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changing of the Cats

November 26, 2006

i have begun to notice a bizarre ritual my two cats have recently adopted. they are a year apart in age and don’t particularly like each other, but they are both total attention hounds, especially with the kids, so though they are outdoor cats they spend plenty of time indoors while people are home and awake.

now, normally, i won’t have two cats at once, but spirit, the younger of the two, is a rescue case.

scout was a christmas gift to my wife a few years back. he was a lively tom kit with beautiful buff and black markings and it happened that i had the opportunity to get him two weeks before christmas.

i should have read the fine print as it turns out scout is actually a claw-fingered monkey. he spent the first month of kittenhood climbing up our christmas tree and getting chased out of it. he would climb all the way to the top, knock the angel off the top, and run back down as soon as he heard anyone coming. little barstid still climbs everything.

a year later, shortly after thanksgiving, my wife saw a 5 week old kitten with orange fur and a limp attempting to cross the interstate. she pulled over and he came right to her so we figured he was born around people though he was weaned waaaay too young and tiny as could be. we also figured somebody who wasn’t able to give him away (or whatever) dropped him in the median to die.

of course, scout, now a cat full grown and lord of the manor, was very indignant to have this male kit brought into his home. spirit tried to make friends but scout was having none of it. not even any sympathy for the big blue cast on his broken hind leg.

still another year later, spirit is half again scout’s size and while not aggressive, no longer puts up with scout’s carp either. they avoid each other but have ceased to hiss and howl and swipe. i have never interfered in their quarrel, preffering to let them work it out amongst themselves like gentlemen.

what i have noticed that they do do lately, in their eternal effort to avoid each other, is when one cat comes into the house the other cat voluntarily leaves. my wife dubbed this ‘the changing of the cats’ and the little blighters do it religiously, no matter what activity they may be engaged in at the time.

as far as i know, scout still claims lordship and when they are stuck together spirit knows better than to go at the food before scout has his fill, but to my eye the king seems to be something of a prisoner in his own castle.

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