If you read yesterday’s post, you know that Flattery had a bit of a close encounter with a cat this weekend. Not all Greyhounds have the prey drive that she does, but some definitely do not belong living with small, furry animals. Some have no interest at all, and others can learn to live with them after some training.
Bunny was correctable. She was curious about cats when we got her, but after meeting a few, decided they weren’t worth the trouble. When she met a cat, we held her leash tightly and one of us also held the cat if we could. She was allowed to sniff the cat, and then we told her “no” if she got persistent about pestering the cat. My mom’s cat attacked her out of the blue one day when we were visiting and she’s viewed cats with great suspicion ever since.
Flattery is not cat safe. She’s our first experience with a dog who is high prey drive. Before we had her here, I could have told you the textbook answers for the difference between cat safe and not cat safe, but I didn’t have the first hand experience to go with it. When Flattery sees a cat (or rabbit, or squirrel, or tiny fluffy dog) she becomes fixated on it. A steak could fall on her head and she would still be fixated on that little animal. She’s not as bad as some I’ve heard of. With the cat on the other side of a door, she was curious, but not fixated on the door and how to break it open. Now I could tell you the difference in more colorful language.
I was surprised when our hosts offered to bring the cat out before we left and let Flattery see it with her muzzle on. I am fairly certain that they have never experienced a high prey dog before. I didn’t want to be writing a blog post this week about how Flattery killed someone’s cat when we went to visit. I declined mainly because I didn’t want to write that post, and also because I don’t think they realize how stressful that would be for their cat. I’m also not quite sure how determined Flattery would be to get a hold of the cat, but she’s got four paws to use besides her mouth. There’s also the possibility that she could get hurt by the cat if it decided to scratch or bite her. It just seemed like very high risk with very low pay off. So, while the cat’s people didn’t understand the difference and the risks, I did, and I simply knew better than to pursue it any further than to say “No, thank you!”
In my heart, I feel like some of Flattery’s drive can be curbed. I think she will learn to recognize small dogs as dogs, but I think she will always have a desire to chase small furry things. That’s just an innate part of her make up. I’m mildly allergic to cats and Mr. Taleteller is very opposed to the idea of having another cat in our house, so I’m not pining to have another cat here and it’s not a big priority to “cure” her. We can live with her prey drive as long as we’re realistic with ourselves and vigilant in the situations where we need to be. If we go to visit somewhere and a cat is in residence there, we can take the necessary precautions of keeping her muzzled and leashed if need be.
It might be easier to have a dog who doesn’t want to snack on cats, but the truth is we’re kind of attached to the skinny little dervish. There is a lot more to Flattery than her prey drive. She’s funny, sensitive, smart, quirky and she wants more than anything for us to be happy with her. She is more curious about the world than any of the other dogs that we’ve had, too. After my own struggles in life to fit in somewhere, I can’t hold her imperfections against her. I love her for what she is, and I’m happy that we have the opportunity to share the journey with her. Our journey just won’t be crossing paths with any cats.