Flipside: Like cats and dogs

By RUTHIE BLUM LEIBOWITZ
August 30, 2007 13:27
4 minute read.

"If you don't tie up your dog," a woman threatens, "I'm calling the police." She is frantic. Frazzled by the fact that one of her cats is afraid to come out of the tree he has climbed to escape the clutches of the barking pup below. Fuming that nothing in her life ever goes smoothly. Furious at the feeling that, as she has suspected all along, the world really is working against her, full force. And now this. The nerve of that neighbor, to let her aggressive animal loose like that! Free to terrorize any innocent feline in the vicinity. Where are the cops when you need them? Not here, that's for sure. Though they would be in a flash if she'd failed to furnish her car with the required regional parking sticker. She ought to know, since she spent her first day as a resident on this block across town paying ransom on her impounded Passat, rather than unpacking. But did any of the authorities bother even arriving on the scene when those brats downstairs threw a deafening graduation party? Or when the couple above celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary with an all-night bash and barbecue? You bet they didn't. But what else is new? Not being able to count on anybody is the story of her life. Anybody but the cats, that is. There's true loyalty for you. Not to mention grooming. So clean and quiet, cats are. And graceful. None of that slobbering and sniffing characteristic of canines. Or of their owners, for that matter. Like this idiotic one over here. Making some pathetic attempt at persuading her pet to pull himself away from his perch at the base of the tree and follow her home. As though he could ever shed his nature. Or she hers. It's sickening, really. And the height of hutzpa. If she's too stupid to know that the law requires dogs be leashed, surely she can read the sign that spells it out in so many words. With an illustration, to boot. But clearly she's too lazy to bother with such irritations. Which shouldn't be surprising, since she appears to be as slothful and slovenly as her mangy mutt. She ought to be ashamed of herself. But she isn't, of course. She's got a husband she can hide behind, after all. Someone she can parade around and be protected by. Like a slave and a master all rolled into one. Like a dog. "SORRY," A WOMAN apologizes. "I didn't realize it was your cat." She is frantic. Frazzled by the fact that her dog won't budge from his perch at the base of a tree - where a cat is cowering from his clutches - and finish his business so she can go back home. Fuming that nothing in her life ever goes smoothly. Furious at the feeling that, as she has suspected all along, the world really is working against her, full force. And now this. The nerve of that neighbor to let her aggressions loose like that! Threatening to call the cops. As though this were a crime scene rather than a common situation certain to be resolved within minutes at most. Does she even have an inkling of what caring for a canine entails? Of course she doesn't. Why would she? She never has to leave the comfort of her apartment to take her cats out for a walk in rain or hamsin. She needs only to leave a litter basket out for the unbearable beasts. Then she can go away whenever and for as long as she likes without having to make any arrangements. And she never has to run around searching for the leash one or another of her family members misplaced. In fact, she clearly doesn't have a family, so that's not a problem either. No kids to worry about. No husband to please. Free as a bird. Or as her cat in that tree. A lady with more cats than she can count. A sad-sack single with no life. But conniving, too, like the Cat Woman in Batman. Which is why she can stand there, full of indignation and insensitivity - all high and mighty and employing her best literary Hebrew - cloaking herself in the letter of the law. Pretty damned convenient, isn't it, that she's allowed to let her fancy felines roam recklessly around, taunting their restrained counterparts without penalty? Hissing at and trying to scratch out the eyes of all the poor puppies prevented by their leashes from running away or fighting back. Sweet-natured, loving, loyal creatures who offer as much affection as they seek. Not like cats, who concern themselves more with the sheen of their fur than the state of their owners' souls. No wonder a woman like her surrounds herself with them. No wonder she opts for attack over appeasement. It's sickening, really. And the height of hutzpa. If she's too stupid to know that a neighborly approach is superior to an aggressive one, surely she can read the writing on the wall that spells it out in so many words. With an illustration, to boot. One that would indicate why nobody invites her in for a chat over coffee. But clearly she's too haughty to bother with such lowly concerns. Which shouldn't be surprising, since she appears to be as snobby and self-satisfied as her creepy cats. She ought to be ashamed of herself. But she isn't, of course. She's got a municipal regulation she can hide behind, after all. Something she can parade around and be protected by. Like a slave and a master all rolled into one. Like a cat. ruthie@jpost.com


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