We've all seen them-videos or photos of tigers being friends with something it would normally eat, a dog nursing a litter of kittens, chimpanzees adopting a wolf. Okay, perhaps not the last one, but you get what I mean. Everywhere there are animals defying what we would call "nature" and doing some of the most amazing, and really, selfless acts. I'm not about to claim that my animals are performing selfless acts-well, okay they are pretty forgiving and loving creatures-but that's not where I'm going with this. My animals aren't protecting helpless baby animals or anything to that scale, but they certainly seem to be confused as to what kind of animal they are. Let's start with Rufio.
Rufio, a Siberian kitten by birth, but part dog in heart. How many cats have you seen just lie down in the middle of the floor and take a nap, the way a dog would? I'm sure it happens, but I don't think it's that common. Just yesterday I was standing in the kitchen washing the dishes and there was little Rufio, spread out behind my feet having a snooze. He stayed there the whole time I was washing too. Most cats will perch somewhere and watch you suspiciously or maybe even be hiding. There aren't many I know that will, what we call in the dog world, snoopervise. Cats don't snoopervise, they demand or disappear. He also has taken to sleeping and wrestling with Otis and just this morning Rufio was grooming Otis's head. Okay, that last behavior is a bit more cat-like, but the way he wrestles with Otis is very dog-like. Speaking of Otis, let us explore his confused mammal tendency next.
Otis, French Bulldog by birth and pig in heart. There's no other way to describe it, but that Otis sometimes forgets he's a dog and takes on piggy qualities. I'm not just talking the snorting. Of course he snorts, he's a Bull breed. It's his infatuation with mud. No matter where he is and where the mud is, Otis will find it. He gets this "seek and destroy" strut on and goes off charging as fast as his little stumpy legs will carry him to his messy victim. Once sed victim has been located, Otis rushes in face first and disappears up to his pointy ears in mud. His mouth is constantly open so he can get as much mud in as fast as possible and his snorting reaches peak levels. He rolls his head about in it, mouth open snorting happily. He gets so invested that his little face wrinkles get packed with mud which Mama gets to later dislodge. There's no stopping him once mud has been spotted. The only thing that may deter him is a squeaky cupcake and that only works sometimes. Unlike Hermione, who thinks mud is the devil, Otis is in "hog Heaven" when a mud hole is to be found.
So, if Hermione isn't a pig, then what is she?
Well, I'm not entirely sure. Hermione hasn't exactly crossed species lines as much as declared herself royalty. I suppose in a way, this is a a sort of identity crisis as well, but she definitely doesn't think of herself as anything but a precious princess who should be adored. She prances around and always bosses the other animals, cat/dog dog/pig and all. If someone is in the bed she wants, she tells them to shove off and they better not even think about sharing her water bowl with her. She wouldn't want their commoner's saliva to mix with hers. She likes to be groomed and pampered and flitters about to show off her flowing locks. She's most certainly Daddy's princess and everyone else has to wait until she's done for their turn to cuddle with him. She is definitely your first class royal which also translates to royal pain in the...
To recap: We have a cat who think he's a dog, a French Bulldog who thinks he's a pig and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who thinks she's a princess. Where does that leave the two big dogs?
Oh, don't you worry: they are confused too
Roscoe, a Black Labrador by birth, a bear in heart. If you ever passed by my front door when Roscoe is in full play mode, you would think that I had a rabid bear trapped in my living room. Roscoe is a good sized Lab, weighing in at 30 kilograms, but the sounds he makes belie his stature. He and Otis like to wrestle-or rather, Otis likes to wrestle with Roscoe and Roscoe puts up with it because he's a good sport-and when the two of them get going, Roscoe rolls around on his back, growling his head off. Maybe "growling" isn't quite the word. It's this strange cross between growling...well, growling and bear noises. Have you ever watched those TV documentaries that usually end in being sad because one animal or another they are following ends up dying? Well, usually before the dying part they will show bear cubs playing. If you've ever heard those cubs playing, then you know exactly what Roscoe sounds like when he's lying flat on his back, allowing our French Bulldog/pig to chew on his face. I've heard other dogs make similar noises. In fact, Nala can really get a good growl going when she's battling with the French Pig, but I've never heard anyone get anywhere near Roscoe's likeness to bear sounds; unless they are really a bear, of course.
Nala, Yellow Labrador cross Golden Retriever by birth, laundry hamper in heart. As I mentioned, Nala can make (sort of) bear noises, but her confusion does not lie in trans-species relations. Nala has taken on characteristics of a more inanimate object. That's right: Nala thinks she's a laundry hamper. I don't know what it is about socks, underwear or pieces of clothing in that general size range, but whatever it is, Nala feels it is her job to swallow them down whole. I discovered this clever little trick when I had to pull one of the fleece tugs I made from half way down her throat. I thought this habit only pertained to fleece tuggies, so I put them all away in a bin so that they are only played with under very strict supervision. I think she was trying to keep Otis, the French Pig, from getting the toy. A slightly alarming behavior and I thought I had solved the issue. Unbeknownst to me, Nala thought that she should help with all of the laundry. Again, this was discovered in a highly unsettling fashion. This time, I did not have the pleasure of yanking the victim from down her gullet. Oh, no. I had the joy of meeting it after she had already "disposed" of it. Nala's first real victim was a pair of my underwear that she swallowed whole and then puked up two days later. I was made aware of their reappearance when I stepped firmly on to a pile of something slimy and warm. And yes, I was in bare feet.
Now, of course this confusion is slightly more dangerous than thinking you are a dog when in fact you are a cat and so I started taking heavy precautions. All worn clothes went into a closed and latched hamper, but I am human and sometimes when I am very sleepy I throw socks on the floor before bed instead of locking them in the real laundry hamper. She's managed to eat two more socks and promptly vomit them up. I've also pulled another from her mouth. I'm not entirely sure where this behavior comes from, but obviously we have to work on convincing Nala she's a dog and not a laundry storage unit.
All of these identity crises get very confusing for me. Half the time I don't even call them by the right names anymore. How many households can say they have a Cat/Dog, French Pig, Dog/Bear, Laundry Dog and a princess?