My puppy Bramble is definitely, indisputably a dog.
She has the beautiful black nose, the pointy ears and waggly tail that cannot be described as anything but canine.
But the truth is, my dog thinks she is a cat.
Any dog owner knows that their pooch has a unique personality, and as I added my name in 2018 to the 2020 wait list with a responsible breeder I had sourced – I couldn’t wait to get to know my future best friend.
One concern my fiancé and I had was that he brought a cat to the relationship when we got together six years ago. How would that work?
Well, it just had to – frankly.
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We were committed to making the transition from fur baby to big brother as easy as possible.
So we read the advice, set up a ‘kitty room’ in our house where he could escape and planned to make the introductions as slow and controlled as they needed to be.
I won’t lie – the first few weeks were peppered with some tenuous moments on both sides, but we got there.
Five months on, Bramble and Dexter calmly tolerate each other and indulge in regular nose kisses and sniffs – which is all we can ask for.
However something became very apparent as the nerve-wracking puppy months went by – something is very feline about this canine.
By growing up with Dexter, Bramble hopped freely on to places she had no business being able to go.
She defied the laws of physics with her tiny potato bottom launching on to dining room chairs, and then to the table.
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She leapt on to the high framed bed, and to the back of the sofa (her favourite spot) to curl her paws underneath her chest and sleep – a very catlike pose!
Some of the behaviour we deter (such as parkouring her way to the table top – my colleagues have been subjected to nonsensical instant chat messages thanks to little paws clunking on the keyboard in my absence) – however many of her kitty-isms, while unconventional, are a part of who she is as our dog.
It came to me one day, that in her mind – why shouldn’t she be able to do these things?
After all, the cat can leap freely between tables, scale heights and sleep in high places so why can’t she?
She has grown up observing these behaviours, and replicates them without the fear that she shouldn’t be able to.
Bramble idolises our cat, while having a healthy respect for him – and in truth she copies him because she wants to be like him.
She has no pre-conception that as she grows and her frame gets bigger that she should stop scaling the bed and sofa after three attempts because of her increased weight (predominantly in the back end, which makes the feat even more impressive when she succeeds!).
Similarly, our cat has become more affectionate, mirroring her endless devotion.
They pick up cues and harmonise from each other, and the dog is unaware of the conventions and stereotypes that say she ‘should not’ do these things.
In a melodramatic way, Bramble’s adoration and emulation of Dexter’s cat qualities has reminded me that there is nothing stopping me from trying new things that are not typically ‘me’ – something my fiancé and I have termed ‘being more Bramble’, and maybe we can all learn something from that.