We have a bit of a dominance issue among our furry kids. For many years Ella ruled as "top cat", sometimes subtly (she is the one to make sure we humans remember to fill the food bowls twice a day) and sometimes through arrogance by ignoring the two youngest cats when she walks past them. But she never fought with any cats to be on top. Then one day we met Felix in the parking lot of Costco. He was hungry, dirty, not fixed, and needed a home. Life for Ella has never been the same. Felix wants to be king cat and Ella is not happy about this. Felix bullies the other cats and sometimes has all-out fights with Ella. I've tried the Feliway plug-ins (a pheromone) but it's an expensive solution at about $18 a bottle and the cost of electricity to run it. So I bought the book Cat vs. Cat to help find a better way to keep the fur from flying. On an aside, I also bought a Furminator, which is fantastic for removing excess hair and which will hopefully cut down on the shedding. I should have taken a picture of the piles of hair we collected from each cat. Enough to spin...if I wanted to do that but ew, I think not.
Having been owned by cats for quite a number of years, I didn't learn much that was new from the book but it did corroborate my own thinking and observations. There is a pecking order and it goes: Ella, Felix, Sergei, Abby...with Ella and Felix jostling for the top spot and Abby content to spend her life hiding from the world. When Felix gets upset or we've played with his white feet too much (oh, the white feeeeeet!), he beats up on Sergei or Abby. So we really need to be more aware of his feelings and not tease him, even though it's out of love but he doesn't understand that.
One thing I hadn't really considered too much was how the cats must divvy up the space in the house for their own territories. They have done a pretty good job of claiming the living room. We redid the room a few years ago and bought a beautiful leather couch for it and hoped to use the room for...well, I'm not really sure actually. The TV is in the family room so I guess the living room is for sitting. And curling up with a good book* But as soon as the paint dried and the furniture was moved back in, the cats took it back as theirs and now the new couch is covered with throws to protect it from their claws as they run across it and from the hair. Oh, the hair! Hopefully Furminator will help with that.
Here are three smug cats in their room, on their couch. The two tabbies are Ella on the left and Abby on the right and the white one is Sergei. Lots of nose-prints on the window too.
*we are amused by people on the house hunting and redecorating shows (like HGTV) remark about a corner of the room or a window seat as a place to "curl up with a good book." As if. Eh, maybe they are big readers but I think it's something people would like to think they'll do.