The Truth about Cats and Pigs

Riley made an unusual friend once. At a time where our cats barely tolerated her and she realized the dogs were not ideal playmates, she discovered Buddy the guinea pig. He was quite furry, much like her, and though he probably smelled and looked a bit odd, she really took to him. Every night, she’d climb into his cage and sit there in front of his house. Sometimes, she’d pat him on the head. And the amazing thing was, he wasn’t afraid. He would run around the piggie room, Riley hot on his non-existent tail, and when it got too much, he’d swiftly turn around and threaten her with his little beaver teeth. She always backed off.

After Buddy died, Riley tried to befriend Louie, but until just a short while before he passed on, they never really warmed to each other. Now, though, there’s the girls. The girls are three-month-old Minnie, nearly fully grown with a lovely rosetta arrangement of black fur, and tiny five-week-old Emmy, who still resembles a mouse and fits into the palm of one hand. At the moment, she has a rather interesting hairdo, kind of like a Mohawk, and nobody knows for sure what will happen when she grows up. But the fascination to Riley is undeniable.

Since the girls moved in on Saturday, she’s been spending hours in the temporary pig room. Yesterday, she snoozed the afternoon away on a crinkle bag next to the cage, but normally, she lies on top of the cage and watches little Emmy zoom around in there. Emmy, on the other hand, is an amazingly fearless pig for her size. While Minnie cautiously sticks her nose out of the house she has claimed as her villa, Emmy is turning out to be quite curious. And as long as we or Riley or even her very large brother Max just look at her, she’ll sit right in front of the cage, munching hay or grooming herself with her itty-bitty feet. Sometimes, Riley will dangle one arm into the cage. Emmy is beginning to ignore that. The only thing that’ll get her scurrying for shelter with her big sister is Max, who gets overexcited sometimes and yelps or barks at her.

I’m not silly enough to allow Riley to “play” with Emmy as long as she is only hamster-sized, but I can imagine that once she is bigger, she might not mind a big friend to cuddle with. Perhaps even Minnie will learn to relax a little. And I’ll be there to keep an eye on everyone.

Schmusi, our grande dame of catdom, has so far shown no interest at all in the muikers. Quite possibly, she is distracted by the wonderful aroma of turkey wafting through the house. There were nine people here for dinner on Saturday, but that bird left plenty of meat for later. So, while Riley watches cat tv, Schmusi patiently waits for us to realize that she reallyreally needs some turkey. It’s good for the fur, don’t you know! Rufus and she are agreed on this point. His fascination with food is much greater than his interest in squeaky furballs.

I can’t wait to see how the girls get along with Julius. I surely hope they will!

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