Tungsten doesn’t like Tucker.
The roly-poly one has been with us for six months now. There is something about Tucker that rubs Tungsten the wrong way. I’ve been trying to recall how long it took for my top-cat to learn to tolerate Renn. I’m sure it was less than six months. Renn, by the way, will have lived with me a year next month. He and Tungsten are probably the closest of any combination of cats at my house. They have even groomed each other to a small extent.
But Tucker remains a thorn in the orange one’s side.
One of the problems, at least in this regard, is that Tucker is more playful than Renn, despite being older. Tucker will follow the other cats about, sometimes chasing them. This has led to exchanges of words with Josie, and even a few swats with Renn. Tungsten, who is not a ‘playing’ cat is the least receptive to such overtures, and treats them with hostility.
For the most part, their interaction is neutral: neither bothers the other. But sometimes, inevitably, Tucker will find himself too close to Tungsten’s for the latter’s comfort. This usually results in hisses or growls. Once in a while, the orange one will refrain from protest and allow Tucker to retreat quietly. Tucker will do so, as he knows a fight may ensue otherwise.
Tucker can be mischievous, though, and will pursue Tungsten, following her, despite warnings. I think the smaller cat is reluctant to submit their dispute to the arbitriment of the claw, as it were, as her size would tell against her in any battle lasting more than a few seconds. I think she is aware of this. That was the disadvantage under which she laboured with respect to Wixie, a former foster-cat at my apartment who, despite her otherwise wonderful character, was, I’m sure, determined to usurp Tungsten’s position as top-cat. In that case, Tungsten’s growls and hisses were not minded; Wixie continued to press her challenge, and Tungsten refrained from fighting. It was a relief for us when Wixie was adopted, especially as she is happy at her new home.
This is not to say that there haven’t been scraps between Tungsten and Tucker. They got into a screaming melee last week, though all that resulted was a great lot of tufts of hair flying about. And a few nights ago, Tucker jumped onto the bed, not knowing Tungsten was at his landing spot. Cats flew in every direction a second later, let me tell you.
But Tucker is, as I wrote, mischievous, not ambitious. When he deliberately causes a problem, it’s not meant maliciously. He wants to have fun, and wants to have that fun with others. He reminds me in a small way of a former foster-cat of mine, Devon. He was very rambunctious. (He continued that behaviour in his new home, though it gradually has lessened, and with the addition of a big brother for him to play with and idolise, he is much more manageable and less trouble to the other cats there.) Tucker is not nearly as rowdy as Devon, but the desire for fun and companionship is there. Renn is more of a fit for Tucker’s games, but the roly-poly one doesn’t see why everyone can’t join in.
The fault is certainly not all on Tucker’s side. Tungsten can be a grumpy old woman sometimes, and she is stubborn.
An example occurred last Saturday. I was having a bath and, as usual, Tungsten wandered in when she heard the bath-water running. She likes to lie on the bath-math while I’m in the tub. Tucker likes to sit in the room with us. This time, after a while, Tucker left and lie down outside the door, so that if Tungsten wished to leave, she had to pass the roly-poly pudding spread out on the threshold. Renn would have walked past; Josie would have hurried by. Not Tungsten. She growled. She whined. She looked out through the half-open doorway and hissed. She got up on the counter, next the basin, and peered through the doorway some more, perhaps hoping the different angle would change things. It hadn’t. She cast about the bathroom, looking at the ceiling, the wall, the window. I told her, yes, the window was a way out but she wasn’t going to use it. She sat and pouted. It wasn’t until I left the bathroom and Tucker moved that Tungsten felt she could leave, too. She would have stayed there all night if necessary. The irony is that it wouldn't have been necessary; Tungsten would have made it so.
But she lies next to Renn, and has washed him, briefly, and been washed by him, equally briefly. If that can happen, anything can. One day, I’ll come home and see Tungsten and Tucker snuggled against each. I’ll turn around, go out again and buy a ticket for the biggest lottery prize I can find.