The Cat, the Dog, and the Donkey

Donald Shephard

My neighbor has a decrepit tomcat named Parrot. I do not know why. That is, I do not know why he has a cat, nor why he calls it Parrot. If it was a bright blue, green and red cat I could understand giving it the grand moniker of Parrot but it is not, it is black. Since my neighbor is even more of a curmudgeon than I am, I refrain from asking him. My other neighbor has a young Old English Sheep dog she calls Dutch. This unfortunate dog has some identity issues as a result of her name. My own animal of choice is a donkey. I have named my white one, in honor of her musical voice, Threnody.

When it is raining cats and dogs, the two neighboring animals often lie in the bush at the edge of Threnody's pasture where there is not enough room to swing a cat. (By the way, my PC flagged the juxtaposition of lie and bush as un-PC and redundant). I digress. The other day, Threnody walked over to me, rotated her ears towards her companions and shook her head. I shake my head at people who anthropomorphize their pets and Threnody knows this. She explained to me that Parrot and Dutch had had a long-running argument about the relative merits of cats and dogs. She told me how it went.

"I am Felis domestica, the cat. Cats cohabitate with humans to enable people to serve them," said Parrot.

"I am Canus familiaris, the dog. Dogs are man's best friend," replied Dutch.

They went at it like, well, cats and dogs.

Parrot, arched his back stiffly and hissed, "A cat house is a place of great pleasure."

Dutch, scratched her right ear nonchalantly and responded, "A dog house is a place of peace, comfort and ease."

"Lions are members of the cat family and they are known as the 'King of Beasts'. We also claim tigers, leopards, jaguars and many others," said Parrot grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"This is a list of canines; wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes and hyenas and that is no laughing matter," said Dutch, feeling like the top dog.

Threnody thought that had put the cat among the pigeons but asked, "Any more animals in your family?"

"We cannot claim them as family, as such, but I am very fond of catfish," said Parrot.

"And I just love dogfish," lied Dutch looking like something the cat had dragged in.

"We are in the catbird seat."

"We are in the bird dog seat,"

"Any plants associated with you?" wondered the donkey. Being quite prepared to listen to them both at once, she lowered an ear in the direction of each of them.

"Cattleya orchids."


"Catalpa tree."

"Dog rose."



"That's Much Ado About Nothing," spat Parrot in derision, "but if its literature you want how about 'Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle.' "

"I am the king's dog at Kew, pray sir, whose dog are you," countered Dutch. We have Don Quixote mused Threnody to herself.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

"Dogs have generated many phrases over the years such as go to the dogs; lead a dog's life; let sleeping dogs lie; and, put on the dog," said Dutch playing cat and mouse with the feline.

"We can control time and destiny," claimed Parrot haughtily, "remember a cat has nine lives."

"Doggone it, we have the dog days of summer."

This could go on for donkey's years thought Threnody.

"Cat feet," purred Parrot.

"Dog legs," Dutch barked because she was getting dog tired.

"Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats".


"Cat burglar."

"An honorable profession in some eyes," sneered Dutch," but not as respected as those who wear the dog collar."

"Cool cats play jazz."

"Hot dog! "

"Catsup!" caterwauled Parrot, as he coughed up a fur ball. Dutch chased her tail for several rotations clockwise then counterclockwise. Threnody knew it was time to end the argument before Parrot became catatonic and Dutch lapsed into dogmatism causing a catastrophe.

"I am a donkey," she said,"Equus assinus is our scientific name. People revere neither cat nor dog as much as a single piece of me." With that she sashayed away from her two feuding friends.

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