The Dixon family’s two schnauzers, Rufus the Wonder Dog and his little sister, Raffi the Dog of Destiny, have had to make some adjustments in the past few months.
It seems the Dixon family now has two cats — Marmie and Beatrice — living in the basement.
(The cats live in the basement behind closed doors because two human members of the Dixon family are allergic to cats. Closed doors and constantly running air cleaners make it doable. It’s nothing personal.)
Like Rufus and Raffi, the duo of Marmie and Beatrice consist of an older male and a younger female. And like Rufus, Marmie is very protective of his little female companion.
That makes life interesting when the two dogs and two cats try to interact.
It’s at the point now where we can leave the basement doors open for a few minutes to let the dogs and cats greet each other — in a manner of speaking.
When the boys were first introduced, Rufus and Marmie quickly reached an unspoken agreement. As long as each pretends the other doesn’t exist, everything is fine and no one gets hurt.
It’s funny to see them both wandering around the same room, never quite managing to be on the same side at the same time, not quite making eye contact. If they could hum, I’m sure they’d do it.
You’ve heard of people putting on an elaborate show of ignoring “the elephant in the middle of the room”? Well, as far as Rufus and Marmie are concerned, the other one is the elephant.
It gets trickier with the girls. Raffi and Beatrice are fascinated with each other. They like to play together to the extent they’re able, given they don’t understand each other whatsoever.
Raffi wants to play with her new cat friend dog fashion, rough housing and grabbing Beatrice with her jaws — a harmless strategy that bears a remarkable resemblance to biting.
Beatrice doesn’t like when her new dog friend suddenly tries to “bite” her. Marmie likes it even less when he sees the littler dog-thing biting at his kitty, so Marmie hisses at the dog-thing to make it go away.
Usually Raffi gets the hint and decides to go upstairs then. Of course, if Rufus is in the room at the time, he sees Marmie threatening his puppy, and Rufus doesn’t like that one little bit.
Beatrice, for her part, likes to play with Raffi cat-style — suddenly lunging and batting at her with claws. Beatrice is fascinated by Raffi’s schnauzer beard, and thinks it’s a great cat toy.
Page 2 of 2 - So there is Raffi, just wanting to play with her new friend, and the smaller cat-thing suddenly jumps at her and starts slashing at Raffi’s face, claws out.
Raffi doesn’t like that, and neither does Rufus if he sees the smaller cat-thing “attacking” his puppy — leading to another potential confrontation with the bigger cat-thing.
And so we end up with pathetic scenes of the cats in the doorway staring out, and the two dogs sitting on the stairs staring in, everyone too fascinated to leave, but too unsure how they can make this work, either.
It’s sad the dogs and cats don’t understand each other’s play styles. The four of them could be such great friends otherwise.