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australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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Canine-Feline Relations
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Kylie the Kitty had quite a weekend, and I feel really badly about it. My parents had to put their 18-year-old cat Shady and 15-year-old black lab Jente to sleep in early January, leaving the 13-year-old sweet teddy-bear mutt Cody & the still-puppy-wild 6-year-old yellow lab Tule as the only animals. My mom would like to get another cat, but since we know Tule is such a wild one, my mom requested I bring Kylie when I visited this past weekend as a "test" since at least we knew Kylie can hold her own against other animals from her various growling and pouncing performances when she lived there for a year in 1997.

Well, Tule was even worse than we ever expected! :( She had been wild but okay with Shady, but Shady was there first when Tule was a puppy. Since Kylie was an "intruder" and a cat, Tule wouldn't shut up barking, which she usually doesn't do, nor would she leave poor Kylie alone! I drove up Friday night, shutting Kylie with her litter box, bed, food & water in the utility room which was her "safe place" from when she lived there, then I heard my mom in the morning talking to Kylie before the dogs came in from the garage. What I heard next was the worst barking & hissing racket I have ever heard, with my mom yelling, since Tule ran right in to the utility room, lunged at Kylie trying to bite her, and bit my mom's arm as she tried to stop this mess! I ran out immediately to comfort Kylie, and my mom shut Tule in their bedroom while my mom got the shock collar and remote for Tule. Yes, this dog is so badly behaved even after copious training that the obedience expert recommended the shock collar!

I took Kylie out to the couch and had her sitting on my lap as calmly as possible, then seemingly prepared with the shock collar, my mom let Tule out of the bedroom. I had a good hold of Kylie on my lap, thinking I could protect her, but Tule ran into the room, lunged at Kylie on my lap, with mouth open so wide like she was trying to bite off Kylie's whole head! My mom had to crank up the power on the shocks to get Tule to pay attention at all! Needless to say, Kylie took off for her hiding spot behind the washing machine, deeply gouging my left inner thigh and right hand, plus getting a scratch in near Tule's eye on her way. It took quite awhile for my thigh to stop bleeding until I could put antibacterial cream on it. I've never had bruising from a scratch before, and it still hurts!

Ah, but the story does not end there! After a frantic search throughout the house when Kylie had hidden underneath one of the beds, we left Kylie in the utility room where she felt safe for the afternoon, then the dogs were fed & in the garage before we went out to dinner, so we shut the bedroom doors so Kylie could have the entire house at her disposal. When we drove back from dinner, we saw her sitting in the kitchen window, so that was good. She had run back to the utility room before we got inside, and we were able to have her on laps out in the living room for the evening, but she never was relaxed enough to purr.

Since the evening had gone well enough, we decided to let her have the whole house again while we were at church and brunch Sunday morning. Unfortunately my mom forgot and left their bedroom door open. We got back home, searched the entire house for a good half hour, never finding Kylie anywhere, and we knew she could not have left the house by herself. Since the beds & closets were empty of kitties, we suspected that maybe she was somehow inside the massive headboard-bookcase unit in my parents' bedroom. Often if I call her frantically enough when she's hiding, Kylie will eventually meow back, giving herself away, but this wasn't working this time, so we used the last resort of knowing Tule would be able to sniff her out. With shock collar back on and supervised by all humans available, we let Tule in the house, so she sniffed everywhere, ending up at the furniture we suspected. Frantic dog sniffing brought out the Kylie growl that only appears around other animals, so we knew she was indeed there...but how the heck were we going to get her out???

We hoped that maybe with the dogs safely outside, Kylie would eventually come out on her own, saving us the trouble of disassembly, but 6 HOURS later that had still not happened, so my mom started cleaning off the shelves, vacuuming everything (which still didn't flush Kylie out and she HATES vacuums!), etc, then my dad & I started taking the unit apart. We got the one tower bookcase off the side so we could actually peek behind the headboard portion with a flashlight, and there she was, finally meowing back at me when she saw my face. I went to the other side, and my dad poked her with the duster pole until she came around the corner and I picked her up...whew! She stayed behind the washing machine for the rest of the afternoon until we left for the 3-hour drive back in the nasty pouring down rain. Between the dust behind the washing machine and the dust behind the headboard, poor solid-black Kylie looked very gray! Boy does she need a bath!

To add insult to injury, on the drive back, only 10 minutes from home, poor Kylie had to throw up, conveniently in her carrier box on the towel, so I could remove the towel to carry her into the house. As soon as I had the car unloaded, she was purring already, obviously glad to be home, and thankfully not blaming me for such a horribly stressful weekend!
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