Cat and Dog lived happily together. And that for quite some time.
They had a fine relationship, always being there for one another, in the good and in the bad times. In the happy, in the sad …. we all get the picture but we also know that this does not make for a good story.
The Cat was not displeased with the Dog, nor in anyway unhappy. They simply had become best friends (or had they ever been anything else?). They had one of those relationships that never had a peak nor trough. The kind of relationship were just before it splits one would say “ahhh remember how good it was ….” except they didn’t have a “good moment” - it was always just good!
And once they split, all their friends would be suitably surprised uttering those famous words: but they were the perfect couple.
But Dog and Cat hadn’t done any of that splitting stuff - that was for the birds. They were, after all, a couple. A couple that mostly spent their time working different jobs and occasionally seeing each other at home. Having nice times and holidays together while each having their own separate circle of friends.
One could go as far as saying convenient as opposed to convincing.
Unfortunately the Dog, being the slightly less observant creature, thought this was perfect and loved the relationship with the Cat. And also assumed the same was true for the Cat. Which, as we all expect from a good story, was definitely not the case.
The Cat was getting more and more distant from the Dog. Now in this situation, the Cat could come clean with the Dog and speak their mind, or at least mention the fact that perhaps there could some changes made to the relationship. Or even just tell the Dog that it’s no longer working. Or even better just split from the Dog. Walk away from the relationship.
But no. The Cat had one wish and that was not to hurt the Dog. After all you don’t hurt a good friend, a partner is something else (far more dispensable). And that is what the Dog was to the Cat: a very good friend that, above all, should not be hurt in any shape or form.
Now the Cat was faced with a dilemma. How to get out of the relationship without hurting the feelings of the Dog? How to fix the relationship without hurting the Dog? Of course, the Cat wasn’t doing anything wrong and everything that was wrong with the relationship was the fault of the Dog, so it was no good for the Cat to change - it had no faults.
So the Cat would make signs. Subtle indications that something was wrong. But unfortunately the Dog, not being that observant, noticed none of these subtle warnings. In fact, the Dog was convinced he was in a relationship for life and was happier than a pig in mud.
The Cat began to step up these subtle hints. What else could the Cat do? But one after another came to nought.
One day, the Cat met the Rat. The Cat found the Rat rather desirable, both intellectually and physically. The Rat a very cautious but polite creature was rather taken aback by the Cats advances. Particular since the Rats ancestors and relations had had very bad experiences with cats. However, rats are also very inquisitive and this rat was no exception.
So story by story, the Rat got to know the Cats situation very well and was at a loss to decide what to do. The Rats feeling for the Cat were very much reciprocal - no doubts in the Rats mind. However the Rat had no desire to hurt the Dogs feelings by starting an affair with the Cat. Of course, the Dog need not know and the Rat and the Dog did not interact on a regular basis, however the Rat - and here is the problem - had a conscience and moral sense! (Now we could go into question why a Rat would have such emotions however this isn’t a Freudian study of rats.)
It was crystal clear for the Rat that his role was to be yet another subtle hint for the Dog. The Rat having discarded the notions of true love and love at first sight long ago (the Rat happened also to be a rather sceptical creature).
Nevertheless the Rat was obviously very flattered by the advances of the rather attractive Cat. So being stuck in the middle, the Rat decided to consult his good friend, the wise old Owl.
The Owl being wiser and smarter than the Rat was stunned by the moral conscience of the Rat (owls aren’t known for their empathy). The Owl explained that the Cat is one with the final decision and even if the Rat were to get involved, it is obvious that the Cat bears the burden of responsibility. It is she who makes the hardest decision, the Rats decision is irrelevant, a mere footnote in the big scheme of things.
That got the Rats back up! How dare the Owl suggest that the Rats decision is a mere drop in the ocean of bad choices? The Rat reaffirmed his moral doubts by pointing out that since the Dog had absolutely no idea that the relationship is a failure, the Dog will naturally blame the Rat for that failure. Then one of two things will happen, either the Cat will go back to the Dog, leaving the Rat to ponder his stupidity or the Dog will hate the Rat for longer than the Rat can count. The Cat would obviously not speak to the Dog and point that out, in fact, it was she who initiated all this. Not that would do much good, since the Dog would insist that Rat was brainwashing the Cat.
(Of course, the third way is that they all become best of friends and live happily ever after. And storks bring children and Father Christmas lives at the North Pole.)
The Owl, having listened to an enraged Rat for quite some time began his own story. It was a story not unlike this one. Of course, the Owl was far more wise and always insisted that the Cat (in his story) should be sure of her actions. Of course she was not. And once the Cat did inform the Dog, the Dogs hatred was solely and steadfastly focussed on the Owl. The Owl pointed out that, those times weren’t the happiest of times.
The irony wasn’t lost of the Rat. However things weren’t any clearer for him. His suspicions that he was merely a bit-part in a B-grade movie, the excuse to avoid self inflicted failure or an escape plan in a story without a plot had grown. But what to do?
Then it dawned on the Rat. To relieve the conflict between desire and moral, the Rat sent the Cat this fable. He would have sent it to the Dog but he didn’t have his contact details.
And the moral of the story? Rats are far to stupid to be cunning.