Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Cammie Behaves

I think I may have written in this blog previously that cat relationships are most interesting to me. The way they develop friendships - or animosities - can be baffling, sometimes in their complexity, sometimes in their simplicity. Cammie is a good example.

My Siamese foster-cat has come a long way from the animal who refused to have anything to do with anyone, man or beast. Her relationship with me is the easiest to comprehend. We are becoming friends. She likes to be petted and stroked - except for certain mornings, when she can be a grump - and has taken to dropping onto my lap when I am at the dining table writing. She will jump up onto a neighbouring chair, cross the table and step down on to me. There she will lie, purring hard while I pay her due attention. This is inconvenient for me as it is difficult to write with one hand while stroking a cat with the other. If I stop the latter action, Cammie pops her head up to see what the disturbance is, and this is even more inconvenient. The result, as every cat-owner knows, is that I stop writing while Cammie is on my lap.

Cammie’s interaction with Josie is also rather simple: she hates my Chubs. I still believe that the injuries Cammie sustained at the start of the year were gained through a brief scuffle with Josie. I don’t think bad wounds were intended, but as is sometimes the case, trying to get away from a situation makes it worse. Anyway, my contention that the injuries were caused by Josie, whether directly or otherwise, is supported by Cammie’s reaction to the Great White. She will hiss and growl and spit as she does with no other animal. And Josie, hitherto my pacifist, has been seen staring at the guest-cat in that way we all know will lead to trouble unless contact is broken. So far, I have been able to keep the peace between them - or at least to keep battle from being joined once more.

The Siamese one’s relationship with Tungsten has matured. She is now in a renewed bout of stalking the orange one but it seems half-hearted. Whereas Cammie previously would have waited outside the bathroom for half an hour for Tungsten to emerge, she now gives up after a few minutes. And the tiny terror, for her part, is largely unconcerned with the newcomer, and even hissing is rare between them.

While Cammie has little interaction with Tucker or Bear-Bear other than the odd hiss which is usually ignored, it is with Renn that her most complex relationship exists. To hear the two of them much of the time, one would think that they loathe each other, almost as much as Cammie does Josie. One will encounter the other coming out of a room; there will be hissing and growling and a stalemate, until one decides to move, slowly, cautiously, past the other.

Yet, I have seen numerous instances of one of the pair going downstairs to the litter-box, and the other following, purposefully, sneakingly. First Cammie will do this, then, the next day, it is Renn. This results, of course, in another hissing stalemate. But if the one dislikes the other, why go out of the way to shorten proximity? Other times, one will wait on the far side of the nylon tunnel to surprise the other; both do this but Renn achieves the better result, since Cammie is more spectacularly startled. The outcome? More hisses, growling, flattened ears.

Do they dislike each other? Do they like each other? Do they like to dislike each other? Is it a game they play? I am intrigued by what the future will bring in the relationship of Cammie and Renn. I don’t expect it to remain the same, but which direction will it take? I think it was King Charles II who said, while watching testimony in a divorce proceeding, “It’s better than a play!”


  1. It could be a bit of distrust.. following one another to make sure they aren't 'up to no good' kind of thing, or to keep an eye to make sure that they can't be snuck up on.. *shrug* I do say i really like the book "Cat vs Cat" to help explain how cats interact with one another

  2. Cat behavior is fascinating. But just when you think you might have it figured out, they change and do something completely different! My Rocky and Annabelle are siblings and were really close up until about age one, and now ten years later they merely co-exist with little interaction. I can soooo relate to the "it's hard to pet a cat and type" thing. Just one more reason there are days when I am far less productive than I should be, mol.

  3. I don't think they can really dislike each other, or surely they wouldn't lie so close to each other and so obviously relaxed. Maybe you are right and they are playing a game.

  4. It is so hard to understand, it's more complex than we can ever know.

  5. I assume as long they're not fighting, the tolerance should increase as time goes by. Saku was the last cat to join the household, he still has hissy fits with Sami and Sasha, but they will all sleep on the same bed or couch.

    Hope the hissing levels decline!