There are a lot of “bi-species homes” out there, where animal lovers share their lives with a dog, as well as a cat. This is the story of one such home, where the family dog, raised by cats, believes he IS a cat. Welcome to my world. My daughter Laura and I are the proud owner of a rare “breed”: a cat-dog.
Cujo Whineybutt was born on March 9, 2012. His mother Darla went into labor after surviving a house fire at our home. Cujo, a Shih-tsu mix, came into the world shortly after 5:30 a.m., and has been with us ever since. Little Cujo has been around dogs since his birth; both his mother, and our 100+ pound boxer Dreyfuss, whom we lost to old age back in September 2012. It’s not that he doesn’t know how a dog is supposed to act. It’s more like his dog behavior has taken second place and hardwired his brain to perform as a cat.
Cujo was already terrifying us by the time he was four months old. Our home is set up for the cats. We have a large cat table with feeders and beds and a disassembled cat tree. The calmer (as well as the not so calm) cats enjoy napping on this table. Cujo had another purpose in mind. He chased the cats across this table. Back and forth, jumping from the table to the ground, over to the trunk under the kitchen bar, then across the bar to the kitchen sink. The cats would jump down, with Cujo close behind them. I cringed with every leap, praying our little cat-dog would be spared a broken leg. I even took out pet insurance on him for awhile. Cujo, being the cat-dog he is, always lands on his feet.
Fast forward two years. Our boy has learned to play fetch. He’s also become a catnip addict, thanks to the many cats he shares his home with. He also plays “referee” with the cats. A lot of people ask how our cats manage to get along. I joke and tell them Cujo breaks up any disagreements. Any cat he believes is about to instigate a fight gets a “jump and bark,” meaning Cujo will jump between the two cats and bark one time. I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t learned to meow.
Cujo sleeps with the cats, curling up with Mandy on the living room couch during the day, or with Renny and Lucky in my bedroom at night. As far as feeding goes, he’ll turn his nose up at doggy treats. Milk bones and Beggin’ Strips hold no desire in the life of a true cat-dog. For his birthday that first year, I spent about $25 on doggy toys. He turned his nose up at all of them. He prefers a small tennis ball that sells for under $1 at Tractor & Supply. Did I mention he also eats catnip and cat treats? He also enjoys a good chase of the laser light, where he tries to climb the front door to catch the red dot.
Hopefully our little guy will continue to amaze us with his cat-like behavior. It’s so much fun watching Cujo wrestle with Brinkley or being licked by Mandy, the house groomer. Nights are spent watching the cats chase him from one end of the house to the other. His main path these days is floor to sofa then over to the other sofa then down to the floor. He climbs and naps on the cat tree in my writing room. Cujo is truly a cat, except in physical appearance. Since the cats don’t go around gazing at themselves in a mirror (except for Furby, who enjoys his reflection), it’s possible they think he’s a cat. A smelly cat at times, but still a cat. Cujo does require a bath at least three times a month, and most likely wonders why the cats aren’t forced to take one as well.
So, do any of you have a cat-dog? Please leave a comment with your story. A photo of you dog being a cat would be even better.
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