Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Letter of the Law

We don’t have a top-cat at the Cosy Apartment. We have had only one top-cat, and that was Tungsten. She was like the great barbarian chieftain who managed to bring all the tribes together under her rule. When she died, the tribes began squabbling and the confederation disintegrated. There is no ruler anymore.

Josie comes closest, I think, but she cares to assert herself only at the food-bowl. She is more of a ‘first among equals’ than an actual leader. When she wants to eat from the hard-food bowl, and there is already a cat present, she will stare at them. Then she will step closer, and stare at them some more. Rarely, it will come to blows, but the Great White always wins.

Neville, being the newest, had to learn the rules. He has, but his interpretation of them is unique, and literal. This is his reaction to Josie’s unspoken demand that he move away from the food-bowl.

Josie was clearly uncomfortable with the proximity while she ate, but she was hungry and Nevsky had done what he was told. This is what happens when you being a barrack-room lawyer into the household…


  1. My Lucy—who was very like Tungsten—had the same effect in my household. After she passed on, chaos reigned.

  2. Back when I had 12 cats — yes, 12 between 2006-2008, my sweet Manx, Butterball, was king of the Clowder. He was very benevolent but if there was ever any hissing or growling going on between the cats, Butterball would pad up to the offending cats and sit down in front of them. Nothing was said, just a stare that would unnerve the offending cats to walk away. Worked every time. When he died in 2008 I told everyone that I felt like we were on a rudderless ship...

    1. Twelve! With that many, you needed a Butterball.

  3. I don't think there is a top-cat in my household, but out of all my cats, Joey seems to be the most easy going. He's more than happy to move away If any of the other cats approach the food bowl while he's eating.

  4. My daughter has two rescue Staffy's, and
    up until last year four rescued cats..
    because of age three of the cats..have
    gone over, and only big black Louie is
    left..he always rules the roost, even
    including the two dogs..he struts about
    the house, that's about it, that's really
    all he does, when the other three were still
    there, they'd just move out of his way, if he
    should walk by..and the dogs still do..! :).

  5. I laughed at Josie's strategy, and at how Neville complies. Maybe I should try Josie's tactics, the next time I want something from someone. :-D

  6. It's nice to see Neville trying to interpret the house rules!

  7. "close but no cigar" for Neville! Learning the rules is difficult for
    humans and cats. At least Neville sees that Josie is not kidding over
    who is first come, first serve. I just bet he eventually gets his fill.

  8. That Josie...she's asserting herself!

  9. I love reading the dynamics of the household. I didn't know that about Tungsten. I really got to know all of you after Tungsten passed. That is when I became aware of the blog and the family.

  10. When my MIL died we took on her cats and had 10 with our own. She always had the males neutered but for some reason, never the females. There were 2 females, Mother Puss and Auntie Puss who were sisters. (Don't blame me, I didn't name them!) The first thing I did was take them in to be spayed. We had to bring Mother Puss back with us as she was already in kitten again.
    She had a litter of 7 and we found good homes for 6 and kept the 7th, Kitty YumBum.
    Mother Puss was 5 pounds of ferocious tortie and no-one dared argue with her. She was the mother of most of the cats and ruled with a paw of iron, and nobody ate until she had finished.

  11. When our Buddy Budd passed the same thing happened. He ruled with a soft paw but it was known that the 17 pound fellow was the very top of the heap. Even as he aged he still had the respect of the others except Toby ,who he used to whack every now and again, who figured it was now safe to give a tap or two back. Buddy still gave it a go and Toby was mystified even if no longer running for the hills. It is something the way cats interact and we hope things settle. We are still waiting at our home for some form of rearranging