Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blessi and Merci--The Icelandic Horse and the Burmese Cat

Blessi checks out Merci, who is not at all bothered
by the huge, odd smelling dog .

Note the handle of my tack box on the floor
since handles play a role later in the adventure.
Blessi has always adored cats.  Whenever we board at a stable with cats, Blessi makes friends with any local felines.  Our current stable does not have cats so I decided to take my kitty Merci to the barn for a visit.  Normally I would not recommend taking an indoor cat to the barn but Merci is a Burmese cat.  Burmese cats are like the Icelandic horses of the cat world (and Siamese are like the Arabs).

The National Alliance of Burmese Breeders gives the following description of the Burmese temperament:
Merci gets to check out Blessi to confirm her original
thought that Blessi is odd but harmless.
"Burmese are the ultimate companion cats. Often cited as the most affectionate of all cat breeds, they love being with people, playing with them, and keeping them entertained. They crave close physical contact with their people. Often referred to as “velcro cats”, they abhor an empty lap, will follow their humans from room to room, and sleep in bed with them, preferably under the covers, cuddled as close as possible. When they play, they often try to entertain. They will actually check to see if you’re is  [sic] watching their crazy antics. They are very intelligent, and often stubborn. ”  That's a very accurate description of Merci's personality.  It also explains why  Burmese do not make good outdoor cats since they are very trusting and think all God's creatures are their friends.
Blessi tries to show how friendly he is by
grooming Merci behind her ears.

The two creatures are introduced as Merci shelters in her carry case.  She seems quite interested and Blessi is fascinated.  Introductions outside the case are equally successful.  Through practice with his other feline friends, Blessi knows how to groom Merci gently behind her ears.  (When Blessi was introduced to a bunny at a horse show, he groomed the laid back bunny behind the ears also.)

The introduction is going really well so we move on to riding lessons.  Merci makes the typical novice  mistake of not using a centered riding position.  Even so she starts to purr.

Blessi somehow knows ho to pick up the case.
He must have learned through observing me
pick up his tack box, which is a re-purposed tool box.
Lish takes a turn holding Merci while Blessi tries to make off with the carry case.  How does he know to grab the case by the handle?  And he does it with no hesitation which doubly surprising since he does not have a carry case to practice with.   (At the end of the session as I was carrying Merci back to the truck, I put the carry case down on the arena ground.  Darn if Blessi does not pick up the carry case and try to walk away with Merci.  He hasn't had much practice carrying a case in an stable position so I have to rescue Merci before she slips and slides too much.)

Blessi and Merci had a great visit. Here we are--three species at the end of wonderful play day. I wonder if Merci might like to ride a tolt some day.  Merci is a purebred Burmese but I adopted her from a local cat rescue.  Merci was found wandering the streets of Ridgefield WA. Blessi gives a big shout out to the animal rescue groups of the world.

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