Thursday, January 19, 2006

Perfume tester

After that horrible period of time where Dinah wouldn't have anything to do with Bob, and would hiss and growl anytime she saw him, things seemed to have settled down a lot. She seemed to decide that he was okay again, and would come in to the office and demand cuddle time, curling up and settling in on his chest and purring, sometimes even if Pyewacket was already on his lap.

Then he called me one day last week and said that she had jumped up on him like always, got up on his chest, stopped, sniffed, then got up in his face and hissed, then turned and ran away. A cat hissing at you is scary enough, but to have one get right up in your face . . . it worried me. She did it at least one more time that I remember; he said maybe he had had Pye on his lap before, and she smelled Pye, but it's not exactly like that would be strange enough to warrant the reaction.

A couple of days later, he called and said that she seemed to like him again, that she was back on his lap.

Then yesterday she did it again, jumped up on his lap, froze and freaked out, hissed, turned, and ran. Through the process of elimination--he hadn't been around dogs, hadn't been holding Pyewacket, didn't, as far as we knew, smell like anything weird--he decided that maybe it was his aftershave or deoderant. Yesterday he had run out of his regular deoderant and was using something different (Axe), and last week when it happened he was using some new aftershave that I had bought him for Christmas (Claiborne for Men, as I recall).

I actually think that must be it. I noticed that he had thrown out the other deoderant, which kind of made me laugh. This morning he was getting ready to leave, and I hugged him and said, "You smell good! Does Dinah like this one?" He said he didn't know, but it was something that he'd had for awhile, and he hadn't noticed her freaking out when he wore it.

I told him I guessed I'd have to buy him something new if he wasn't able to wear what I bought him for Christmas. I said maybe I was going to have to take Dinah along with me when I went shopping. I'd spray some on my hand, and let her sniff it, and if she hissed, well, try again. I guess it's a good thing that I haven't changed my perfume for years. I've worn Clinique "Aromatics" for probably 25 years. I hate to think what would happen if I got something new. Seems Dinah hates change even more than I do.

Ooh, I just had a thought! Wouldn't she be great during the holidays in department stores, when you go through the cosmetics department and are accosted by people wanting to spray you with perfume? She could just bite them or something.

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Anonymous said...

Loved this entry. Wonder what Dinah would do if she smelled Old Spice. Yes! that is what my hubby loves more than the expensive stuff I buy him. But he does wear the good stuff when we go out and the yukky...old spice when he's around the house.

Anonymous said...

My husband just said something that maybe you already thought of -maybe Bob's new cologne makes Dinah think that he's a stranger, and maybe not so much that she doesn't like the smell. Kind of like my favorite "The Far Side" when a dog security guard at a hospital says to a doctor dog trying to get in "I'm sure you are who you say you are, but I'm still going to have to smell your butt" *giggling*

Willa said...

Oh, I didn't think of that! Maybe so. I do know that whatever we have to do to make Dinah comfortable, we do. She's quite high strung. :)

Anonymous said...

It's possible, too, that there is some particular chemical that the two aftershave/colognes have in common that mimics a threat pheromone, so when she smells it, it elicits the appropriate cat response from her.

The whole world of smells is largely closed to us, but as science learns more it becomes clear that it is a highly complex and rich world. There's a whole universe of factors out there we never have to deal with (thank goodness!).

Willa said...

I wondered about that, too, whether there might be some musk or something in them that triggered that response.

Anonymous said...

I wonder -- is Dinah's eyesight okay? I haven't had anything like this happen with our cat, but it has happened with two family dogs, both times when their eyesight was getting bad, due to age. It would explain why the different smell scares Dinah so much.

Willa said...

Hm. That's an idea. Simon -- the dog at work -- has taken to barking when it's obviously someone he knows, and we wonder if he may be having trouble seeing, too. Something to think about, certainly.