Thursday, December 01, 2005

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

As if we needed further proof that dogs – and my neighbors – are stupid, when I opened the door to take out the trash yesterday, the dog from across the hall ran into my apartment and went after Radish.

Now, before anyone panics, this dog is considerably smaller than my cat. He's cuter than a Chihuahua, but still basically a glorified rat. And Radish is a Fearsome Jungle Cat. The dog did not know who he was messing with.

Or maybe he did. Because as pointy as Radish is, he has never encountered another animal before in his life, except for his sister, who I doubt he remembers, and the other pets in cages and carriers when he went to get tutored. While I'm sure he could have kicked the dog's ass in a fight, he wisely chose to run. He got cornered once, hissed and wailed his way out of it, then fled towards the back of the apartment and, after another brief tussle, jumped onto the windowsill in the office and continued to hiss at the dog, who couldn't get up there on his stubby little legs. I've never before heard Radish make the noises he was making. The hissing was one thing, but the screaming was new to me, and sounded more like a sound that would be dubbed into a movie to indicate "cat" than one that would actually come out of my kitten.

I, meanwhile, ineffectually yelled "Hey!" over and over again, as if that would scare the dog more than Radish's claws. My instinct was to grab the cat to keep him safe, but that surely would have left me bloody. In retrospect I suppose going for the dog would have been wiser. I was barefoot, so kicking the tiny beast was out. I just followed them around yelling "Hey."

I have no idea where the owner of the rat was at this point, as I'd followed the pair into the other room. Finally, as the dog was deciding to leave Radish alone and explore the rest of the apartment, I heard a questioning response from the other room. "Get your dog out of my apartment!" I yelled back. I closed the office door on Radish and headed out to find the dog exploring the kitchen, and an older man I'd never seen before standing in the entryway making useless little kissing sounds at it. "Pick it up and take it out," I growled. He did, though with little apparent sense of why I was so upset.

I'd love to say that Radish was unfazed by the whole thing, but for our take-it-in-stride boy he was pretty riled up. I returned to the office to find him on top of the hutch on my desk, hissing and making a low growling noise. He also let me pet him, which was an odd contradiction. I put wet food (a sporadic treat) out for him and he didn't come running immediately. Still, I think it's safe to say that I was far more shaken by the whole thing than the cat.

When I'd calmed down, I went to the dog's apartment. A woman I quite like answered the door, and I reminded her that the building has a strict policy on dogs being leashed in public areas. She seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. "Your dog just ran into my apartment and attacked my cat." "Oh!" She explained that her father was visiting and must have let the dog out when he took out the trash. She was so nice that I began to feel a little silly, and changed my approach: "The cat's actually bigger than the dog, and I don't want your dog to get hurt." She laughed and said thank you and I went on my way.

Putting the pieces together later, I realize that the visiting father must have gone down the hall to the trash chute, leaving the dog in the hall (perhaps not even knowing it had gotten out) sniffing at my door. This explains his delay in arriving on the scene, and his calm befuddlement – he had actually missed the entire fight. He then clearly hadn't told his daughter, not realizing it had been such a dramatic incident (though cat or no cat, I don't necessarily want other people's rat dogs in my apartment!), so she had no idea what I was talking about.

Ah, city living. By the time I got home from work, Radish seemed to have forgotten the whole thing...though he does seem a little warier of the door than he used to be, and that's not a bad thing. He was also very affectionate last night, so maybe we should traumatize him more often.

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