C.W. Gusewell

THE KANSAS CITY STAR

A homey lesson for all hooligans

The furred members of our household display commendable manners where issues of territory and nourishment are concerned.

And some of the more disagreeable populations and regimes that occupy this planet could profit from their example.

Dogs and cats, for example, are widely thought to be incompatible lodgers. In our experience, however, that’s not the case.

At the feeding hour, the resident canines receive their rations in metal pans on the kitchen floor. For whatever reason, the orange tabby, Mickey, thinks their grub might be superior to his own.

So he strides over to where the dogs are eating and presses his cheek alongside Cyrus’ in the bowl. And with grave courtesy, the 65-pound Brittany steps back to let the 14-pound cat enjoy a taste.

Never has there been a single growl of objection.

In the upstairs bedroom, three chairs are positioned in a row in front of the television. We all have our preferred places for viewing.

I like the chair in the middle, facing the set head-on. The black cat, Scoop, favors the one to my right. His attention span is short, and he’s soon asleep.

Laika, the little gray-striped female rescued from the streets of Brooklyn, is happiest in the chair on the left. She shows little interest in professional sports, much preferring the lively movement of mixed martial arts or “Dancing With the Stars.”

The bed protocols are respected by all.

The beagle understands that he’s welcome there during the daytime hours and is hospitable to any cats that care to join him.

For Cyrus, who tends to drool, the bed is off limits at every hour.

At night, after the 10 o’clock news, my wife and I have absolute priority. Well, not quite absolute. Scoop sleeps at the bed’s lower end and is content there. He has a foot fetish.

Mickey shares our pillows. Laika wedges herself into the shallow depression between us.

And poor Tommy, timid and secretive by nature, can be heard somewhere down below, trying to disembowel the mattress from underneath.

In all our years together, there’s never been an actual fight. Some little vocal disagreements from time to time, but no blows struck.

If cats and dogs and we two-legged ones can manage to live in peace together, you’d think some of the less savory thugs and saber-rattlers of this world might somehow find a way to do the same.

But, regrettably, they are animals of a worse kind.