Brian Edwards Media

Down With Dogs! (Revisited)

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The following letter to the editor appeared in yesterday’s Herald:

In reference to the article about the cat shot near Queenstown, I would like to commend Sergeant Linda Evans for her common-sense handling of the incident. If the owners of cats allow their animals to roam unrestricted over other people’s property, there is no way of telling a pet from a feral one.  This country is infested with cats and it is high time owners were made to register them, put collars on them and keep them in at night. Any others could then be trapped and eradicated. Why should we have to put up with cat excrement being deposited on our lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens night after night? The worst offender is the SPCA with its policy of rehoming the thousands of unwanted cats each year. Cats are flea-ridden and carry disease that is harmful to humans. It is time they were controlled and their owners made to take responsibility for their pets, the way dog owners are. Pip Worliedge, Tauranga

I will come to what Mr/Ms Warlike has written later. But first, my Burmese cats, Max and Felix, have requested that I avenge this slight on their species by republishing  a column I wrote years ago when Judy and I were living in Eastbourne. It is called Down with Dogs!

DOWN WITH DOGS!

It should be an offence to keep a dog in an urban or suburban area. Penalties should be severe: a stiff fine, periodic detention or a lengthy stint of community service.

Dogs are disgusting creatures. They smell. They poo and wee indiscriminately. They have overactive glands, which lead them to sniff the private parts of other dogs, to copulate in public and to attach themselves to the legs of dinner guests. But dogs are rarely as disgusting or anti-social as their owners.

Dog-owners deserve our pity as well as our judgement. They are pathetic creatures, so insecure in their own worth that they need the blind love of a mindless animal to bolster their sagging egos. This is the sole purpose in owning a dog, and it is ideally suited to the role. The dog is natures finest crawler, sycophant, toady, lickspittle and brown-nose. Small wonder it has been dubbed mans best friend’.

The title is well deserved. How many of your friends will lick you all over, obey your every command, roll over when you tell them to, go berserk when you appear at the door and stilI love you, however often you hit them with a rolled-up paper or kick them in the goolies? I can think of only three or four 

My rage against canines is a side-effect of the onset of the male menopause. I have become concerned about my health, my appearance and my attractiveness to younger women. I have taken up jogging. And it is jogging that has brought me into contact with dogs and their delinquent handlers.

I jog along the seafront at Eastbourne, an attractive spot popular both with joggers and with people ‘taking the dog for a walk. This is a euphemism for taking the dog to the lavatory. Dog owners object to having dog-shit liberally distributed around their property and grounds. Who wouldnt? So they train their dogs to defecate on other people’s property and grounds, popular options being childrens parks, public beaches and any footpath. This must be the quintessence of selfishness and the acme of anti-social behaviour.

And they know it. Dog-owners never look at their dogs while they are pooing on the pavement. (The dogs, that is.) They disown them through body language. Dog and owner strain at either end of the leash, facing in opposite directions. At the precise moment of evacuation, the dog-owner invariably discovers some riveting phenomenon in the southern sky. This charade is meant to convey to the onlooker or passing jogger that the owner has not noticed  that the dog is fouling the public walkway, so diverted is he by a passing seagull. The deed done, he skulks away leaving only the evidence to lie in wait on the unsuspecting jandal.

To the jogger the dog presents not merely an environmental but a physical hazard. Untethered dogs run with you and after you; they bark at you, jump up on you and nip at your legs. Their owners find these behaviours amusing. Having lived with Rex for seven years, they are able to read his mind.

‘Dont worry,they reassure you, as your heart races, your inner thigh begins to moisten, ‘he won’t bite you. He just likes to play.’ I interpret this to mean: he hasnt bitten anyone yet.  I have stopped being polite to these cretins. I now tell them in no uncertain terms to get their filthy mongrel out from under my feet or I’ll call the cops and have it put down.

Would that it were so easy. Few owners are able to control their dogs. Here boy,‘ they call in quiet but mistressful voices, as the Doberman advances towards you at the speed of a game of Irish pass-the-parcel. Come away, Fang,‘ in a bewildered and somewhat irritable tone, as he pins you against the sea wall. FANG!in a near hysterical scream, as the slavering chops approach your throat. Fang ignores it all.

As my life has passed before my eyes in these situations, my subconscious has registered one interesting fact. The dog-owner never rushes up to you to drag the dog away. She stands in her original position, distributing commands. This is because the significant issue for her is not whether you live or die, but the battle of wills that is being played out between her and Fang.

I am a cat-lover. I do not need my ego massaged. To those who do, I say: Dogs belong in the country, not in town. Get yourself a budgie instead. Who knows, with time it may teach you to talk.

So have things changed? Well, not very long ago I lived on Waiheke where things appeared not to have changed at all. On our daily walks along Onetangi beach, Judy and I were regularly bailing up people whose pooch had just left a little present in the sand for passing families to stand in and crawling infants to pick up and sample.

‘Excuse me,’ I used to say, ‘I think you’ve dropped something. Perhaps you’d like to pick it up.’ A list of excuses would follow: ‘Sorry, didn’t notice… Forgot to bring the bag… Was just going to pop home to get the bag… It’ll be gone when the tide comes in…’

You don’t see a lot of dog shit in Herne Bay. Herne Bay people are law-abiding. They even have a dog-owners’ code of practice which includes:

*Don’t worry if your dog barks for hours when you’re not at home. Your neighbours won’t mind.

*Never repress your dog’s natural instinct to bark hysterically when it sees another dog in the street. Dogs are pack animals and he’s/she’s just being friendly.

*Should your dog snarl at or jump up on a nervous toddler, explain to the parent that the toddler was staring at the dog which is a provocative signal.

*When sitting outside a cafe, encourage your dog to sprawl between the tables or preferably just in front of the door. Other diners will think this cute.

*Cafes with children’s sandpits are ideal locations for dog-owners to have coffee.

*Expandable dog leashes allow your dog the freedom to walk on the outside of the pavement (near all those delicious lamp-post smells) while you walk on the inside checking out the boutiques. Most reasonable people will be happy to pop onto the road to get past.

 As for Mr/Ms Warlike:

*Cats cannot be prevented from roaming over other people’s property. It is in their nature.

*It is against the law to shoot a cat, feral or not.

*‘Trapping and eradicating’ cats is against the law.

 *Judy and I have always had cats. We have yet to find cat excrement on our lawns or anywhere else. Cats are scrupulously clean animals. You must be thinking of dogs. 

*Most people would think re-homing unwanted cats was a rather nice thing to do.

 *Uncared-for cats may well be flea-ridden. Just like uncared-for dogs.

 *I have no idea what disease you are referring to.

  *How many attacks by cats on other animal or human creatures, excluding birds, rats and mice, have you experienced?

Now I’m sure there was something else. Oh yes:

* You really don’t sound like a very nice person.  

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48 Comments:

  1. Hear hear!

  2. The writer suggests putting collars on cats. We obtained a cat recently, the first I’ve looked after in 10 years. I was surprised to learn that it’s now unusual for people to put collars on their cats, with microchipping being the preferred method of identification. I guess this is nicer for the cat, but I was uneasy letting Slinky out for some time early on. These days there’s no obvious way for people to know the cat has a home.

    • The writer suggests putting collars on cats. We obtained a cat recently, the first I’ve looked after in 10 years. I was surprised to learn that it’s now unusual for people to put collars on their cats, with microchipping being the preferred method of identification

      A very good point. Our cats both have collars and tags with their names and phone numbers. If they stray and someone finds them, they can contact us immediately. They don’t have to take the cat to a vet. They’re also microchipped in case the collars get lost.

  3. Cats would be the ideal domestic pet if only they had the decency to go outside when they felt like vomiting.

    • Cats would be the ideal domestic pet if only they had the decency to go outside when they felt like vomiting.

      Don’t be silly. Behind the sofa is so much more convenient.

  4. Brian, I wonder if your Max is the same that visits our house in St Marys Bay? Does he have a unique rib layout?

    • Cats would be the ideal domestic pet if only they had the decency to go outside when they felt like vomiting.

      Max is a great wanderer, but I don’t think he goes that far. He can often be found in Clifton Street or the Salisbury Reserve.

  5. “Cats would be the ideal domestic pet if only they had the decency to go outside when they felt like vomiting”

    Edward…get a dog and train it to eat the cat’s vomit…problem solved.

  6. Edward…get a dog and train it to eat the cat’s vomit…problem solved.

    No taining required for dogs to eat something disgusting. My big,fat,black tom cat enjoys predigested cat food. It is when I step in it, before he has cleaned up,that I get annoyed.

  7. Brian, if it had been a dog, that the duck-owner shot, would you be cool with that?
    If your answer is Yes, then: You really don’t sound like a very nice person.

    • Brian, if it had been a dog, that the duck-owner shot, would you be cool with that? If your answer is Yes, then: You really don’t sound like a very nice person.

      Well, the cat in the story hadn’t done anything when it was shot. The shooter merely thought it might be going to do something. He also claims he didn’t intend to kill the cat, merely frighten it. I would prefer that no animal, including dogs, be shot. But I understand it’s acceptable to shoot dogs worrying sheep and (if I owned a gun) I would shoot a dog attacking a child or someone incapable of fending the dog off. The answer to your question is: it depends on the circumstances. Cats, as I suggested, are approved of when they kill rats and mice. The same instinct leads them to kill birds and they are then disapproved of. Your question seems too generalised to me.

  8. Back in the days when every house had a vegetable patch, cats (I presume) would litter in their own back garden. Our family had a cat, and that’s what it did. I am allergic to cats, so now that I am king in my own castle we do not have one. But naturally all the neighbours do. And the symmetry is complete: I have a vegetable garden and none of them do. So guess who always discovers cat faeces in the vegetables?

    Last year I planted half a dozen rows of garlic, only to discover almost every clove uncovered and flicked onto the path by half a dozen different cats using this area as a communal defecation zone. This year I was tempted to distribute rat traps through the garden after planting it, but all my neighbours love their cats too much to appreciate broken limbs, and neighbours need to be on good terms. I was instead very engaged in clove replanting, excrement removing, and hand washing. The cost of community spirit :-(

    So Brian, your cats may be clean, but they just might be defecating in somebody else’s patch :-)

    Cheers

    • Back in the days when every house had a vegetable patch, cats (I presume) would litter in their own back garden.

      Well Trevor, despite having even considered putting rat-traps in your vege garden, you sound like a decent bloke. And I really like your conclusion: ‘The cost of community spirit.’ If this is really such a hassle, why not put up some netting cover for your veges. You can at least do that. There’s rather less that I can do about the constantly yapping and barking dogs that are a feature of life in my neck of the woods. Perhaps I could take a leaf out of Peter Beadle’s book and shoot every dog on suspicion of being one of the offenders.

  9. Couldn’t agree more !

    We’ve always had cats – they’re quiet, intelligent, bordering on the sublime (although it’s true that they do tend to chunder all over the floor at the drop of a hat).

    @ BE “Don’t worry if your dog barks for hours when you’re not at home. Your neighbours won’t mind.” AND “Dogs belong in the country, not in town.”
    Back in the 1990s, I had my Honours Degree badly disrupted when our neighbour suddenly bought an incredibly loud, incessantly-barking dog. I had an enormous workload to get through and suddenly all my quiet time to study vanished in a flash ! I mean this dog was barking all bloody day – from dawn to dusk. Ended up having to do all of my study late at night and well into the early hours of the morning (thus receiving little sleep). A year of living like that is by no means conducive to good health.

    • Back in the 1990s, I had my Honours Degree badly disrupted when our neighbour suddenly bought an incredibly loud, incessantly-barking dog.

      A oommon feature of irresponsible dog owners is to leave the dog alone all day at home while they go to work. [Very common round here.] The dog barks all day because it is lonely and stressed. It’s not its fault. They don’t hear the dog barking of course. They’re at work!

  10. IGGY POP – A MACHINE FOR LOVING

    Two weeks after my arrival, Fox died
    Just after sunset
    I was stretched out on the bed
    when he approached
    and tried painfully to jump up
    He wagged his tail nervously.

    Since the beginning
    he hadn’t touched his bowl once
    He had lost a lot of weight
    I helped him to settle on my lap
    For a few seconds, he looked at me
    with a curious mixture of exhaustion and apology
    Then, calmed, he closed his eyes
    Two minutes later he gave out his last breath.

    I buried him beside the residence
    at the western extremity of the land
    surrounded by the protective fence
    next to his predecessors
    During the night, a rapid transport from the Central City
    dropped off an identical dog
    They knew the codes and how to work the barrier
    I didn’t have to get up to greet them
    A small white and ginger mongrel came toward me
    wagging its tail
    I gestured to him
    He jumped on the bed and stretched out beside me.

    Love is simple to define
    but it seldom happens in the series of beings
    Through these dogs we pay homage to love
    And to its possibility.

    What is a dog but a machine for loving
    You introduce him to a human being,
    giving him the mission to love
    And however ugly, perverse, deformed or stupid
    this human being might be
    The dog loves him.
    The dog loves him.

    (Hal Cragin, Michel Houellebecq, Iggy Pop)

    • IGGY POP – A MACHINE FOR LOVING

      Wonderful. And thank you. Somewhere, in Shakespeare (or is it Brecht) there’s a dog owner who boasts that, however often he kicks his dog, it still remains faithful. Can anyone help with this?

  11. We have two cats, Zak and Zoe and they were going in my veggie patch. I tried putting loads of bamboo stakes in the veggie patch and this seems to have solved the problem, now it’s the turn of the snails.

    Also, isn’t it true that if you put a jingle bell on your cat’s collar, this will help prevent him from catching birds?

    You can buy hairball formula cat food which helps reduce the vomiting.

    • Also, isn’t it true that if you put a jingle bell on your cat’s collar, this will help prevent him from catching birds?

      It is true. And easier than shooting them.

  12. [I have just cut ‘n’ paste this from the patchfromscratch.co.nz newsletter, hope that’s okay.]

    Cats in the vegetable patch

    Love them or hate them, cats in the vegetable garden are a pest. They scratch out young seedlings and use the garden as a toilet, especially in built up areas where they are looking for a nice bit of loose soil to kick in. Our cat Trixie has reluctantly been part of a number of trial ‘deterrents ’. Here are a few suggestions I have come across;

    · Cayenne pepper sprinkled around plants

    · Sprinkle Napthylene flakes around, they hate the smell of moth balls

    · Grow mint or lavender around or in the vegetable garden

    · Put up a cloche

    · Chicken wire over young seedlings

    · Turn on the irrigation system when you see them

    · Citrus peel in and around the vegetable patch

    · 45cm high raised beds

    My personal favourites are to fill empty spaces and areas where little seedlings are planted with randomly place bamboo stakes, old chopsticks or skewers and weave string through it so they don’t have a free area to kick. Also the good old fashioned water spray. Strategically placed, I can get it in a flash and blitz them. In Trixie’s defence I do have to say, she has been absolutely fantastic at keeping the birds off my crop of figs and has definitely earned her food and board!

  13. I’m a dog person, for all the best reasons that people have dogs (I like to think) …”I just don’t feel dressed going out without a dog” (Drabble. P).
    My dogs have usually been neglected and abused, so they come with ‘baggage’ and a range of anxiety disorders, but that’s okay, I can accommodate that, they come right with about three years of constant reassurance (makes you think about the needs of damaged children, doesn’t it?).

    I’m not a cat person but have always said: If I was going to share my life with a cat it would be a Burmese because they are the more like dogs. I don’t want a cat because they kill birds, and we have planted thousands of trees to attract birds.

    Claude entered my life when I spotted him excavating a rabbit burrow in the paddock. He sashayed across the paddock and entered the house under his own volition, shouldering the dogs aside with hissing contempt, identified the fridge and squawked for food (now on an average of 7 times a day). Somebody had loved this cat, and someone else had dumped him on the riverbed … it happens a lot around here. We have been taken over by our very own ginger environmental disaster unit.

    Claude is a hunter. I put an expandable reflective collar and bell around his neck (knowing that cats can hang themselves if they get hooked on a branch) during the bird nesting season. It didn’t slow him down, he crouches and waits, erupting in a sudden flash to pounce on his prey. He drags rabbits across the paddocks and eats them on the doorstep. He catches rats, mice, stoats, pukekoes, fantails, swallows, sparrows, and lizards. He stalks my chooks. Claude is a killer.

    Claude is fearless. He likes to go on long walks with the dogs, he likes to stalk them for practise. He always approaches strangers and leaps on their lap, never using his claws or dribbling, seldom practising the anal presentation so common to many cats. Claude best enjoys an occupied LazyBoy recliner for relaxation, he has a keen eye for sedentary souls.

    Claude has an abundant paradise to range across, fields stretching away to the mountains with abundant creeks and rivers, but his toilet is the soft lovingly worked soil of our small vege garden. The sprinkler system has been the only effective deterrent, cats don’t like wet paws. Perhaps I should build him a personal outdoor sand box?

    I can be grateful that toxoplasmosis is no threat to me, that fleas can be eradicated by washing all of the bedding, that there is no sandpit in the garden for small children to play in.
    One day this adorable narcissist will die, and we won’t replace him … dogs are so much easier to live with.

  14. Water pistols. That’s the answer for defecating cats. The modern water pistol has a tank and this can be filled with kerosine. A quick shot up the backside of shitting cats works well with no returns.
    Shitting dogs. A friend of mine reckons he stalks defecating dogs and their owners. When he spots the one shitting and the other studying the seagulls, he scoops up the deposit, and follows at a safe distance till the two crims reach home. He then posts the doggy message in the owners letter-box. Which of them is disgusting?

  15. Growing up, there were always pets in our home; either a dog or cats. I felt, really angry, when I read about the shooting of that Queenstown cat. I, actually, emailed the Otago SPCA, telling them they should prosecute. Until about two years ago, our family always owned a cat. Or rather, our cat owned us.

    One thing, about owning a dog: it will never betray you, and it will remain faithful and loyal. (Provided, it is given care and feeding). Dogs have an innate sense of knowing One’s emotional state, being a great comforter when there is turmoil in your life. They help to anchor you, by sensing your state of mind; and they emote in their own comforting canine way. And without any implicit caveats, which humans can sometimes impose. Dogs are 100% honest and unconditional with their affection.

    And as my dad was fond of saying: “The more I know about people, the more I like my dog.”

  16. Being the step-owner of a cat (it’s my partner’s) what I object to is his excruciating habit of waking me up by creeping onto my chest and raking his claws across my chest, on one occasion slicing my nipple. My dog never did that.

    As to odes to dogs, Lord Byron’s lament for his hound is pretty good:

    Near this spot
    Are deposited the remains
    of one
    Who possessed beauty
    Without vanity,
    Strength without insolence,
    Courage without ferocity,
    And all the virtues of Man
    Without his vices.
    This praise, which would be unmeaning flattery
    If inscribed over human ashes,
    Is but a just tribute to the memory of
    Boatswain, a dog
    Who was born at Newfoundland,
    May, 1803,
    And died at Newstead Abbey
    Nov. 18, 1808.

  17. Having been a cat person for all of my 40+ years, we got a pup 2 years ago, and I’m not sure I’ve ever loved an animal as I love her. She expresses her sheer joy at living so effectively that you can’t help but share in it. I defy anyone to watch a dog running at full stretch just for the love of it, and grinning as it runs, and not feel happier…

    (On the other hand, there are some dog owners who should stick to the stuffed poodle in the back window of the car.)

  18. “*Judy and I have always had cats. We have yet to find cat excrement on our lawns or anywhere else. Cats are scrupulously clean animals. You must be thinking of dogs. ”

    Our cats defecate on the lawn. Why? Because there is a stray tom in the neighbourhood and they are marking their territory. Blardy annoying.

    And I do wish people would take up Pip Worliedge’s advice and lock their cats in at night. You have dogs that bark all day? Well, we have a cat (not ours) that screams all night from under our house.

  19. Dogs have Masters .Cats have servants.I dig a latrine for my cats (I have 5 Burmese)and turn it over regularly.They dont have collars as they have had two incidents with them(one got it caught around a limb in a tree and one had it caught in its mouth).They get locked in at night(unless they run from me )
    Mollybygolly possibly has a female on heat under her house.A good case for neutering.

  20. I think PJR is on the right track for responsible cat ownership. Five! Bet he can’t get a word in … serves him right (said with good heart, lest you misconstrue, PJR).

    Gee, I don’t know if feral cat eradication IS against the law Brian … I believe DOC eradicates wild cats as a matter of course (I saw it on TV!). Perhaps they issue themselves a permit?

    Feral cats are routinely shot around the area where I live, but there is a power of difference between a domestic moggy and a feral cat, and the distinction is honoured. Ferals are often black or black tabby with a cougar-like appearance, lean and furtive, and totally shun contact with people. They are truely wild animals because they have been born in the wild, often for several generations. TJ looks nothing like a feral cat.

    Alas, cats have been found to be responsible for smothering sleeping infants by curling up on their faces, and also causing cat-scratch fever implicated in some cases of encephalitis.

    Cats pick up fleas from the terrain where they hunt and mix with other cats, they don’t need to be sick to acquire fleas. Dogs acquire fleas the same way although strangely I’ve never been bitten by a dog flea.

    Cats are common transmitters of toxoplasmosis (coccidian parasite) which is fatal to unborn children (or may cause deformities) and people with immunosuppression. This disease is transmitted via carnivorous ingestion (or by acquiring fleas or lice carrying the parasite) and by a cat scrupulously licking it’s arse and then transmitting the disease via contact with domestic surfaces, and especially via the litter box. Don’t panic if you have a cat, you’ve probably already had a mild dose of toxoplasmosis and just thought you had the flu.

    So much for my lecturette on zoonoses. Apologies in anticipation.
    Here’s something to chew on … one of the least sexy diseases of our species is tooth decay. The first adult who kisses a baby on the lips or tastes the food from a spoon before feeding, gives that child bacterial dental caries … which I believe is ultimately implicated in heart disease. My dental surgeon told me that no child is born with this disease.

  21. i was lucky to be part of a school study on birdlife in our school gully walkway. a night camera was set and it was startling to see the baits- a dead rabbit, eggs and peanut butter- drawing in rats in their masses. at one time, on a fencepost, there were 4 rats vying for the peanut butter smeared on the top of the post.there was 1 possum, and there rats running down trees like they were on flat ground. the night came alive with rats, as filmed on the camera, triggered by movement.in daylight you would never know they were there on the much used walkway. i put baited ink track tracers in the trees and rats left loads of prints. the rats eat chicks and eggs. we were hopeful the planted native trees would attract back native birds but with the rats (possums already trapped)there is no hope of that.
    anyway, i phoned rat research expert john innes at landcare and he said that our inner city gullies are actually faring better with bird breeding as domestic cats are keeping the rat population down, thereby giving bird eggs and chicks a chance. he said, unfortunately for our gully out of town, we haven’t got the cats to help in rat control which impacts heavily on the breeding of native birds. according to john innes, rats are absolutely rife across the country and judging by our footage it is fact.

  22. My cats have presented me with 7 rats so far this year.A record for my area.

  23. cats in kiwi areas would not be good/nor dogs.stoats are lethal – but rats are unseen bird killers and all around us. our 2 cats have killed lots of young rats and caused drama one night when one of them brought a giant live rat into our daughter’s bedroom.with the screaming i thought there was a two legged intruder then saw the rat run, watched by 2 fascinated cats, into our son’s room.he evacuated.put rosie, the jack russell, in and she killed it.

  24. Some points that should be made.

    If you don a pair of odd looking shorts and lurch around the countryside dripping sweat and snorting like the stag at bay, you can hardly be surprised if a dog mistakes you for meat on the hoof and acts accordingly.

    As for those who shoot animals for ‘sport’ I doubt whether they are very nice people either.

    Cats also shove their noses into other cats’ bottoms and having lulled the other cat into a false sense of security (or ecstasy) gives it a quick slash across the nose with razor sharp claws.

    It emulates human behaviour. The faithful servile male grovelling before the female who after giving him a bit of encouragement lands him a metaphorical slash across the nose.

  25. “It emulates human behaviour. The faithful servile male grovelling before the female who after giving him a bit of encouragement lands him a metaphorical slash across the nose.”

    Ben, I think you need to change your social circle if that reflects your experience of human behaviour.

  26. Don, I speak in general not specific terms. As PG Wodehouse, through Bertie Wooster said, words to the effect, if you see a man going under for the third time, there will be a woman behind him pushing him down.

  27. Gotcha. Although I always preferred the anonymous, but undeniably true: Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

  28. The Queenstown guy who shot the cat was raising Peking ducks. How precious can they be when they were fated to be served up on a lazy susan at the local chinese restaurants? Same as with the cat.

    • The Queenstown guy who shot the cat was raising Peking ducks. How precious can they be when they were fated to be served up on a lazy susan at the local chinese restaurants? Same as with the cat.

      I understand they’re Pekin ducks, not Peking ducks for eating.

  29. Cats are guardians of the Underworld and custodians of the sun throughout the night – which is why, according to the ancient Egyptians, their eyes glow so brightly if you shine a light on them in the dark.

    Little Toot, if the time ever comes when you realize you do want another really dog-like cat, try a Bengal.

    While I am not at all a dog person and very much a cat person, I must admit a dog’s love of life is touching, commendable and enviable. On the other hand it’s the composure and indifference of cats that draws me to them.

    If anyone shot my cat I would retaliate as if they had shot one of my beloved humans. Unfortunately I doubt a judge would allow both scenarios to be equally mitigating circumstances.

  30. Rosie, ever since she was just a few months old, refuses to shit on the footpath and always scampers off to some long grass, preferably down a bank. She’s actually better toilet-trained than her best friend Lilly.

    Slightly, but only slightly up the level from insouciant lead-straining dog-shitting owners are the ones who do use a poo bag but drop it by the side of the road or track.

  31. It occurs to me in the light of your stated athletic prowess, you should hold yourself in readiness for the call from the Commonwealth Games team given the possibilty that others will pull out.

    i am sure you will enjoy the experience of being chased through the Delhi streets by a pack of feral dogs. it owuld enhance your personal best considerably. You could take Merv with you as your trainer and supplier of punctuation.

  32. When Brian is feeling a bit tired of this blog site he should allow Judy to write an article on misconceptions about the use of the humble comma. That would give Brian a long breather and his wife would get more than 15 minutes of fame. I’m serious……………….lets get this matter over and done with.

    • When Brian is feeling a bit tired of this blog site he should allow Judy to write an article on misconceptions about the use of the humble comma.

      Hmmm… Brian and Judy are equally well versed on matters of syntax, grammar and punctuation. (Though Judy knows a lot more about linguistics.) However, I quite like the idea of a long breather. (Note the comma after ‘however’.)

  33. People who don’t like cats, just don’t like the thought that another creature can be more intelligent than them. It’s a form of insecurity.

    People who don’t like dogs, just don’t like the thought that another creature can be more virtuous ,brave and noble than them. That’s another form of insecurity.

    By the same token, people who don’t like rabbits are sexually challenged and people who don’t like parakeets lack social skills and don’t like being put in the shade.

    It’s as simple as that.

  34. @Ed’n’Ben:

    I’ll read anyone’s dissertation as to why commas aren’t redundant decorative accoutrements to
    sentence structure. That, they not only breath cadence into words, they also promote a formicatory linearity to written-expression. Naysayers, argue the polar opposite.

    Some of you want to listen to Cath-and-Kim and Paul Hogan, recite Macbeth. Fine. But I’ll opt for Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons, thanks.

    And I, never, employ the non-sequiturial predicated argument, by referencing “privilege” and “superiority”. Nor, the Presumptive and Ad hominem, either.

    For the umpteenth time: Enough!

    • I’ll read anyone’s dissertation as to why commas aren’t redundant decorative accoutrements to sentence structure. That, they not only breath cadence into words, they also promote a formicatory linearity to written-expression. Naysayers, argue the polar opposite.

      I was determined not to get into this, Merv, but I’m going to have the last word. It isn’t intended to suggest that you’ve lost the battle, since I haven’t really followed much of it, but if you want to talk about commas, you can’t just spray them around as if there were no tomorrow. So –

      ‘That, they not only ….’ What’s this comma for? ‘Nayayers, argue the…’ What’s this comma for? ‘… and Paul Hogan, recite Macbeth.’ What’s this comma for? ‘And I, never, employ…’ What are these commas for? ‘Nor, the Presumptive and Ad hominem, either.’ What are these commas for?

      Or were you making an ironic point – or comma?

      This correspondence is now closed. No winner has been declared.

  35. No-one has mentioned this point, so may I just add – regardless of whether it’s cat poo or dog poo – when it’s lurking in your long grass and gets splattered all over the face of an unsuspecting lawnmowing guy by his weedeater… it’s all S##T!!!

    • No-one has mentioned this point, so may I just add – regardless of whether it’s cat poo or dog poo – when it’s lurking in your long grass and gets splattered all over the face of an unsuspecting lawnmowing guy by his weedeater… it’s all S##T!!!

      The world is indeed a dreadful place. I suggest you all take a leaf out of Michael Jackson’s book and get yourselves nice, safe, cat-and-dog-poo-free plastic bubbles to live in.