Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Dear Canines and Felines
You know that we love you all and are happy to share our home with you. However, there are a few rules that you need to understand and obey if our peaceful co-existence is to continue.
1: The stainless steel dishes are yours and that's where you will find your food. The other dishes belong to us. Putting your paws or noses onto our plates or into our meals does not mean that you can lay claim to them. It's not funny and it's not clever so please desist.
2: The stairs constitute neither a race-track nor an obstacle course. We appreciate that you enjoy physical contact with us but there's a time and a place for such activity and the staircase does not fit either category. Besides, if you trip us up we might land on you and we are much heavier than you.
3: We have bought the largest bed on the market. We cannot afford to have one custom-made. In any case, it would have to fill the room to satisfy your individual and collective requirements. It is possible for dogs and cats to curl up to sleep. It is not necessary to spread yourselves to your greatest extent and then use your paws to push us to the edges of the bed. We spend many nights clinging to opposite sides of the bed while you snore comfortably in the centre.
4: We are perfectly capable of using the bathrooms on our own. We do not require you to chaperone us. We shut the doors for privacy, not to hurt your feelings, and you must realise by now that we do not stay in there for hours at a time and will emerge unscathed, given time. We do not need the incentive of your whines and miaous to hasten our reappearance.
5: You may not like the fact that you are not always able to accompany us when we go out but rest assured that you would not enjoy a visit to the dentist or the supermarket or the garage any more than we do. Barking, whining, miaouing, scratching at our legs or the front door will not make one iota of difference. Similarly, closed doors in the house are not designed to challenge your initiative in opening them so please stop barging them with your noses and paws.
6: Houseplants are attractive to the eye and the nose. They should not be treated as home-grown snack bars or personal sandpits. Similarly, we have carpet on the stairs because we want it there. When we decide to replace it we will do so without your instigation or assistance.
7: We enjoy your licks and nuzzles but please ensure that we are the first recipients, preferably not when you have just ingested tripe and definitely before you have attended to your personal hygiene or checked out each other's credentials.
8: We can hear the telephone when it rings. Howling to alert us to it is not helpful. Likewise, barking at animals on television is unnecessary – we think you know that and are just being contrary.
9: One final thing – when humans come to visit it is customary to allow them to sit on the chairs and settees. We know they are your chosen resting places but when we have cleaned and vacuumed and put fresh covers on we expect that you will take your unaccustomed places in the animal beds or on the floor. It's only a temporary arrangement, after all.