Cats juggle inter-feline relationships all the time and it is fascinating to watch the shifts and the testing that takes place. After we said goodbye to our lovely D’Artagnan – my 17 year old Somali boy – the balance in the house between the remaining 4 has been really interesting.
First of all I would have thought that Ulysses – my 6 year old Chinchilla Persian – would have remained bottom of the hierarchy where he has always been. He never argues with the girls, except to chase and play with our massive, 5 year old Maine Coon – Penny. What I hadn’t anticipated was that he is so focused on my attention that he is willing to throw his – considerable – weight around a bit to get it. Since D’Ar passed away, Ulysses has become my shadow. He sleeps on D’Ar’s pillow next to mine, he appears within minutes of me sitting down to work at my desk and settles down for the long haul. If I am there – he is there. He has started mewing piteously again when I take a bath – he thinks water is really scary.. – and he camps out on the table when I have my breakfast, chatting all the time about how important it is to not let kitties fade away into nothing (he is very solid… as in somewhat fat…).
Penny is the funniest. She has so determined that she WILL be top cat in the household and does everything to reinforce it – but always in a subtle fashion. One thing that has changed is that she suddenly vocalises a lot more than she used to. We get long, chirpy serenades addressed at my husband. Loove You, she croons. Need To Be Cuddled, she sighs, Feed Me Now?, she manages to insert.. When D’Ar was alive we used to feed Penny her food spread on the floor. She is on Prescription Diet j/d because she has arthritis, and D’Ar used to like a taste of that – but only if he could ‘steal’ it from her. After he is gone, we have gone back to feeding Penny in her activity board – a white board filled with obstacles that requires a handy paw to get anything to eat. Penny is NOT impressed and spends the whole time she is eating calling to the kibbles, interspersed with asides to us as to her opinion about this – obviously hoping that the food will magically move out on the floor. Can’t Believe They Have Put My Food In Here, she complains, while busily fishing with a paw. Come Here You Little *&%^, she grumbles as one piece of kibble eludes her. Heeere, Kibble, Kibble, she entreats… And at some point she turns around, jumps up on my husband and shouts in his face: Just Open The Door Now – Much Easier To Pinch Ulysses’ Food!!
Izabelle has taken the opportunity as well to fill out some of the space left by D’Ar. She is busy purring away and setting her firm and muscular bum on me at every opportunity she gets. Takes Up Too Much Space, she complains about Ulysses on the desk. Nice When It Is Cold, she sighs and settles into his (considerable) fur. At first she tried very hard to see if she could wrestle control from Penny, but after a period of incredulous stares from our Maine Coon (who is twice Izzie’s size), Penny finally took to chasing her energetically around the house until the point was made. You Are Not In Charge, she said firmly. Now Scoot! So instead Izzie is busy beating up the dog – as usual..
Ianthe already had her preferred times and spots for sole attention. Sofa Is Mine! She declares, busily stomping on me, purring so loudly that the whole sofa shakes. Ahhh! She sighs and plunks herself down, staring worshipfully into my eyes while gently chewing on my chin or nose depending on what she can get to.. Can Help With Cooking! She insists when I am in the kitchen making coffee or food – and promptly drapes herself around my neck and hangs over my shoulders, intently observing everything I do. Hmm, she comments, Frying Fish Not That Difficult – Let Me?
So while the space after D’Ar by no means has filled out – I don’t think anything can – the girls and the boy are doing their best to change it around a bit. To make it something different. And to get more attention while they are at it. As to my comment the other day that maybe we need another cat – NOOOO – they all said… But then I haven’t told them yet that Ianthe is due to go off next week to get mated… hmm – lots of kitties then…