Sometimes it only takes one thing in common to forget the big and obvious differences between two individuals. For us humans it is often common interests, passions, experiences or even concerns that bring us closer together and allow deep friendships to develop across age differences and other boundaries. Suddenly you realize that age is just a number and that appearances, physical differences, or gender differences are completely irrelevant and can turn two strangers into unequal friends.
These special connections do not only exist among us humans, but also in the diverse world of animals. Because many of our animal inhabitants of the earth are also absolutely social beings and long for closeness and affection. Wether sympathies or antipathies, also in the animal kingdom it goes not always harmoniously. Some animal constellations even have a bad reputation - according to this, it is better not to keep cats and dogs together under one roof. We at William Walker disagree and want to tell you today about one of these unequal and yet incredibly intimate friendships. About Harry the cat and his big dog friends Mio and Cara.
How it all began - the first Meeting of the unlikely Friends
It was 19 years ago when the paths of the three friends crossed for the first time. The future of the little nameless kitten was still uncertain, because his owners did not want to keep him. They abandoned the little gray/white kitten in the forest just before the summer vacations. There it wandered around - how long we don't know - until it finally found its way onto our property. Sitting between the branches of a flat rhododendron bush, the little one watched the two family dogs playing in front of the house. But Mio, the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and son of our Golden Retriever Cara, was an absolute watchdog and immediately noticed that somewhere in the garden another little heart was beating. He found the little cat, sniffed him and stayed with him until we found them both.
The Birth of an big Animal Love
I was just six years old at the time and had always wanted a cat. Perhaps it was fate that had driven the little man to our property. In any case, Harry the cat was part of our family from that day on. He grew up with our two dogs, Mio and Cara, adapting their behavior, stealing their food and trying to grab their wagging tails in mid-air. He was actually more dog than cat.
This went so far that Harry followed us into the forest when we went for a walk with the dogs. He simply did not understand why he was not allowed to be there. Especially Mio immediately took the little funny guy to his heart and the two developed the most beautiful morning ritual together. At daybreak, when Harry came down the stairs from upstairs, the two friends would greet each other nose to nose, as if they were giving each other a little kiss. In all the years they spent together, they always stuck to it.
Loyalty between Cat and Dog
You often hear stories of dogs and cats sharing a basket, cuddling and licking each other's ears, but it was never like that with us. The friendship of the three was rather characterized by a very deep loyalty to each other. They knew that they belonged together and had to protect each other. When Harry grew from a small kitten to a really handsome and cheeky tomcat, trouble was not far away. He beat the crap out of every other cat in the area, and sustained almost every form of injury. Once he almost hung himself in a slanted window. When he wasn't fighting, he liked to put mouse carcasses in our shoes or scream the whole house down at night just for fun. A bright little guy. But once he settled down, he loved being with his buddies and having his favorite people around. Often the three friends would spend half the day snoozing together in one room or exploring the garden together as soon as a little ray of sunlight broke through the cloud cover.
Cat Fight and the barking Guardians
Early one summer morning, Harry had made himself comfortable outside on our cushioned garden furniture after one of his nightly forays through the neighborhood, catching up on a capful of sleep. He probably didn't notice a strange black tomcat creeping through the garden, right towards him. As it seemed to us later, the intruder had attacked Harry cowardly in his sleep. But no sooner had the brawl begun than our dogs inside began to bark loudly. We quickly came running down the stairs and finally we too heard the hissing and typical screaming of a cat-wrangling. Harry seemed to be fighting back with all his might, but he was sitting in a hopeless defensive position with the back of the garden chair behind him and in front of him the fat, strange cat on his hind legs with his front legs outstretched, claws extended. I tore the door open and was almost pulled to the ground by the two dogs. Mio and Cara had rushed past me to the cats in a tenth of a second. Ready to defend their best buddy. The attacker had not expected this. Gripped by fear, he let go of Harry and ran for his life - the dogs chasing after him barking furiously. Harry knew his bodyguards would do the job from here on. While Mio barked all sorts of threats at the fleeing cat on the garden fence, Harry watched the spectacle triumphantly. Light-footed and with his tail raised, he leapt from the lawn chair, stretched, and sat on the edge of the lawn to receive his returning defenders with a kiss on the nose. As you might expect, we never saw the displaced black cat near our house again! Harry's status as "King of the Neighborhood" was sealed forever.
Farewells and new Friendships
But sometimes in life, unfortunately, you can not conserve time. About 10 years later we had to say goodbye first to Mio and shortly after also to Cara. The life of a dog is simply way too short. Harry didn't understand why Mio wasn't there to give him a kiss in the morning. He seemed to miss his buddies, avoided their sadly empty sleeping places and retreated more and more to the upper floor. I tried to fill the gap in the morning ritual and he tried to compensate for the absence of Mio and Cara. After some time we took dogs into our family again and Harry also got along well with every newcomer. After all, he had never experienced anything but kindness and love from dogs. But such an intimate connection as he had had with Cara, but especially with Mio, never developed between the animals again. Harry had only given his heart away once, or rather twice. He quickly made it clear to the new four-legged family members who wore the pants in the house - he alone. And this until the day when we had to bring our little chaos, the craziest and bravest cat, Harry, with a heavy heart to the Rainbow Bridge. 18 years had passed like a blink of an eye and again it was time to say goodbye. But one thought comforted us more than anything else - we were sure that at the other end of the Rainbow Bridge his best friends Mio and Cara would sit and receive him tail wagging and with a nose nudge.
Do you also have mismatched friends as pets? Be sure to tell us about your funniest, most emotional and exciting experiences of this extraordinary friendship in the comments.
From Louisa Knoll