Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cats And Dogs And (Potential) Choices

Ever since I reported about Lucy attacking Lily and our conclusion that, if Lucy did it again we'd probably have to find her another home, I have to say I've been getting a little bit of flack from people; namely over WHY we'd get rid of LUCY and not the cats.
First off, let me say that it is probably not going to be an issue because, at least as far as we can tell since letting Lucy back into the house Sunday, all is going well. She's been on her best behavior and both of the cats are almost back to where they were with her before this happened (cuddling with her, rubbing up against her, giving kisses, climbing all over her, grooming her, etc.) I even saw Lily walk past Lucy last evening and give her a rub up; albeit, a quick one.
I've thought about the various reactions I've received and think they are definitely falling into either the cat camp or the dog camp. Remember that movie, "Cats and Dogs"? Well, if you've not seen it, you can chose, when watching the DVD, to be either on the cat's side or the dog's side, thus dictating for the course of the movie which animal is the evil one (I've watched both versions; it's really cute, you should rent it and watch it if you haven't done so already).
Anyway. From the cat lovers I've heard that we'll need to be extra vigilant and consider giving Lucy away if she does it again; after all, she's a lot bigger and she could kill them, intentionally or unintentionally, but, the result would be the same (then, of course, we'd have to give her away, anyway, because who could live with a pet that's killed another one of your pets?) Yes, very dramatic.
From the dog lovers, I've heard that it's possible Lily provoked Lucy (you know how sneaky cats can be; always trying to get the dog into trouble) and that why would we give Lucy away and not the cats? You've only had the cats five months and have had Lucy over two years. How is THAT fair?
Obviously, there are points to be made for either side.
But, for us, it comes down to this.
First of all, I'm pretty much 100% certain that what caused Lucy to attack Lily was my leaving that chewie in sight on the patio (believe me, I still feel awful about that). Lucy was obsessing about it and the fact she couldn't get it and couldn't possibly understand when Lily strolled over to the door that Lily couldn't get to it, either. Not that this made it okay for her to bite Lily.
Given how often I've seen the cats climbing on Lucy and such, I doubt even if Lily HAD swiped her with her claws, that Lucy would have reacted in that manner. Add to it the ONLY times we HAVE seen Lucy behave this way was over food or chewies, well, the argument that Lily INTENTIONALLY provoked her is weak.
Chances are that we'll not ever have this issue again because we will ensure Lucy is not put into a situation where she'll react this way (over food/chewies). We've taken my brother's recommendation and will, from now on, feed her outside (good weather) or in the sunroom with the door shut (bad weather). And, sorry to say for her, no more chewies. Ever.
However, if, even given these restrictions she DOES attack one of the cats again, then, chances are there would be a serious problem with Lucy and her temperament. I'd forever worry about them, her, and, God-forbid, what if she went further one day and attacked one of my nieces or nephews? Right now, there is absolutely no reason to believe she'd do that. But, if she attacked one of the cats for no reason, or, a swipe or a hiss; who is to say what she might do to a small child pulling on her eyes, tail, or stepping on her paw?
That, really, is the primary reason why we decided she'd have to go if she got out of line again. Cats or no cats, we'll always have children around. They come first.
And, obviously, what sort of life would she have, assuming we kept her but kept her outside or locked up in the sunroom all the time? SHE'D be better off (under those circumstances) with a family where she can be involved and loved; probably one with no other pets and no children. Maybe an older couple or a single guy or, who knows. It probably won't come to this, but, if it did, I'd want LUCY to be happy, too.
Finally, to address the question of why not get rid of Pete and Lily? It's simple. They've done nothing wrong. They have every bit as much of a right to be here as Lucy does. We love them, just as we love Lucy. Certainly, if something happened such that it would be BETTER for Pete and Lily to go to new homes, we'd have to think about it. But, again, the only reason we'd give Lucy to a new home (I say this rather than "get rid of her" or "give her away" to reinforce that we'd ensure she had a new HOME, and a good one at that) is if she attacked one of them again, which would led us to the conclusion that she needed to be in a home with no other pets and probably no children.
Ok, I'm rambling and maybe I'm feeling a tad defensive. Excuse me for that, please.
If you've been reading my Blog, you know how much Lucy and I have been through together, our ups and downs, and how much I love her. Believe me, we have her best interests at heart, too.
Mrs. B


Margot said...

Very well tho't out.

Analee said...

ha! i haven't seen that movie but i don't think i need to to know whether i'm a cat person or a dog person! i just wonder how one who isn't an "animal" person would fare!

i agree with margot, that is a very well thought out blog. but, like many things we say in haste... "i'm gonna get rid of her" was probably said as such. we say a lot of things with emotion (in the heat of...) and that was one of those things. we all know you love her and only under an EXTREME circumstance (i.e. no other options like if all of a sudden you developed an life-threatening allergy to cats and shampooing them or a diet change didn't handle the dander) would any of your pets (cat or dog) ever leave the premises! good lord who in the world would think you would actually dump her off at the pound.

anyway, just so you know, i've never even worried about the safety of my children around her except maybe her tail knocking them over. she does have a massive tail and she wags it all the damn time... lol, she is a good dog.