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Getting Along Like Cats And Dogs?

The Pedlars of our age have business yet,
And gladly would against the Fayr-day fit
Themselves with such a Roofe, that can secure
Their Wares from Dogs and Cats rain'd in showre.
                - Henry Vaughan, Olar Iscanus (1651)

Raining cats and dogs. Fighting like cats and dogs. We've all heard the sayings, but how did these popular pets come by such a reputation? Their perceived struggle has a long history that can be traced through the English language.

The phrase "raining cats and dogs" goes back at least to the mid-seventeenth century where it appears in the works of playwright Richard Brome and author Henry Vaughn. Even earlier references can be found as early as the Elizabethan era, when "Dogges and Cattes" symbolized strife and enmity.

So, for more than four centuries, this duo has suggested intensity and conflict in our speech. It's no small wonder that cats and dogs are commonly depicted as mortal enemies. But many households would disagree with the stereotype, recounting heartwarming tales of camaraderie and kinship.  Read on for a small sample of these extraordinary stories.



Story:  Kodi & Myshkin

We've all heard the expression "fighting like cats and dogs", yet some cats and dogs form powerful bonds, like the one between my Malamute, Kodi, and a rescued kitten named Myshkin.

Baby Myshkin followed Kodi everywhere and loved to sleep with his huge, furry "mama." Over the years, the love between Kodi and Myshkin delighted all who saw them – and plenty did, as Myshkin never missed our neighborhood jaunts, sitting proudly beside Kodi outside the local shops.

Kodi was always ready to fight off any dog who threatened "his" cat, but what was amazing was how this protectiveness turned around when Kodi became stricken with cancer. Myshkin knew his beloved friend was gravely ill and seldom left Kodi's side. I thought he just wanted to stay close, but it turns out he was actually guarding Kodi.

One afternoon towards the end, Kodi, weak but not suffering, was resting on the lawn with Myshkin beside him. Suddenly, a huge dog appeared, heading our way. Normally, Myshkin would skedaddle at the sight of a strange dog, but this day, he held his ground. As the big dog approached, Myshkin stood up and moved directly into its path, puffing up and growling like something possessed. The dog tried to go around him to get a sniff at Kodi, but any way he turned, Myshkin blocked him with his own tiny body – left, right, then left again.

The poor cat was clearly terrified, yet there he was, risking his own life to protect the helpless friend who had been his guide and guardian for so many years. The stray dog soon gave up and departed, leaving me with a lump in my throat – and a sense of awe that remains to this day.

Shared with us by:
Susan Lane, from Redding, CA


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