Friday, September 27, 2013

The Ambition of a Cat

Cammie, one of my guest-cats, is certainly making her presence felt. I think she is bidding to become top-cat, which is causing some disturbance in the household.

The principal object of her attention is the current top-cat, Tungsten. She’s always been in charge, and was challenged for her position only once before, by a foster-cat named Wixie. The latter was a big grey and white female, who was adopted long ago with her friend, Mystery, who was also staying with me. I feared Wixie’s attempt to take control from Tungsten because she was much bigger than my orange one and would have defeated her in any physical confrontation.

Cammie is about the same size as Tungsten, though heavier. The guest-cat has not shown any overt hostility to Tungsten, but follows her closely. When Tungsten sits on top of the bathroom counter to drink from the basin, Cammie is lurking behind the toilet. When Tungsten lies on the bed for a snooze, Cammie will hop up and stare at her. Even going to the litter-box, Tungsten will emerge to find the newcomer hiding around a corner. I think my old cat may be feeling a bit imprisoned.

Despite the fact that when Tungsten runs to get away from Cammie, the latter chases her, there has been no fighting. The orange one has been hissing and growling a great deal, while Cammie hisses only at me when I tell her to move along. The guest-girl continues to be friendly toward me for the most part, though getting her used to petting is a work in progress.

Cammie also exerts her authoritative character with the others. She dislikes Renn, but only because my big boy likes to take her place on the cat-tree in the parlour, though once in a while Tucker will lie there. That causes a bit of congestion at times. Cammie will follow and chase the roly poly one, but, as with Tungsten, only if Tucker flees. Cammie tends to rely upon her unnerving proximity for intimidation.

Sometimes Cammie is perfectly amenable to the other cats. She will lie for hours, snoozing, and ignoring her roommates. She will consent to me stroking and petting her, and seems even to enjoy it, though she’s an inscrutable one much of the time. Mornings will often find her lying on a cat-tree or even on the rug in the sitting room, relaxing in the sunshine, if there is any.

But there is a distrust in her of the others, which I am working to ameliorate. There isn’t much I can do actively in that regard, except encourage her to sit quietly with the others, and to calm them when she is near. Tucker is prone to nervousness and will dislike the new girl’s presence. Yet sometimes the roles are reversed, and Cammie is unsettled by the others’ nearness. In that case, she will exit quickly, often hissing, even though the others are clearly no threat to her.

But this all may be a phase. I hope it is. Cammie will make a marvellous friend for someone; she just has to get used to the fact that most humans will want to treat her well. And if she can become accustomed to other cats, and realise that they mean her no harm and may even want to be chums, then she will prosper all the more. This will take time and patience. I think she would do better with fewer cats with which to contend, and to that end the rescue-group with whom I volunteer, the Lethbridge PAW Society, and I would like to see Cammie in another foster-home, perhaps one less crowded. But while she is with me, I will do what I can to show her what a good life can be.


  1. Frankly, I'm thinking she'd do well in a single-cat home, eventually. Not every feline adapts to having other cats (or pets in general) around. I think it can be harder to adopt out a cat that needs to be the only one, though, as so many of us already have at least one cat and/or dog in our homes. Fingers crossed for her...Only time will tell. :-)

  2. She seems to be interested in the others, even if she's not very friendly. I hope she finds a home soon. Cammie is absolutely beautiful girl, I"m positive someone will fall in love with her.

  3. interest is always ok. sometimes I wonder about their socialization as kittens.... it certainly does make a difference in how they relate to people and other animals. but it sounds like - despite some hiccups - things are going ok.

  4. So interesting our distant and close relations and how they change from time to time and then minute to minute