Greek-American Stories: Fetching and Mushing

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

First off, I’d like to inform the uninformed that there is a vast difference between cats and dogs. I don’t mean structurally; I mean mentally. Let me describe some physically vital examples that will clarify, and scientifically prove this theory. My daughter, Ellen, has a dog named Milo. So, in my back yard, one sunny afternoon, Ellen arrived with her dog, armed with a Frisbee, that thing you toss across and hope someone catches it on the opposite end, hopefully not into my neighbor’s yard.

With the Frisbee in hand, Ellen tossed it up into the air. “Fetch it, Milo!” she yelled out. Milo, tongue hanging out like wash ready to be hung, got his order and happily raced across the grass and leaped up like a defeathered bird, catching it in mid air between his teeth. Then, huffing and puffing, he ran back to his favorite person on earth, proudly releasing the disc now wet with his saliva. “Good dog!” said my daughter, patting him fondly on his head as if he’d just rescued a drowning kid from a pond.

My cat, Sissy, her golden fur and green eyes glistening under the sun, watched from the porch steps the creature that is five times her size. Pausing to lick her ear with her pretty paw, she glanced across and witnessed the scene that, in her opinion, was neither earth shattering nor necessary and continued grooming. Now, grooming is done on a regular basis, periodically, Sissy insists. Suddenly Ellen who had decided to test Sissy’s talents called out, “Sissy! Fetch!” and tossed the disc out across the grassy lawn. Sissy watched it fly up and waited until it landed. Ellen repeated the order. “Sissy! Fetch!” Raising her pretty head, her eyes glared up at Ellen and with an expression that clearly indicated she was going to do no such thing, indicated, “Ellen! You fetch!” Then, she continued licking the other side of her adorable face.

One snowy day, Ellen had brought a sled that she placed over the snow covered ground and leashed Milo to it, then ordered him to pull it, calling out, “Mush!” Milo, Mush!” Sensing the command and anxious to please that wonderful woman, he pulled that sled across the length of the back yard. Meanwhile, Sissy, who doesn’t like the cold and wanted ‘IN’ the warm kitchen, watched as that impaired dog raced back, showing off like a life guard at the beach trying to attract the attention of a bikini clad girl. Ellen, proud of her little slavering mutt, looked up at Sissy and said, “Come on, Sissy! You can do it, too! ” Grabbing her forcefully, with the intention of attaching her to the sled, Sissy, frantically used her back legs to fend off the intrusive female. Then, decided to play it cool. She plopped herself down like an anvil, looking out at the icy scene, wondering when visiting hours ended. Suddenly, feeling a sharp tug, she looked back. “What th’ hell...”, reflected her expression. “Sissy! MUSH!”

She turned and stared at the audacious interloper who, audaciously seemed to insinuate that she, Sissy, of glorious ancestry, proud, freedom loving felines, whose ancestors once graced historic palaces from time immemorial and having one of her cousins reside with Queen Cleopatra, was now expected to stoop to the undignified action of pulling a sled? Lifting her head, she stared, her expression plainly saying, “You want me to WHAT?”

Dog Obedience Schools abound. Who ever heard of Cat Obedience Schools? Instructors who have tried are now in drug rehab. Sissy ached to tell that presumptuous female that the contract clearly states that cats have permission from the almighty to chase birds, flies, balls, ribbons, strings or feathers. A brief amount of petting and grooming is permissible. Diet must consist of proteins, like meat, fish, chicken or tuna. Potables can be milk, water (Spring water, preferably) or cream. Most important is the time allotted for napping which is from eight to fifteen hours in a soft, warm plushy bed, preferably in a quiet, clean, unperturbed area of the house. In whatever abode a cat resides, it is to be understood that said property is considered his or hers.