From the moment I brought him home, I knew Tofu was special. My little Jack Russel mix has developed unique quirks over the years that I could write a novel about. Is it weird to consider a dog my writing muse? He definitely has inspired and appeared in many of my stories and journal notes.
As Tofu is nearing 12, I sometimes worry he is lonely or bored while I am working. He spends a majority of his day sleeping, licking and then sleeping some more. As I work from home, he never leaves my feet from his comfy dog bed. He is always snuggled up in a nest of blankets (my blankets, that he has commandeered) and his favorite toys tucked in with him.
My husband and I discussed getting him a companion to spice up his life. When we brought Tofu home from the shelter, they told us that he had been fostered in a home with kittens, and he got along well with them. I started researching cats and cat behaviors to see if a new little fur ball was an option for us.
Being a newbie to cats, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I came to the revelation that Tofu is not a dog. He is definitely a cat. He is a cat trapped in a canine body. EVERY common cat behavior I read matches Tofu’s daily behaviors to a T (except when it pertains to a litter box).
As of yet, I still have not adopted a cat, so correct me if I’m wrong on the following cat/Tofu behaviors.
Only the Best for a Picky Eater
I have learned that cats are specific in their food choices. At this point, I have lost count of how many dog food bags I have had to donate or toss because Tofu wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole. In the end, he needs a delicate balance of 30% salmon flavored dry food with 70% Fresh Pet chicken flavored wet food. If the balance is off by even one gram, he will let it spoil on purpose just to witness how pissed off I get throwing away expensive, mushy food. My hard-earned dollars going down the drain pleases his majesty.
If I Wanted Cuddles, I Would Ask for Them
When researching cat’s behavior and desire for affection, I read a few different accounts. One that particularly stood out mentioned that cats choose very decisively who they like and who is allowed to touch them. Tofu has never been fond of being pet unless he initiates. The mood must be just right, and he will let you know by digging his nails into your arm, leg, or whatever flesh is exposed. 10 minutes of petting is not enough, you are finished when Tofu says so.
If you’re in the middle of something important, like a phone call, Tofu will be sure to share his displeasure with his unique, low pitched, gravelly sounding bark. His bark sounds like the voice of someone who smokes a pack or more a day and should not come from a little 17lb animal. If you dare try to pet him when saying goodbye, he backs away with a scowl to show his displeasure with leaving him alone even if it’s just a short trip to get some groceries.
I Will Scratch Whatever and Wherever I Please
As I understand, cats need to scratch to keep their nails in shape and that they also have scent glands in their paws to mark territory. I don’t think Tofu has scent glands, but I have NEVER seen a dog scratch so many things so frequently in my life. He has specific corners and objects that he ruthlessly attacks. He has ripped tons of fibers of carpeting up from said attacks. He has absolutely no interest in digging holes or burying bones outside like a normal dog. Once he has entered one of his uncontrolable scratching escapades, no carpeting or furniture is safe. My mother folds and hides any rugs she values when Tofu comes to visit (rugs are his prime target).
Non-Stop Licking or Non-Stop Napping
Tofu has two modes, lick or nap. If he is not sleeping in one of his favorite beds scattered around the house or on my pillow with his ass in my face, he is licking, licking, LICKING. His sole purpose in life is to either self-groom, beg to have his fur combed, dream about squirrels dancing in his head or on a rare occasion, play with his favorite toy.
His favorite toy, by the way, is of course a cat toy. The kind that has a little mouse on a string. Oh the joy it brings. Other than the very rare, small outbursts of energy, he is napping. Moving from one napping location to the next, wherever sunlight shines through the windows.
Now from my above description, you may assume that I hate my fur baby. This is not the case. As with most people or animals you love, the more annoying they are, the more you love them and put up with them. Tofu has taught me life lessons and his demanding nature definitely forced me not to be so selfish. I now find value in taking care of another creature, even with his quirks.
I am still debating adopting a cat to accompany Tofu in his cat like mannerisms. I don’t know how I feel about the whole litter box thing. I am sure avid cat lovers can comment with advice and how-to-tips for introducing a cat to a dog for the first time. Until then, Prince Tofu has full reign.