Basenjis are known to be catlike. They fastidiously clean themselves. They are independent and generally do not like to get wet. Damp grass is dreadful, rain even more so. They bat at things with their paws the way cats do, and they often possess the cat’s commando-like ability to climb fences. Does this similarity extend to purring when they’re happy?
Ivan and Dasa issue forth an extraordinary repertoire of sounds, hums, chortles, snorts, and groans. When Ivan is happy, he makes a variety of contented noises. Rub his back, massage his ears, stroke lazy circles on his tummy, and his sounds of contentment seem a great deal like happy purrs. Sometimes he also offers the whirring mini helicopter noises guinea pigs make. He makes low rumbling noises that are punctuated by sighs. From time to time he makes little chut chut chut noises as though he’s a contented barnyard chicken. Sometimes it’s an under his breath delighted woobling, almost like a pigeon cooing.
When Dasa is snuggled into a comfy spot, or receives cuddles, tummy rubs, or gentle scratchies behind her ears, she signals her blissful state with purrs that are more like peaceful sighs.
And then there are the mumbles when Ivan is not pleased with something, but the dissatisfaction is not serious enough to warrant outraged yodels, (“Where’s my dinner? I could starve and die right here!”) These are the times when he mutters under his breath about the general lack of service, having his muddy feet cleaned, or some other indignity. This complaining sounds like any adult in a Charlie Brown film: “Mwah mwah mwah, mwah mwah.”
And so, well-trained basenji slaves that we are, we work to improve service and solve the problem so we once again hear happy little purrs, those wondrous quiet sounds of contentment.