Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cats & Dogs

    Gayle likes cats more than dogs.  She loves Dakota, but doesn’t like him staring at her for approval . It’s funny to watch her avoid eye contact with Dakota when he stares at her. 

            Dakota is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and they stare a lot.  They also like to herd other creatures. My brother had a dog that couldn’t resist herding anything “herdable.”   Tom has a pond on his property and it’s loaded with ducks and fish of all sizes.  His dog would swim in the pond herding the ducks.  When the ducks got tired of being herded, they would leave and the dog would resort to herding schools of small fish.

            Dogs look to their masters for approval and affection.  I think that’s one reason men like dogs.  Maybe it’s why men like women. 

            Cats don’t seem to need much of anything. They can take you or leave you.  They’re an independent lot. Maybe that’s why women like cats …and men. 

            Cats think they own you.  The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats and the cats loved it and took advantage of it. Those ancient cats passed this mindset down through the generations by word of mouth.

A cat will come to you, but on its own terms and in its own time.  I have a cat that actually comes when I call her. But only when she wants to climb on my lap or get a snack. I like that cat.  You can find me with my dog on one side and my cat on the other.  They stare at each other.  Have you ever tried to stare down a cat?  Those little suckers look right through you and never blink.  I think our cat can hypnotize our dog.

            Cats are not pack animals.  In nature they hunt alone and are not found in packs like wolves, coyotes, and other canines.  African lions are different.  Lions in Africa are unusually social.  They live in “prides” or small groups with lots of lionesses.  That keeps them home a lot.  But that’s not typical of cats generally. Most tomcats are of the “hit and run” persuasion.

            We have large cats here in the mountains.  Mountain lions have become a problem and have been killing goats, sheep, dogs and other animals in the area. These are 200 pounders.  A mountain lion grabbed my neighbor’s cat twenty feet from him and was gone before he could react.  This was just across the street from us.  

My little cat tried to kill me once.  She wasn’t hungry and I don’t look at all like Bambi, so it wasn’t pre-meditated, as far as I can tell. 

            We were in the process of moving to Quincy and had cleaned out our house in Discovery Bay.  The truck was loaded, but I couldn’t catch the cat. At one point I had the cat cornered and grabbed her.  She broke loose and I grabbed her tail.  That was a big mistake.  She spun around and bit my hand right to the bone. I finally caught her and we drove the four or five hours to Quincy

            By the time I got to Quincy my hand looked like a football. I was talked into going to the hospital, where they gave me penicillin shots, an I V, and far too much sympathy.  Evidently cat bites are not a good thing. 

            Aside from being the victim of an attempted homicide by a member of my own household, I have a soft spot for animals that seems to grow the older I get. 

            Sorry - I have to end this article. My dog is staring at me and I have to figure out what he wants.   Uh oh…My wife is staring at me too.  I think I’m about to be “herded.”  Gotta go.


  1. Damn it Ralph, send a copy of this on to AARP along with some of your other fine work. You may get a job with them. They don't have anything like this and their readers would enjoy your artistic story telling. I enjoyed this very much.
    Your ole pal,
    Jim Loar

    1. Jim - Thanks. AARP is losing a lot of members due to their political orientation, but there are a number of organizations that cater to our demographic. Maybe I should explore this. I appreciate your encouragement.

  2. I like your analyzation of cats and dogs.

    I have to agree; most men prefer dogs over cats. Maybe because cats are too independent? And women are partial to cats, because they are so warm and cuddly?

    Just out of curiosity, was the cat that attacked you a male? Just asking. tee hee

    I happen to be a lover of both cats and dogs. I have had cats that behave similar to dogs, in that they come when called, fetch, and yes stare.

    I find the staring usually comes if the master is eating, or the animal wished it was eating.

    When all is said and done, how would we ever get along without our animals.

    1. Sharon - The cat that nailed me was a female. Do you think that could be "karma?"

  3. We once owned a cat! For 19 years I sneezed daily, often for long periods of time.

    One day the cat died. I quit sneezing!!!!

    I am either a "slow learner" or cats are "vindictive"!

    I have yet to meet a cat that I find charming or worth snuggling with!

    1. Ed - Gayle is allergic to our cat. I think I may be too, but I like the little sucker, even though she tried to kill me.