Today’s query to ponder: “Can a cat be dog tired?”
I’m not certain why dogs were chosen to represent exhaustion. Mules would have been a good fit with their long days of plodding through hot fields. Old mule tales describe heehaws of celebration when tractors came along. The laughter stopped, however, at the glue plant gates, a poignant reminder to be careful of what we wish for.
Perhaps the canine reference originated in Alaska where sleds are pulled across snow and ice. Or maybe it grew out of the deplorable practice of fight rings. My idea for hell’s entertainment night is to let the dogs be spectators. The most dog-tired dog I’ve ever seen, however, wore himself out repeatedly of his own accord. Spot was enthusiastic about activities which sapped his energy but lifted his spirits.
The cowering black dog with a patch of white was young and starving when he cautiously crept out of a cotton field and warily eased into my parents’ yard. Someone had probably left him on the roadside at a nearby creek. Maybe they felt better abandoning him by muddy water and woods to scavenge. Or perhaps they chose the place simply because the road is not frequently traveled.
He was afraid to let anyone get near him but too hungry to run away. It’s pitiful when a helpless critter barely past the puppy stage understands cruelty so well. Mama and Daddy weren’t in the market for a pet, but sometimes one comes along and there’s not much to do except fry more hoecakes of cornbread. Our oldest grandchild, Abby, sealed the deal.
Abby was two when she met Spot on a visit to the farm. He was beginning to trust the hands that fed him, but his residency status had not been fully decided. Abby called him Sfot instead of Spot, which somehow further endeared him and her to my parents. When a great-grandchild utters a cute name while hugging a dog who hugs her back, there’s nothing to discuss.
Spot never grew to be big, maybe 40 pounds or so, but was all muscle. He stayed in shape by racing against passing vehicles and running to the fishpond when my brother headed that way. He’d go full speed to get there before Jimmy did, then later scamper back home to beat him on the return.
Two things Spot didn’t tolerate were snakes and armadillos. Winner-take-all fights would leave him foaming at the mouth and so tired he could hardly stand.
We don’t know how many snakes Spot killed. Some were no doubt harmless, but it’s hard to teach a dog who heralds from the wild to be selective. Water moccasins were his specialty, and he didn’t limit his pursuits to the banks of the pond. If he saw a snake swimming, he’d jump in and go after it. His win-loss record was almost perfect, but on three occasions he took some hits. Spot never got real sick, so apparently was fast enough to avoid full doses of venom.
Armadillos, with their hard shells, were almost beyond his ability but that didn’t’ deter him. If one reached a hole before he did, Spot would dig for hours. He’d pull the armadillo out by the tail then dispense his brand of unforgiving justice. Most dogs would have called a truce, but Spot didn’t believe in negotiating with the enemy.
After battling an armadillo Spot’s energy would be depleted. With a little rest, though, he’d soon be ready to go again. He didn’t consider exhaustion a burden as it came from doing something he was passionate about. That works the same for mankind, especially if the cause is worthwhile.
Reminiscing about Spot sidetracked me from today’s stated topic. I have, however, been mulling it over. My conclusion is it’s possible for a cat to be dog tired, but I’m not sure how to tell. Cats often look tired and don’t need an excuse to relax. It’s what they do best.
That’s not meant as a criticism. My eyelids are sagging as sirens of slumber sweetly beckon. Before I give in, though, another pressing matter has come to mind: “Can a dog take a cat nap?”
The answer may not be readily found, but rather than frantically pondering, I’ll sleep on it a little while. You don’t have to be dog tired to enjoy a cat nap on a Sunday afternoon. Some folks say relaxing is what I do best.