Vila The Cat

Vila The Cat

A friend of mine (Dragonfae at wrote recently about buying a special breed of cat that is supposed to be very dog-like. Well, that reminded me of an incident (warning – that phrase is gonna be my “Once Upon A Time”, so future warning. πŸ˜‰ )

About 20 years ago, while we were still living in the Chicago area, a couple of friends of ours got booted from their apartment, and needed a place to live for a while, so we rented them our basement. Since our house was a split-level, it worked fine – we used the upstairs, they used the “rec room” finished basement, and the kitchen and living-room were “common areas”. When they moved in, they brought their cat, Vila.

Now, a bit of background. I had been raised with dogs. When MUCH younger, we had raised white mice (a late 60s thing). At this point in time, though, we had no pets – our 3 pet rats (Sonny, Rico and Marty – guess what our favourite show was!) had just recently died, so Vila was an “only pet”. Bear in mind, as well, that I had NEVER had any exposure to cats at all.

Our friends spent a lot of time on the road, going to sci-fi conventions and selling fanzines and artwork, so I was home with Vila after work. And, having no pet of my own, I turned my training talents towards the poor cat. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to teach cats like you teach dogs, so I just trained Vila as if he were a dog. Oddly enough, it worked quite well. Not only did I get Vila to “sit” and “give paw”, but I was actually able to get him to “speak” – he’d let out a quick, short “rare”-sounding kind of meow, which sounded for all the world like a bark! Needless to say, his owner was not overly pleased with my turning his cat into a dog, but his roommate LOVED it!

One particular event stands out. The guys had been home for a few days, and had gotten Vila a catnip-filled ball on a string. Now, again, I knew bupkis about cats, so I thought catnip was just like a dog treat. So I played with Vila by bopping him in the nose with the ball to get him to try to grab it, never realising the effect catnip has on a cat. Well, after a bit, Vila wandered off, and I thought nothing more of it until the next morning. I came downstairs into the living room, calling for Vila. I sat down on the couch, still calling, when a VERY hung-over Vila came up to me. He meowed rather pitifully, then turned and headed for the kitchen. He tried to use first the couch, then the first step to the upstairs as something to lean against, to hold him upright while he wobbily walked towards the kitchen.. Unfortunately, he forgot that the door to the basement was open…..
Yep. The next thing I hear is “thump thump thump” as poor Vila fell through the open doorway, down the seven stairs (carpeted, thankfully) into the rec room, whereupon he let out the most plaintive “meow?” you’ve ever heard! (No worries, he was unharmed.)

The moral of this story? Don’t let a guy who speaks “dog” fluently train your cat……

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27 Responses to Vila The Cat

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    We’re cat people. Our first cat would sit in the back window and give a cat-like bark when the shepherd next door was near the fence. But they were actually buddies for some reason.

    • Our littlest one, “Bouncer” (that’s a story in itself) has adopted our Mastiff, Sam. Sam tends to get that long-suffering look that only Mastiffs can manage! Our guys are too territorial to be friendly with the neighborhood animals. Though our eldest, “Princess” (not much story there) is the attack cat – despite no claws. She chased an inept installer out by chewing the backs of his ankles. Yeah, the 120-pound Mastiff wants to be your friend, the 8-pound housecat wants to eat you. We never get normal animals…. πŸ˜€

  2. Archon's Den says:

    One of our cats thinks the dog is his pet/buddy. He will sit at the window and watch for prey. When something is spotted, he gives the little hunting call, and the dog rushes over to the back door to be let out to chase whatever it is.

  3. 68ghia says:

    I have both cats and dogs. The dogs are mostly well behaved. The cats? Do exactly what they want, when they want! As cats are wont to do πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah, we’ve got 7 cats (they just kind of multiplied, like Tribbles from Star Trek), and they’re mostly an independent lot. The big tom male we had neutered, though, is turning into my buddy, so much so, we now call him the “puppycat”. He comes when I call and walks along at my heel. Oh no, I’m converting ANOTHER cat! πŸ˜€
      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. julesagray says:

    Please stay away from horses. And hedgehogs.

    • Oh, I absolutely LOVE horses. Problem is, with my game leg, I can’t ride. Though I do keep pushing the wife to get me a donkey, so stay tuned…… πŸ˜‰

      • julesagray says:

        fuck that, just get a monkey. they’re more fun for you AND your kids!

      • Sorry, no kids – the dog and cats ARE the children. (Well, the wife would include me, as well, but this is MY blog, so I get to make the rules! πŸ˜‰ ) And trust me, with 7 cats who decide that 2am is the best time to thunder up and down the stairs, I don’t NEED any more fun! πŸ˜€

  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    That story made me smile. I love dogs the most, but cats are wonderful pets, too.

    • I’ve always been a dog person. I can get most any dog to like me. One time when we went looking for dogs (back in Chicago), we went into a shelter, and I started getting really friendly with a female Rottie named (I’m not kidding) “Butkus”. (?) My wife was talking to the shelter staffer, who suddenly let out a yell I should get back, as the dog and I swapped kisses through the chainlink cage. I never saw the sign above – “Men – Stay Away From This Dog! This Dog HATES Men!”
      I guess that means I’m either REALLY great with dogs, or I gotta have a SERIOUS talk with the doc at my next checkup….. πŸ˜€

      • whiteladyinthehood says:

        First – Bravo to you for considering a shelter dog! Those guys definitely need a second chance.
        Second – Maybe you are a ‘dog whisperer’ (animals sense niceness) πŸ™‚
        Butkus, huh? Actually, that’s kinda cute.
        I have three rescue dogs, two labs and a collie/german shepherd mix. The collie hated men at first (I think he was beaten) he wouldn’t growl or bite or anything – he would tremble and hide…but now he is a happy, happy free-spirited dog! He just needed a little tlc.

      • All but one of our dogs was a shelter or rescue. The exception was a HUGE Border Collie from a litter that our friends bred. We met him as a 6-week old pup, and decided then and there we wanted him. He was my “son” (since we cant have kids), and it tore the soul out of me when he got sick and died. Our current guy started out rather cowed and totally silent. It took me almost four months, but we finally got a bark out of him – and he hasn’t shut up since! πŸ˜€
        We’ll always go for the rescue – my wife has a bumper sticker that says “Rescued is my favourite breed!”. Not too popular out here among the Amish puppy farms!

  6. El Guapo says:

    I can’t believe you got the cat high.

  7. Elyse says:

    Die-hard dog person here. There have been about 6 months in my life that I’ve not had one. Sadly, we are very close to having to let our old Springer, Cooper, go chase that cat you mentioned. Sigh.

    • I’ve always loved dogs, Elyse. Cats just kinda … happened. (I think I hear a post!) That is the ONLY thing I don’t like about dogs – the having to say goodbye part. Give me a yell, whenever that happens (may it be a LONG time down the road) – two shoulders to cry on, no waiting.

  8. I didn’t know you were a drug dealer to cats! Is that a lucrative business?

  9. dragonfae says:

    OMG how did I miss this? Too funny! Poor kitty. When DD and her ex were living with us they had two cats (which made 4 on top of my 2 … and 3 big dogs) that loved catnip. Whenever the male would get too rambunctious (he’d try and “attack” my boys who were older and didn’t appreciate the attention) I’d break out the catnip … problem solved. πŸ˜€

    • Oddly enough, ours aren’t really that into catnip. The little elastic hairtie loops. though – oh my GOD! Feline World War! Remember the cartoons, with the “dust cloud” of a couple guys fighting? That’s them! πŸ˜€
      Ours are just SO much like the joke about kids – $500 toy sits in the corner while the kid plays with the box. Way more fun with the box, than the dang cat tree that came in it! (shakes head)

  10. Pingback: Even Better Than The End Of The World – The Beginning Of A Year | Guapola

  11. HAHA! Omg, great cat anecdotes! I fostered a cat for a while last year, and you’re right about the catnip – I’d never believed the tales until I saw it for myself!

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