One of my lesser known claims to fame is that we had a circus dog as a pet.  To be more precise it was my sisters who had the circus performer, and to be even more accurate our boxer dog, Bella, never actually performed in a touring circus.  But that is a minor matter. My sisters did indeed spend hours trying to train Bella for her starring role in a circus. Sadly though, Bella never managed to master the required number of tricks that would have propelled her and my sisters to fame and fortune.

Their first success was in teaching Bella to skip. Hours of swinging skipping ropes and encouraging our somewhat silly Boxer dog to join in, finally bore fruit, and Bella would happily jump up and down for quite some time, or until she spotted the family cats sitting and smirking at these silly antics. At that point Bella would remember her dignity and would slink off to avoid any further sneers from the seriously snooty felines!

The circus training continued with a variety of other suggested acts, some of which were significantly less successful than others.  But the main memory was the way in which the two cats both watched the training with what can only be described as an air of smug superiority!

Now you may be wondering just how this particular memory suddenly popped into my head at this time. I had been busy preparing a room for being painted and the rather tedious repetitive scrubbing of skirting boards and work surfaces lets the mind wander. I was suddenly distracted by one of our current cats demanding breakfast and I realised that I was some way down the pecking order of importance in this house.

That was when I recalled a conversation between my wife and our son.

‘No mum, dogs have much bigger brains than cats. It’s a proven scientific fact!  Actually I think there is even some stuff on the fact that women’s brains are smaller than men’s.’ he added in a slightly provocative manner

‘Don’t be silly, every cat I know could run rings round a dog. Cats are definitely cleverer than dogs!’

‘No, dogs and cats have been used in scientific experiments and it is a well known fact that dogs actually have bigger brains and can learn many more tricks than cats.’

‘Of course they can. That’s because cats don’t want to learn any silly tricks. They are above such stupidity!’

My wife was clear that this demonstrated her point massively and so, as far as she was concerned, the matter was closed.

My son, who happened to have science and truth on his side tried to reason with her, but that was pretty pointless. Just like the cats that refused to play ball with their scientist chums, my wife was not willing to take any further part in the discussion.

As I scrubbed and muttered to myself I then started to imagine whether it would be possible to train a domestic animal to actually take over some of the more tedious jobs in life. Say, for example, washing down surfaces in preparation for decorating.

Which was when I realised what would happen. Hand the task to a loyal dog and despite the lack of an opposing thumb to help hold a brush or cloth, the damned dog would do its very best to try and help.  Ask a cat, on the other hand and you would be met with a stare of such hostility and disdain that your only option would be to slink off into a corner embarrassed at your own stupidity in asking them to do such a thing.

In fact, given some of the cats I know, I am pretty sure that they would happily take on the role of interior decorator, suggesting that such and such a throw would match the cushions nicely.  But to soil their paws with any actual work, well really!

So I recalled the cats and their look of unspeakable horror at Bella the Boxer actually attempting to learn tricks.  I then put that against the straight scientific fact that dogs have bigger brains than cats.  That was when I came to the startling conclusion that cats are rather like women.

They may not necessarily be blessed with as big a brain as their male counterparts, but by goodness they utilise their native cunning to run rings round us.  And we mere males just get ready to learn the next set of tricks they are preparing for us.

Now, has anyone seen a set of hoops?  I need them for something apparently!  At least that is what Da Boss just mentioned.