Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Me and My Girls

I don’t know whether it is because of the environment - their home - or the fact that they are usually outnumbered by the males, or whether it is simply my luck in drawing certain kinds of cats, but all the female cats who have lived with me for any length of time have been dominant to a greater or lesser degree.

First, of course, there was Tungsten. She was the household’s top-cat. There was a moment when she was challenged by one of my foster-cats, Wixie (that in itself signifying another dominant girlcat), but, fortunately, the contender was adopted with her more passive friend, Mystery. Wixie was a big, barrel-shaped cat and, if it had come to it, would have beaten Tungsten in a fight. But the Tiny Terror stood up to the newcomer nonetheless, and was still top-cat when she departed.

I recall a time when Renn was new to the family. My big boy then, as now, needed to smell everything with that big nose of his. He had become less shy by this point and wanted to sniff Tungsten, who was on my lap. Tungsten took exception to this and struck him a blow on the top of his head that made my teeth rattle. After that, Renn was most respectful, and they became good friends.

Luther, a foster-cat who had the worrying characteristic of attacking every other cat on sight, grappled very fiercely with Tungsten one evening. Luther, a lean orange boy, didn’t seem to have hostility in him, just aggression. But that fine distinction didn’t prevent some terrible battles, in one of which, the Tiny Terror lived up to her name and, despite her diminutive size, gave as good as she got. (Luther was eventually adopted, paired with a kitten, Fortune. He never had any harshness for Fortune, who grew up bigger and tougher than Luther. They remained friends and playmates until Luther’s untimely death, recently.)

The other cats, newcomers and long-established residents, seemed to comprehend that Tungsten was the queen. She grew more tolerant as she aged, though this was probably also due to her increasing illness. There hasn’t been a top-cat in the household since.

Josie was a pacifist in many ways, but she was also a strong force in the family. When I adopted her as a chum for Tungsten, the two girls fought, physically. They eventually settled down and tolerated each other. Josie acknowledged Tungsten’s superior place in the hierarchy, and, in return, Josie was allowed to do much that other cats could not.

Though usually peaceful, the Great White not only had her differences with Tungsten, initially, but took the orange one’s part in the conflict with Wixie. I recall seeing Josie and Wixie rolling in earnest battle one day, fur flying everywhere. In those days, my Chubs was just that, a hefty girl, not as big as Wixie, but big enough. That was Josie’s last fight; thereafter, she would content herself with mean-sounding growls when pushed too far.

In her old age, Josie became my ‘housekeeper’, my support in the household, and the boys gave her the respect she demanded and deserved.

Cammie’s story, for those who recollect it, speaks for itself. Abused in her former home, she was tough and distrustful. I was rather apprehensive of her myself. She didn’t like the other cats - though for a long time she seemed to want to be friends with Tungsten - or at least was fascinated by her - and let everyone know it.

Her warnings were quite varied, from a sharp bark - “Ranh!” - to a drawn-out growl to a yowl. She and I became friends and she would lie on my neck at night, purring. But she would decide when and where I could give my attention and when she was done with me, I would be dismissed: “Ranh!”

And when she had a stroke and lost her sight, she didn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself; she started adapting right away. Her blindness merely accentuated her expectations to be waited upon: her hard-food and water was close to her heated bed and her soft-food was brought to her - and taken away when she issued the usual dismissal - “Ranh!” She was a true princess.

And now, there is Minuet. She is ancient and deaf; she was brought to a strange environment from where she had lived for sixteen years. She had to deal with an unknown human and unfamiliar cats, any one of whom might have been a danger to her. Madame didn’t shrink from the challenge, however, and made her displeasure known whenever it was incurred. And it was incurred a lot by the other felines - and sometimes by me - in her early days in the Cosy Apartment.

Now, she is more accustomed to her surroundings, and to her roommates. They annoy her less. Yet when she yowls in protest, the others take notice. Hector, the youngster, still does a volte-face, retreating with as much dignity as he can muster. With me Minuet is a little less demanding, but still calls for attention when she wants it, and makes her desire for a dish of soft-food known.

My boy cats can be assertive, both with me and with each other, but none is that by nature. They certainly ask for what they want, and can be quite persistent. This is, of course, different than dominant. While the government of the Cosy Apartment has no one top-cat, there appear to be a number of high-ranking officials, and all of them are female. Luck? Circumstance? Situation? I may never know. But I will always know who is in charge.


  1. That's an interesting observation. Most of the cats I've known have been males, but now that I think of it, all the girls I've known also had very assertive natures. They definitely saw themselves as the queens of their realm.

  2. Never doubt how strong and resilient females are, of any species, mol.
    The females will dominate your life, especially the feline sort.

  3. What a great post, and I enjoyed reading your observations. I had no idea that you had so many fosters as I had never heard about Wixie, Luther and Mystery before. Most of my cats have been males, but I have noticed that the females I've had seem to be more dominant. I guess that's why female cats are called "queens" and if two women are fighting, you definitely don't want to get in the middle of a "catfight"! :-)

    1. This post was written as far back as 2013(!) but it describes some of my early fosters, with a few of whom you may be familiar: https://ihavethreecats.blogspot.com/search?q=fosters+I+have+known

    2. I too was surprised to learn you've had so many fosters who stayed with you only a brief time. It's good to know they all found happy perma-homes. (Especially that poor guy who had to eat wood chips...)

  4. That was really interesting, so many loving personalities along the way.

  5. My Silver and Sami were both very much the Princess and the Queen Bee. But Shady was a quiet, tolerant girl. So I'm not sure if it their gender or placement in the household that brings out the attitude. But none of my male cats have ever exhibited that kind of behaviour.

  6. Thanks for sharing the hierarchy tales of youur kitties. It always fascinates me how cats do one of three things. They hate everyone, they tolerate everyone, or they want/need to be the boss of them all! LOL!
    Suki for sure was our queen...Even at 6 months she lorded it over the newer kitten.
    Minko was the boss over Pipo,and even the dog, MJF.

  7. Ah! Lovely post John...mid morning in an hour
    or two, l'll make myself a lemon tea, and go through
    it all again..
    And..look at Minuet at the bottom there..what a 'lovely'

  8. What a lovely walk down memory lane!
    It's nice to read that Madame Minuet appears to be comfortable at The Tiny Apartment; I feel sad that she lost her home, yet know that she is cared for and loved now.

  9. girls rule and we always have and always will and that’s the way it has been and should be for all time until like the end of eternity which is never with hugs to each of you because from dai$y who enjoyed this
    post ❤️❤️

  10. The girlcat's hard drive is made that way. Human women too. Men are men...women are women. I rather like that.

  11. We have had mostly male cats, but the females have always been the boss. The most notable was Mother Puss who was Kit's mother. She wasn't spiteful, but no-one dared cross her. She sent several dogs packing who dared to venture on to her property including the vet's dog. She had claws of steel and knew how to use them. She had to because she had no teeth!

    1. My Robin jumped on a dog's back if he came into her territory. She was the last of our indoor/ outdoor cats. Everyone else has been strictly indoor.

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  13. There was no one in our household more dominant than the tinest : Abby. Once she attacked my parents jack russell dog when she invaded her house. She was on her (the dogs) back before I could stop her. And believe you me, she kept me in my place too with those teefs! She was a biter. I should say a pincher. She only got bite me once (that was certainly enough) to send me to the ER for antibiotics. Yes, the ladies do know how to be the Queen in the house.