Dog Talk: When the neighbour's dog feuds with Target the cat


Jyn and I are mates. When I step outside, she woofs to invite me over. When I cross the street, she wags her tail and acts as if I’m her best friend in the entire universe.

To complete the royal welcome, she sticks her long nose through the gate so I reach in to pet her.

My friend is a mixed-ancestry mongrel with super long legs, a giant nose, sweetly floppy ears, and Disney-style eyes. She looks like she has a large dollop of greyhound in her but the rest is a mystery.

Our neighbour had a sticky start in life, but this sweet rescue dog lucked out twice. First she was picked up by a rescuer and then she was adopted by our neighbour. So today, she lives a happy life of leisure and luxury with her own garden, homecooked meals, and lots of indoor time with her family.

Jyn is sociable so she loves her cuddles but she’s also a nut for rings. When we have completed our first set of pats and compliments, she inspects my hands. She always goes straight to her favourite, a fine chain ring that my mum gifted to me.

Jyn at the gate. Photos: Ellen WhyteJyn at the gate. Photos: Ellen Whyte

Jyn runs her teeth over the gold and then, super gently, rubs her damp nose into my hand before gently nipping my fingers and asking to have her back rubbed.

We love our chats but Jyn and I are divided on one matter: Cats. I am ruled by them whereas Jyn is firm in her conviction that cats exist so that dogs can chase them.

Don’t get me wrong: my friend is not mean; cats are woofed and pounced at but never bitten. The fact that Jyn is all show and no teeth was proven by our mutual neighbour Charlie.

Macho, tough and loaded with street smarts, Charlie would shortcut through Jyn's garden often. The dog would rush and pounce, stopping inches short of the old cat with a breathy woofy challenge – and Charlie would promptly box her nose.

Jyn knew it but it didn't stop her. Several times a week, Charlie would smack her solidly in the chops.

There were times even when Jyn would spot Charlie walking past the gate, stick her nose through it, woof and then yelp as Charlie southpawed her.

As for my Target, he would stand in front of her gate, jeering in the knowledge that Jyn could do no more than bark. No matter how often I scolded him, he’d go over to tease my poor friend. Really, not my cat’s finest hour.

Today, Charlie lives in Melaka, lording it over a very pretty garden territory of his own. And thanks to a resident python who lives down the street, our Target now confines his walks to our own garden.

So Jyn is master of her domain at last. However, Jyn and Target have managed to maintain their feud.

When my pet hears Jyn woof a hello at me, or sees us talk, Target acts out a tragedy of betrayal that rivals Korean drama. My jealous cat also sulks, giving me a dramatic Back of Disrespect.

He’s even gotten Tic Tac involved. If I go to put the rubbish out and pause for a gossip with Jyn, our little girl stands at the window, meowing pitifully. If I take too long to come home, she ups her game by going onto the roof. She stands up there, tail stiff with annoyance, scolding.

Thanks to this, I think I know how Ancient Egyptian Bastet worshippers felt: Being chastised by a tiny furry from on high is quite an experience.

Jyn sees the cat politics and gives as good as she gets. She woofs challenges at them and puts a paw on my wrist – while throwing a triumphant grin at the fuming cats. It’s a power move that drives them crazy.

As you might imagine, the cats and dog are entrenched in their feud. However, recently a new player entered the scene.

Our neighbour’s very sweet dark Siamese, Teddy, has a habit of sneaking outside. As most of our street is a typical suburban concrete jungle, he heads straight for our garden.

We weren’t aware of the intruder until Target strolled out one morning and came face to face with Teddy. Our cat shrieked a battle cry and Teddy, normally a total sweetie who rolls over for a tummy rub, stiffened into a pillar of defiance.

It took both Tom and I to escort Target inside and Teddy out. But Teddy has made persistent efforts to invade.

Teddy sneaking through Target's garden. Teddy sneaking through Target's garden.

So a few days ago, Target peered out of the window and stiffened. Recognising a burgeoning act of war, I got up to see Teddy strolling down the road.

The naughty Siamese was definitely on the strut, bouncing along on elegant tiptoe with calm confidence. I’m certain he knew that Target was watching him.

What Teddy did not see was Jyn. The dog got to her paws stealthily, crept up to her gate, and then, in complete silence, reared up, stuck her nose through it and barked.

Poor Teddy jumped three feet in the air, startled into bushy-tailed fright.

Seeing Teddy streak home, Target stood down. His hackles smoothed and when I petted him, he headbutted me and then stomped to the kitchen to demand a comfort treat.

I lingered to watch and saw Jyn snort with glee. She looked over at me, dipping her ears and wagging her tail in unabashed triumph. When I waved at her, she danced off, preening with pride.

Jyn is having a fine time and for once, Target is delighted that this dog is having her day.


ADOPT ME

Honey was born early March 2022, so she’s a gentle and affectionate Pisces. She’s also an attention-seeker and energetic. As she’s still a big puppy, she needs time and training. Honey is healthy and vaccinated and will soon be old enough for spaying. Interested adopters please call SPCA Penang at 04-281 6559 or visit us at Jalan Jeti Jelutong 11600 Penang or go to https://spca-penang.net.

Honey for adoption. Photo: SPCA Penang/Lily LengHoney for adoption. Photo: SPCA Penang/Lily Leng

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