Sunday, April 20, 2014

The devil and his defender

Time for a snuggle

My regular reader(s) will recall that there are two cats in this household, a now 18-month-old red mackeral tabby named "Hobbes" who is a devil in a cat-skin, and a four-year-old overly fat silver Chinchilla Persian called Smokey who, being delusional, believes himself the mother and protector of said younger devil.  

This comes in handy at times as Smokey knows it is forbidden to use the sofa as a scratching post, and has taken to "disciplining" Hobbes when he does it. Mostly though it's just a pain, and I mean that literally. Step on Smokey's tail and he will barely complain, step on Hobbes' tail, he will squall and Smokey will come over and bite you for your carelessness. 

Papa's chair, I owns it!
There's a power bar plugged into the wall beside Tony's chair, and the resulting tangle of wires. Hobbes has a fascination with wires, and has to be stopped from playing with them constantly.

Yesterday the little devil was swinging from the wire of the overhead lamp. I yelled at him to get down, and he did, but dove immediately into the tangle of wires and came up with one in his mouth.

I yelled at him from my chair. He just stood there looking at me, daring me to stop him.

I got up from my chair and started toward him, scolding him as I went. I'd just bent over to tell him what a naughty boy he was when Smokey snuck up behind me and nipped my ankle. Just lightly, he didn't break the skin or even leave a mark, but his message was clear, "Don't scold my baby!"

Now, this is too much. Protective when Hobbes is squalling because he's been hurt or he's scared he's going to be hurt (i.e. nail-clipping) I understand, but now we can't tell young Lucifer to behave? I don't think so.

Smokey knew he'd crossed the line. After he bit me he scuttled away as fast as his 3/4 length legs would carry him. I caught up with him in the kitchen, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tapped his nose with one finger. "YOU do NOT bite your Mama!" I told him, "You are a bad, bad boy."

When I let him go he ran to his cat tree and climbed to the top platform to sulk, or feel sorry for himself, or whatever he felt like feeling. I on the other hand was secretly delighted. He loves his "baby" cat with all his stout little cat body and soul. He lets the baby inspect his dish of tuna (and turn up his nose at it) before he eats, he moves aside and lets the baby eat kibble from his dish.

Smokey and his Papa
Normally these are signs that a cat is submissive, and is allowing the dominant one first choice, but this is not so. Smokey likes to lie on the sofa. Hobbes likes to creep onto the sofa and lie next to him, or even end to end, or just with a paw touching. This irritates Smokey to no end, as the sofa is his, and he does not like to share it. So after a period of grumbling he will get up, roll Hobbes over, grab him by the throat and hold him in this very vulnerable position. Hobbes offers no resistance, after 15 or 20 seconds he will  reach up and wrap his "arms" around Smokey's neck in a hug. Smokey then usually grooms Hobbes' ears and face, then kicks his butt off the sofa.

So there is no question Smokey is dominant, but he's going to have to learn he is not dominant when it comes to us. He's carrying the motherhood and protection theme a little too far.

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