an expression on their faces like, Huh!!! What did we do now? Callie, still grumbling and hissing, looks at me with a look that says, “Ma, they are looking at me again. Make them stop!!!”
Some cats and greyhounds are the best of friends. Sparkle and Sultan share the living room couch with no problem at all. Sparkle will object, however, if one of Sudsie’s (Sultan) long legs pokes him in the back. Sparkle will turn, with his little kitty nostrils flaring, and whap Sultan on the nose. Sultan yips and starts to run with a 13-pound, black and white cat in hot pursuit.