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Pets Watching TV

Cat fascinated by what's on the TV screen!
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Cat fascinated by what's on the TV screen!

Are you someone who watches a lot of television?  Now, with the various subscription and streaming services, there are so many options.  In the olden days we had only four choices – three commercial networks and public television.  Even with such limited options, we still liked to watch pets on TV. 

I’m not sure exactly when Lassie was a TV star – maybe fifty years ago?  Before that Lassie was a movie star.  Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd that had his own show way back when, along with Mr. Ed, the horse.  Many television shows have included a pet as part of the cast, such as Frasier’s Eddie - and now-a-days we have Animal Planet, a cable channel devoted exclusively to, well, animals.  But according an American Kennel Club survey, pets aren’t just on TV – they watch it!  That’s right, according to the survey one of every two dogs watches TV with its human. 

Now I will admit that much of the time my dog was right there when I watched my favorite shows, and she did run to our front door whenever she heard a TV doorbell ring, but I’m not sure she was actually watching it.  Most of the time she just wanted to be wherever I was. 

I did have a cat that watched TV.  One of my favorite memories of him was the day his attention was captured by a National Geographic special on birds with the close-up pictures and natural sounds.  I noticed his tail twitching and his eyes fixed on the screen.  Suddenly he leapt, crashing into the screen, sliding to the floor, and then fleeing the room in embarrassment.  More than an hour later he finally came back into the den, walking nonchalantly as though nothing had happened.  I did notice, though, that he avoided even looking at the screen. 

When we got our first kitten, we were told that it would be more entertaining than anything on television.  But our furry friends are more than entertainment – it’s the companionship that makes it all worthwhile, when you’re speaking of pets.
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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.