IN THE DOMAIN OF CATS AND DOGS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever it is raining very heavily it is proverbially described as “it is raining cats and dogs”! I don’t know how this came into usage; it must have reasons as otherwise no language can have a term in continuous usage.

Again to describe a sort of enmity between the two, it used to be termed as “they behave like cat and dog”! This I have seen a few years ago that when a dog sees a cat, it will chase like anything and the cat will just get into some place where the dog cannot lay its hands (legs?) on it!

These two domestic pet animals have fascinated me quite a lot since my childhood.

 

 

Cats have been domesticated (tame) for nearly 10,000 years. They are currently the most popular pets in the world. Their origin is probably the African Wildcat Felis silvestris lybica.

Cats were probably first kept because they ate mice, and this is still their main ‘job’ in farms throughout the world. Later they were kept because they are friendly and good companions.

A young cat is called a kitten. Cats are sometimes called kitty or pussycat

Domestic cats are found in short-hair and longhair breeds. Cats which are not specific breeds can be referred to as ‘domestic short hair’ (DSH) or ‘domestic longhair’ (DLH).

There are small cats in most parts of the world, such as the lynx in northern Europe. .

In the past, people kept cats because the cats hunted and ate mice, rats, and insects. The oldest evidence of cats kept as pets is from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, around 7500 BC.

Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as Gods, and often mummified them so they could be with their owners “for all of eternity”. (They also mummified mice so the cats would have something to eat in the afterlife.) Today, people often keep cats as pets, but there are also cats that live without being cared for by people. These kinds of cats are called “feral cats”.

Proper feeding will make a cat live much longer compared to hunting or being fed table scraps. Not correctly feeding a cat can lead to problems.

Cats cannot taste sweet foods (with sugar) because of a mutation (change) in their ancestors which removed the ability to taste sweet things.

Cats walk very precisely. Unlike most mammals, when cats walk, they use a “pacing” gait; that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side.  As a walk speeds up into a trot, a cat’s gait will change to be a “diagonal” gait, similar to that of most other mammals: the diagonally opposite hind and forelegs will move at the same time. Most cats have five claws on their front paws, and four on their rear paws. On the inside of the front paws there is something which looks like a sixth “finger”.

Behavior

The stripes on this standard tabby cat help it hide in long grass and bushes. It’s a kind of camouflage.

Cats are active carnivores, meaning they hunt live prey. Their main prey is small mammals (like mice). They will also stalk, and sometimes kill and eat, birds. Cats eat a wide variety of prey, including insects, and seem especially to like house flies and bluebottles. Their main method of hunting is stalk and pounce.

While dogs have great stamina and will chase prey over long distances, cats are extremely fast, but only over short distances. The basic cat coat coloring, tabby gives it good camouflage in grass and woodland. The cat creeps towards a chosen victim, keeping its body flat and near to the ground so that it cannot be seen easily, until it is close enough for a rapid dash or pounce. Cats, especially kittens, practice these instinctive behaviors in play with each other or on small toys.

 

Cats are quiet and well-behaved animals, making them popular pets. Young kittens are playful. They can easily entertain themselves with a variety of store-bought or homemade toys. House cats have also been known to teach themselves to use lever-type doorknobs and toilet handles. Cats are fairly independent animals. They can look after themselves and do not need as much attention as dogs do.

Cats use many different sounds for communication, including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking and grunting.

Body posture is also important. The whole shape of the body changes when a cat is relaxed, or when it is alert. Also, the position of their ears and tail are used for communication, as well as their usual functions.

These ways of communication are very important. They are used between a mother cat and her kittens. They are also used between male and female cats; and between cats and other species, such as dogs. A mother cat protecting her kittens will fight off the largest dog. She gives good warning with a frightening display, hissing furiously, showing her claws, arching her back, and making her hair stand on end. If that fails, she attacks the dog’s face with her claws. It has been said that no dog ever tries such an attack a second time.

Cats are very clean animals. They groom themselves by licking their fur. The cat’s tongue can act as a hairbrush and can clean and untangle a cat’s fur. Still, owners may buy grooming products to help the cat take care of itself.

Food

Many house cats eat food which their owners give them.

There is moist canned food and also dry cat food which comes in different sized cans or bags and formulas. There are kitten formulas, cat formulas, health formulas, formulas for reducing a cat’s weight, and many others. These can even be organic (made from all natural ingredients), and have vegetables, salmon, tuna, meat, and milk essence. Yet, it’s best if the food is at least 95% meat, as that’s a cat’s diet.

Different cat breeds have different life expectancy. The average lifespan of a cat depends on a lot of variables — from diet and exercise to their overall health to their breed. But generally it has an average life span of 15 years.

DOGS

 

In Hindu pantheon DOG is deemed to be Divine and named as BAIRAVASWAMI.And hymns are written.

The Ancient Egyptians are often more associated with cats in the form of Bastet, yet here too, dogs are found to have a sacred role and figure as an important symbol in religious iconography.

Dogs were associated with Anubis, the jackal headed god of the underworld. At times throughout its period of being in use the Anubieion catacombs at Saqqara saw the burial of dogs.

Dogs had a major religious and symbolic significance to the Aztec peoples of central Mexico. Several ancient burial sites for dogs have been discovered in Mexico. Xolotl, an Aztec god of death, was depicted as a dog-headed monster.

The dog is one of the 12 animals honored in Chinese astrology. The second day of the Chinese New Year is considered to be the birthday of all dogs and Chinese people often take care to be kind to dogs on that day.

A dog is mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, faithfully accompanying Tobias, Tobit’s son and the angel Raphael on their journeys.

Jesus told the story of the poor man Lazarus, whose sores were licked by street dogs. This has traditionally been seen as showing Lazarus’s wretched situation.

The Catholic Church recognizes Saint Roch (also called Saint Rocco), who lived in the early 14th century in France, as the patron saint of dogs. It is said that he caught the plague while doing charitable work and went into the forest, expecting to die. There he was befriended by a dog which licked his sores and brought him food, and he was able to recover. The feast day of Saint Roch, August 16, is celebrated in Bolivia as the “birthday of all dogs.”

Saint Guinefort was the name given to a dog who received local veneration as a saint at a French shrine from the 13th to the 20th centuries.

A  black and white dog is sometimes used as an informal symbol of the Dominican order of friars, religious sisters and nuns. This stems from a Latin pun: though the order’s name is actually the Friars Preachers (Ordus Praedicatorum – order of preachers), it is generally called the Dominicans (after St. Dominic, their founder): Domini canes in Latin means “the dogs/hounds of the Lord.”

Hinduism

Dogs have a major religious significance among the Hindus in Nepal also in India particularly in Mithlanchal, North Bengal and Sikkim. The dogs are worshipped as a part of a five-day Tihar festival that falls roughly in November every year. In Hinduism, it is believed that dogs guard the doors of Heaven and Hell. This is a day when the dog is worshipped by applying tika (the holy vermilion dot), incense sticks and garlanded generally with marigold flower. Sarama, the female dog of the gods, is described as the mother of all dogs.

Hindu god Kalabhairava has a dog as his consort. Taking care of dogs is a way for Hindus to pay tribute to him. | God 

The dog (Shvan) is also the vahana or mount of the Hindu god Bhairava. Yudhishthira had approached heaven with his dog, therefore among many Hindus, the common belief exists that caring for or adopting dogs can also pave way to heaven.

In Greek, Dogs were closely associated with Hecate in the Classical world. Dogs were sacred to Artemis and Ares. Cerberus was the three-faced guard dog of the Underworld.

In Islam the narration by Abu Huraira Volume 3, Book 40, Number 551. He narrated that the Prophet said:

“While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well, and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, ‘This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine.’ So, he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him. The people asked “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals? He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).

The 18th verse of the 18th chapter of the Qur’an, which reads:

Thou wouldst have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if thou hadst come up on to them, thou wouldst have certainly turned back from them in flight, and wouldst certainly have been filled with terror of them.

(Surah Al Kahf, Qur’an: 18)

There is a temple in Isin, Mesopotamia, named é-ur-gi7-ra which translates as “dog house” Enlilbani, a king from the Old Babylonian First Dynasty of Isin, commemorated the temple to the goddess Ninisina.

In Zoroastrianism, the dog is regarded as an especially beneficent, clean and righteous creature, which must be fed and taken care of. The dog is praised for the useful work it performs in the household, but it is also seen as having special spiritual virtues. A dog’s gaze is considered to be purifying and to drive off daevas (demons). It is also believed to have a special connection with the afterlife: the Chinwad Bridge to Heaven is said to be guarded by dogs in Zoroastrian scripture, and dogs are traditionally fed in commemoration of the dead. Ihtiram-i sag, “respect for the dog”, is a common injunction among Iranian Zoroastrian villagers.[

Being the oldest domesticated animal, their long association with people has allowed dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior as well as thrive on a starch-rich diet which would be inadequate for other canid species

Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals. This impact on human society has given them the sobriquet, “man’s best friend”.

As the famous saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend. Whether it’s as reliable workers, family pets or loyal companions, dogs are wonderful domestic animals that offer a number of qualities that are put to good use by humans.

In total there is said to be around 400 million dogs in the world.

The domestic dog has been one of the most popular working and companion animals throughout human history.

Although experts often disagree, there is scientific evidence which shows that the domestication of dogs could have occurred more than 15,000 years ago.

There are hundreds of different breeds of dogs.

Examples of these breeds include: Bulldog, German shepherd, Collie, Golden Retriever, St Bernard, Greyhound, Bloodhound, Chihuahua, Labrador, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Boxer and Cocker Spaniel.

The most popular breed of dog in the world by registered ownership is the Labrador. With their gentle nature, obedience, intelligence and near limitless energy, Labradors make for excellent family pets and reliable workers. They often assist police and are a common choice as guide dogs.

Dogs have formed such a strong bond as pets, workers and companions to humans that they have earned the nickname “man’s best friend”.

Humans help train various dog breeds to enter in competitions such as breed shows, agility and obedience contests, racing and sled pulling.

Dog have superior hearing than humans, capable of hearing sounds at four times the distance.

Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, they are capable of differentiating odors in concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.

The average life span for a dog is around 10 to 14 years.

Those involved in dog breeding refer to males as ‘dogs’, females as ‘bitches’, dogs younger than a year old as ‘puppies’ and a group of offspring as a ‘litter’.

Domestic dogs are omnivores; they feed on a variety of foods including grains, vegetables and meats.

While these are some positive inputs that make us aware of the niceties and greatness of these domestic pets, there are certain matters other than these to be discussed in this write up.

Puttaparthi Baba used to advice his students:” be like street lights and not like street dogs”! Yet his love for pet animals and in particular dogs is abundant.

Swami with his pet dog

Domestic pets have their own positive things whereas these street dogs happen to pose much menace to the people.  They invade and go on barking as they please and the children or elders- all are afraid of these barking dogs. Though it is said that “barking dogs do not bite”, how to get confirmed that these barking dogs know about it!!!!!

Night or day, it goes on barking disturbing the human beings. We come across the children –even elders run as they are chased by dogs. Here is a clue to face these challenges posed by these street dogs: as they chase, we are not to run, but bend to the ground and show as if we take a small stone and the God has given the sense to understand that they will get a hit and hence they turn and take to its heels in the opposite direction!!! This is a time tested method to me and many adopt this successfully!

Peculiar behavior of these street dogs as one can observe is not static in one place even for fifteen minutes! As if it has some urgent duty to perform, it goes from one spot to another frequently. It will be lying and be at sleep.

We do not know what dog psychology it is, it simply gets up goes ten feet ahead and resumes its sleep for the next few minutes!!!

Of late it is observed that there is a change in the relationship between the cats and dogs. I have only seen them ever at enmity. But nowadays they freely roam on the roads without any fear for each other!

One more observation/experience with the stray/street dogs which I would share with my esteemed readers before I conclude this write up.

Our colony in Chennai is a big one with around 944 flats spread over 59 Blocks. Just as human beings have rich people and  poor ones, by the will of God some dogs are fortunate to be labelled as pets in homes and many are labelled as street/stray dogs! Pet dogs are the envy of stray dogs-but they have to reconcile!!!

It was felt in the colony that we should to get rid of the stray dogs some how or other; lot of discussions were there. ‘Culling of animals or not’ -conflict between Javedkar and Menaka Gandhi is not our subject!!!!!!!

It was decided to approach the SPCA and similarly placed organizations and the Government came forward to take the dogs away from our colony and thus help us. First day the DOG VAN came and could  catch five dogs out of a few dozens! Another day the dog van came- God has endowed a lot of intelligence in the canine tribe and looking at the van each of the dozens of dogs ran out of sight and got them hid in safe places and they came out openly only after making sure that the van had left the colony!!!! Despite two of the not so intelligent got caught!!!

 

                                The dog van visiting and catching the dogs!

Before I conclude

Well here are a few poems on cat written in Tamil with its translated English version and a few on dogs:

(1)பூனையாரே!

பூனையாரே பூனையாரே

எங்கே வந்தீங்க?

நாயைக் கண்டு பயந்து இங்கே

பாய்ந்து வந்தீரா?

எலியைப் பிடித்துத் தின்ன இங்கே

எகிரி வந்தீரா?

தாத்தாவுக்கு வைத்த சோற்றை

தின்ன வந்தீரா?

யாருக்கும் தெரிந்திடாம

பதுங்கி வர்ரீரே?

எங்க அரிசிப் பானையிலே

எலிகள் இருக்குது

முன் வீட்டு இருட்டறையில்

முடங்கிக் கிடக்குது

பின் வீட்டுப் பொந்துக்குள்ளே

பயந்து நிற்குது.

ஒன்னக் கண்டு பெரிய எலி

ஓடி ஒளியுது!

அய்யோ பாவம் குஞ்சு எலி

மாட்டி மடியுது!

பலமுள்ளவன் வாழ்வதும்

பயமுள்ளவன் வீழ்வதும்

இயற்கை தந்த நீதியோ

இறைவன் தந்த பாடமோ?

 

OH MR. CAT! MR. CAT!

Oh! Mr. Cat, Mr. Cat

Where did you come?

Afraid of a barking dog did you come

Jumping here?

To eat the mice did you come

Jumping here?

To drink the milk ready for the babe

Did you come here?

To eat the food kept for grandpa

Did you come here hurriedly?

Without the knowledge of any body

Did you come here silently?

In our rice pots

There are mouses

In the front dark room

Lying hidden there!

In the back yard holes

Sitting in fear

Looking at you the big mouse

Runs away to hide!

Lo, the young and small ones

Get caught and die!

The strong ones safe

The weak ones suffer

Is that the law of nature?

Is it the lesson taught by God!

 

Great national Poet Bharathiyar sang:

வெள்ளை நிறத்தொரு பூனை-எங்கள்

வீட்டில் வளருது கண்டீர்;

பிள்ளைகள் பெற்றதப் பூனை –அவை

பேருக்கொரு நிற மாகும்.

சாம்பல் நிறமொரு குட்டி –கருஞ்

சாந்து நிறமொரு  குட்டி

பாம்பு நிறமொரு குட்டி – வெள்ளைப்

பாலின் நிறமொரு குட்டி.

எந்த நிறமிரு ந்தாலும் – அவை

யாவும் ஒரே தர மன்றோ?

இந்த நிறம்சிறி தென்றும் –இஃது

ஏற்றமென்றும் சொல்லலாமோ?

One white cat is there

In our house-see

It begot its off springs each one

Is of color different

One is of color ash the other

Is of utter black

Another is of snake’s –fourth

Is milky white!

Whatever the color

They have

All are of same

Mind and quality!

.

On DOGS

(1)

RETREATS!

The black dog fiercely barks

Runs behind me as if to bite and blast

Run I don’t but bend to ground

As if to take a pebble to hound

Dog retreats yet barks

In shrill and feeble voice that fades!

Life’s problems and worries stare

With its swollen red eyes that scare

Run I don’t but look with force

As if to drive them away and face

With strong will and wit, grit and faith

Problems and worries RETREAT and fade!

 

(2)

Strong and the Weak –

 

Mother Earth, Happy Heaven

Ever ready in giving lesson

Till you learn and serve as one

To unite the world into handsome one!

 

Mother Earth a home for all

To live and love, help and serve

Make the people great and tall

With peace and poise well with a nerve!

 

Morning walk a tonic for health

Sure to add a lot of wealth

Wealth of strong will and wit

Time to think and plan nice to hit!

 

Pre-dawn walk a lovely mark

Ozone- the great, a nature’s stock

Crows and dogs grace the morn

Chirps of birds warm the heart!

 

Weak and strong, timid and bold

Part of the world from the days of old

Weak and timid die day in and day out

Strong and the bold live every day with joy!

 

Every inch of my early walk

Provides gleeful time happy to talk

Day early begun lasts for long

Plentiful time sure goes strong!

 

While on walk you get a lesson or two

That makes you wise and remains a tattoo!

 

A majestic dog looked at me

Strong and bold appeared to be

Scanned to find out friend or foe

Decided to stand, stare and not to go!

 

Another timid and weak

Unable to stand my sight quite meek

On my sight took to its heels

Out of sight peeped to kneel!

 

In my walk of fifty rounds

The timid made several sounds

Walking in and running out

Gasping and fretting in several bout(s)!

 

Strong one swept well to its heart

Weak one wept right to its last!

 

Man’s life no better than the dog

Strong sees the challenge leaves like the fog

Bold treats the problems as fun

Problems make the weak ones run!

IMG_5408

                                 Pets of Nivetha and Swetha-Photo by Nivetha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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