It's been quite some time since I passed along any new tales about my wonderful Border Collie, Beau. 

These past few months have been quite educational for both of us.  I thought maybe you might like to know about Beau's new roommates – my beloved fiancée, Cheryl, and Keeko, her cat.

After a lifetime of living without love, except for what Beau gives me so freely, I found true love last year.  After several months of dating, my beloved Cheryl and I decided to move in together, and of course, she brought the diminutive and delightfully zany Keeko with her.

There was of course some concern on our part as to how they would get along, but I was certain Beau could handle having a friend around – even one from a different species, and a traditional enemy to boot.

Sure enough, Beau didn't disappoint.  Right from the start he was totally ready to accept his new roommate and he very graciously gave her all the room she needed to adjust to her new living space.

Keeko was understandably a little nervous at first and spent most of her first couple of weeks hiding beneath furniture or sitting high atop shelves.  Once she was assured that Beau wasn't going to chase her or hurt her, she started venturing out from her hiding places and laying claim to various parts of the apartment.

Before long they were even inventing little games to play together, to our endless amusement.

One of their favourite games involves the daily ritual of "treat time." We hand out lots of treats (and even more love, of course) and you'll always know it's treat time when they both sit "at attention" side by side at our feet.  We throw Keeko’ s treat first.  She likes to play "ready, set, GO!" with her treat, chasing it down the hall and through the kitchen.

Beau plays a little game of hide-and-seek searching out biscuits on our legs, laps and even shoulders.  When he's done eating his treat, he'll go looking to see if Keeko has eaten hers, or if she left it out in the open for him to find, as she often does.  Once he's found it, she'll pounce on his tail (four and a half pounds of mock anger) and bat furiously at it -- "chasing" him back into the living room!

Beau always arrives smiling and laughing in his "huff huff huff" way only to turn and look at Keeko as if to say, "Is that all you've got?"

They also play a game I like to call, ‘Caught You Looking!’  Keeko will do the craziest things, ricocheting off walls and furniture, using our laps like trampolines, all while Beau's doing his level best to pretend not to notice.  And if she suddenly turns and catches him looking at her, she wins!  She'll then take a moment to preen herself thoroughly while giving him this look that seems to say, "I know, I know.  You just can't resist my feline grace and beauty, can you?"

You can tell they both enjoy their little games very much and we always crack up when they pretend to "compete" for the many hugs we dispense.  They both know there are more than enough hugs and cuddles to go around, which is how we know it's just another one of their many home-grown games.

Putting a cat and dog together doesn't always work but we've been blessed with every possible success in getting Beau and Keeko to share our home and our love. 

They're both as good as gold, and they NEVER fight.  We just couldn't be happier about the arrangement and they seem to feel the same way judging from the happiness they both display.  Beau has never had so much as a single claw mark to show for his eight months of life with a cat, and what's more, they have never shown a single ounce of jealousy.  They even sleep with us at night -- Beau curled up against the back of my legs and Keeko snuggled between Cheryl's feet, not eight inches from Beau's face.

The best part of this arrangement is that it's reassuring knowing that they still have someone to snuggle up with whenever Cheryl and I both have to go out.  It's perfectly obvious that they have no fear of each other, and that they even care for one another.

We had a strong hunch it was going to work out when we found them cuddled together in our big comfy armchair the very first day they met! We've taken some "blackmail photos" of the two of them curled up side by side on the bed -- insurance for if they ever do anything bad.  If they ever do misbehave, we'll threaten to take the pictures down the block to our local pet store and put them on display!  As much as they love each other, I don't think Beau could hold his head up as a "dog's dog" if the other neighbourhood dogs found out that he regularly snuggles with a cat one tenth his size!

Who says cats and dogs have to fight... well, "like cats and dogs?"

If you'd like to contact Gary about this story, or the others he's written about Beau, please email him on the address below. 

  -- Gary LittleBear, Ontario, Canada  <garylittlebear @ sympatico.ca>

'Like Cats and Dogs' was originally published in "Petwarmers," Wednesday, 5th May, 2004

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A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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