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Cooper’s Best Friend

October 3, 2011

When it comes to protecting the house, defending his territory or dealing with other canines, Cooper is all dog. He growls and barks at every strange person or sound, and loves wrestling and chasing other pups at the dog park.At home, it’s a different story. Here, where he can be himself, Cooper’s best friend is a little, fluffy, gray kitty.

Yes. A cat.

Her name is Zoey and she is the youngest of my kitty quartet. Like all of my animals, Zoey is a rescue. She was found as a stray under the porch of a house in Eugene, Oregon. She was emaciated, covered in fleas and had an upper respiratory infection. The vet who took her in put her on antibiotics, fixed her and immediately got her

Zoey at the shelter

into some sort of shelter exchange system that moves animals that need more care, but are highly adoptable to facilities that have the room to take them in. Through the exchange, she ended up in McMinnville, Oregon, which is where I found her.

When I first met her, what struck me more than her rabbit-soft fur and her cream-colored eyeliner was her personality. She was running free in the shelter office. When I stepped inside, she walked right up to me and demanded to be picked up and loved. I left without her, wanting to think it over, but I was back the next day. This time, she was in a cage. When she saw me, she immediately stretched up and started pawing at the plexiglass door, trying to get to me.

Yeah … I was a sucker.

No one was entirely sure how old she was when I adopted her. The vet guessed she was about 5 months old, which made her about three months younger than Cooper. When I brought her home, the other

Zoey just a couple of days after I brought her home

cats didn’t want to have anything to do with her. That’s not unusual — cats can be territorial and it takes time for them to warm up to new animals. So, between their similar ages and the indifference of the other cats, she ended up latching onto Cooper, and he to her.

Now, their play consists of teasing and chasing and gnawing on each other. I often find Cooper trying to drag her around by one of her front legs as she rests on her back. When I scold him, he lets go and she runs off, only to turn, run back to smack Cooper before running off again. If he doesn’t chase after her, she runs at him again and either smacks him or attacks one of his toys (Cooper doesn’t share well, so she knows this is a great way to throw him into a tizzy) until he pursues her.

Zoey getting the better of Cooper

As they have grown, not only have they learned to play together, but they also started sleeping together. In fact, every evening, when Cooper gets tired, he tracks down Zoey and climbs into whatever bed she’s chosen for her evening nap. If she’s on one of the cat trees, he will climb on top of the structure with her.

I admit I didn’t always understand the relationship between the two. At one point, I even thought Cooper had some sort of weird need to go after her when he was nervous or frightened. I got this idea from his reaction when I would pull out the vacuum cleaner. When he saw it, he’d run after Zoey and nip at her until she ran away. He’d then come back to follow the vacuum around. After watching this a couple of times, I realized that Cooper wasn’t chasing her just to chase her. He had a specific destination in mind for her every single time. If she turned the wrong way or just refused to move (she does that

Zoey in the cat tree, watching the birds outside

one quite often), he would harass her until she moved in the direction he wanted and escaped to one of the rooms protected by a pet gate — an area that Cooper clearly deemed as safe. Once he knew she was safe, he’d immediately calm down and return to me to keep a watchful eye on the vacuum, making sure it didn’t get too close to Zoey’s safe zone. Interestingly, she’s the only cat he does that with.

Not that Zoey really needs to be kept safe. She’s not scared of the vacuum — or much of anything else, for that matter. She’s the boldest kitty of the quartet. She greets people at the front door. She wants to slip out the back door with Cooper. She investigates and chases everything, and is a master at dribbling a soccer ball with her paws. She loves to be held on her back while she has her belly rubbed. And she has yet to meet a person she didn’t love.

In essence, she’s a dog in feline form. Maybe that’s why Cooper feels so connected to her.

Cooper and Zoey sharing a bed

From → Animals, Cats, Cooper

  1. Susan Berger permalink

    Too cute!!

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