M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, November 05, 2002  

Most people realize that when a household has two cats, one of those cats is going to be the boss. We have a big dumb friendly cat and a smart little pissy cat, so guess which one is the alpha cat around our place?

That’s right. They take turns.

There’s been a certain amount of on-and-off tension between them ever since we brought Orca home eleven years ago. We tried to keep them separate for a couple of days, but being youthful, wiggly, prickly little beasties back then, they breached their containment and Strat started chasing the interloper all over the apartment so he could rip her throat out. She was about the size of a chinchilla then, but she was still pretty fast. Although not fast enough. When it looked like Strat was going to catch up with her, she would just roll over on her back with all twenty of her claws pointed straight at his throat, whereupon he would decide her throat could stay where it was for now. The Spy vs. Spy routine didn’t last long, though. He was giving her baths within a week, a tradition that survives to this day as a result of the OCD so common to white cats; and she always gets very upset when he’s missing. She’s loudly alerted us more than once to a Houdini-esque escape that he’s effected.

But even though they get along ninety-five per cent of the time, spooning and snuggling like—well, like their humans—there are times when the détente breaks down. Sometimes it’s for a few minutes and sometimes it’s for a few months. But they always seem to come out even because they have different tactics.

Orca, being smaller, is understandably predisposed to hit-and-fade surprise attacks. If she’s on a chair and Strat walks by without seeing her, she’ll grab his tail or an ear, jump down on top of him, and ride him like a tiny, panicking bronco. Or if we’ve picked him up and we let him down on the floor near her, she’ll try and pull off his head while he’s still disoriented. It doesn’t matter if she’s mad at him at the time. She has a window and she’s using it. She’ll just mark it down against some other time when she actually is pissed at him.

That’s because she knows he’s bigger and can take her in a fair fight, even though he lacks her tactician’s brain. Every time she takes a shot at him, she has to weigh the amount of damage she can do against the ideal time to disappear. Sometimes she miscalculates and ends up pinned underneath his bulk, making the cat noise for “Hey! No Fair!”

That’s not to say that she always starts it. Sometimes Strat will decide to chase her or thump her or sit on her for no apparent reason. I think he’s just trying to show her who’s boss. What he doesn’t realize is that she already knows who’s boss. The fact that their answers are completely different doesn’t seem to matter to either one of them. Orca thinks she’s the alpha cat because she’s smart enough to know how to get the last bit of milk out of the bottom of a glass without tipping it over. Strat thinks he’s the alpha cat because he can make the deepest dent in the couch cushion. And they’re both right. It’s a constantly shifting balance of power.

Of course, every once in a while something will happen to shift that balance. On one of these occasions, when BuenaOnda was living with us, Strat was in a room with her. Orca came in. Strat made as if to leave. He had to pass closely by Orca to do so. Somehow, Orca sensed hostile intent from him as he approached. She leaned back and flattened her ears, ready to withstand and possibly return an attack. Strat just glared at her coldly and walked on by. Orca relaxed visibly.

Then Strat turned around and bit her right square on the anus.

Now BuenaOnda knows the cat noise for “What the fuck was that!?”

Orca seemed more shocked at having been outsmarted by the big dumb lug than by the sudden sharp pain in her little kitty fundament, and I can’t blame her. None of us expected the cat who gets lost inside the house to come up with something that clever and twisted, least of all the cat who watches us talk so she can learn how.

Strat did it a couple of more times, but since then he’s either forgotten about it, or Orca has decided to quit letting him get anywhere near her rectum. There’s probably a lesson for all of us there, but I’l be damned if I’m going to waste time looking for it.

* * *

Speaking of wasting time looking for things, I just discovered the other day that the timestamps at the bottom of my entries are actually permalinks! Who knew?

Well, a lot of people, probably. Now I can link to myself without those awkward little parentheses showing the relevant date stuck in there. And so can you! Link to me, I mean. If you want to, that is. You don’t have to. It’s just that some people do, and I appreciate it, and…

I think I’ll just stop now before somebody bites me on the pucker.

posted by M. Giant 3:23 PM 0 comments


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