Friday, August 30, 2013

Who's the Alpha?

Karen Jo:  Here is Angel Herman, as he looked exactly a year ago.  His lion cut was growing out, but he wasn't in full floof yet.  I have been thinking about him a lot lately and he fits right into the subject of this post.  I thought I understood about alpha cats, but I don't think I really do.  Do all groups of cats have an alpha?  I never had this many cats before and I don't think I really know which one is the alpha in my house.  I read up on feral cat colonies and how the alpha cat is almost always the oldest healthy female.  That would be Oja in this house, but I don't really think she is the alpha.  Things were simpler when Herman was here.  He was the alpha cat from the minute he figured out that he was staying with me.  With no other cats to boss around, he bossed me around.  He woke me up for breakfast, told me where he wanted his food bowls and water bowl, let me know that the litter I was using was unacceptable and that I better change it fast, told me when it was playtime and scolded me from the bed if he thought I was staying up too late on the computer.  Emma, Spyro and Oja all acknowledged him as the head cat without any fuss.  Well, Emma fussed, but that was because she was terrified of him.  After Herman ran off to the Rainbow Bridge, Spyro and Oja basically treated each other as equals, though Spyro would eat Oja's dry food.  I felt sorry for Oja because she was on her diet and I moved Spyro's food station to up on the counter, so she couldn't eat his food.  At bedtime if all of Oja's dry food was gone, but Spyro's wasn't, I would put Spyro's food at Oja's food station.  The diet worked anyway and Oja lost two pounds.  Then came the parade of new kitties.
 Spyro is friends with all the other cats.  He is the only one that I have seen grooming each of the other four.  Here he is hanging out with Rocio.  By the way, Rocio's hissy fit was just that. Everything is totally back to normal today.  Rocio and Bambino were having a big rasslin' match and Rocio gave Bambino a soft hiss.  I think he was daring Bambino to pounce him again.  Bambino took him up on it and the match continued.  They were having a great time together.  Rocio is friends with Spyro and Bambino.  I have seen him grooming both of them.  He used to tease Oja and chase her off her favorite chair in the computer room, but he doesn't do that any more.  Maybe it's because Horus is teasing Rocio now.
 Oja is only friends with Spyro and Horus.  She wont let Rocio or Bambino get close enough to her for any mutual grooming.
 Bambino wants to be friends with all the other cats, but Oja won't let him be friends with her.  I have never seen Bambino groom another cat, though I have seen Rocio and Spyro grooming him.
Horus is the newest addition.  He is friends with Spyro, Oja and Bambino.  He has been a bit mean to Rocio and I have never seen the two of them rasslin'.  This could be because Horus is the kitty least likely to be seen in a rassin' match.  I have seen him rassle Spyro and Bambino, but he would rather play THoE any day.

So who is the alpha cat here?  I can rule out Bamino and Rocio immediately because I have seen them defer to the older cats.  Herman commanded the respect of the other cats and no cat messed with him.  That lets Oja out, as Rocio was certainly messing with her.  On the other hand, maybe Rocio stopped messing with her because she convinced him that she was the boss.  Horus defers to Oja and Spyro, though not to Bambino or Rocio.  Neither Spyro nor Oja defer to any of the others.  I did see one thing that makes me think that Spyro may be the alpha.  Spyro was eating Oja's dry food and Oja whapped him one between the ears.  Spyro looked at her and went on eating, so she whapped him again.  He still went on eating, so she whapped him a third time.  When that didn't make him leave, Oja went off to find another food bowl.

Who do you think is the alpha or is there one?  I am just curious.  It won't change anything around here, I would just like to know.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday in the Garden

 Karen Jo:  Sorry I haven't blogged in so long.  First there was getting out of my funk, then I got a sinus infection, which is almost cleared up, then I went to a three day conference and came back with a badly upset tummy, which I am still recovering from.  We are not joining the Feline Gardeners, as I seldom have anything in the garden worth photographing.  After the gophers took over, I just let the garden go wild.  Above the lace vines are in full bloom, much to the delight of the bees.
 We got more rain this year than last and I had a bumper crop of weeds, but this one has pretty flowers.
 It was also a bumper year for toadstools.  I had some bigger ones, but didn't get out to photograph them.
 The phlox are past their prime, but still pretty.
 Spyro:  I have reclaimed my title as the kitty who can climb/jump the highest.  I don't really like it up here, but I had to do it at least once.  It did get a little embarrassing.  I couldn't get down again.  I walked to the other side of the drapes and Mom climbed up and go me down.
 Oja:  I still spend most of my time in the computer room, but I am coming out more now.  I made friends with Horus and now I don't feel so outnumbered by icky mancats.  I have two friends now and that makes me feel better about roaming around the house.
 Rocio:  Another reason Oja feels safer about roaming around the house is that I have stopped annoying her.  For some reason, I now get hissy with Horus and Bambino sometimes when they want to play with me.  I took a serious claws-out swipe at Horus the other day and Mom broke it up.  He had me cornered under the computer desk and I didn't like it.

Karen Jo:  I have no idea what brought this on.  Rocio was always ready to play with any cat who wanted to.  He hasn't hissed at Bambino since a week after Bambino moved in, until just the last few days.  He isn't acting like he doesn't feel good.  He is eating and drinking and running around and playing with toys.  He is going to the vet in about a week and a half for his rabies booster, so I'll ask her about it.
 Bambino:  I wish I knew why Rocio got all hissy with me the last time I pounced him.  I just wanted to play.  Luckily Spyro will still play with me and Horus will play chase with me.  It's fly season and I am having no end of fun chasing them.

Horus:  I escaped today and met the woofie from next door.  She is a minpin and I am bigger than she is.  We sniffed each other over without any hissing or barking.  Then Mom caught up with me and I had to go back inside.  See my tiger paw?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

World Cat Day

 Happy World Cat Day!  I thought I would celebrate the day by carrying my camera around with me and taking pictures of how having cats in my life has made things more interesting.
 Spyro helped me make up my bed.
 Rocio helped me with my email this morning.  Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.  My hands must have shaken more than the anti-shake stabilizer could handle.
 Oja helped me pick which mah jong puzzle to work on this evening.  Sorry it's too dark to see her properly.
 Bambino inspected my breakfast to make sure it was good enough for me.
 Spyro loves to help me read the newspaper.
 Opening the screen door is always and adventure.  Spyro is looking out to see that there are no vishus deer or bears waiting for me.
 Anyone can have regular tp.  I have lacy tp thanks to Rocio.
 I never know what will be waiting for me in the hall.  This time it was Bambino and Horus rasslin'.
 Rocio helped me fold my laundry.
 Spyro made sure that the towels were folded and put away just right, with Rocio snoopervising.
 Horus led me on an inspection of my now gopher-free yard.  The gophers just got to be too much, so the whole block got together and called in the exterminator.  I don't like killing creatures, but these gophers ate my sage, leeks, cilantro, chives, daisies, California poppies, nearly killed my lilac bush and made big bald spots in the grass.  Spyro watched Horus go out on the harness and leash and made piteous meows, but wouldn't let me put the harness on him.  I have ordered Spyro a new and different type of harness, so maybe he will get to go out again.
One of the best times of the day is relaxing before dinner time.  Horus just loves Da Bird.  That's Spyro in the play pen.  Rocio joined in after a while.  Bambino and Spyro just watched.  Oja was in the computer room, where she spends most of her time.  I hope you enjoyed seeing what my day with cats is like.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Catching Up

 Bambino:  It's about freakin' time you helped us blog again!  You do this to me and put it up at the Tabby Cat Club for all the world to see and don't even mention my very first birthday.  How could you forget my birthday?!?

Karen Jo:  I am very sorry, Bambino.  I didn't forget your birthday, I just didn't feel like blogging.  I haven't felt like doing much of anything lately.  I'm not depressed or sick or anything serious, just kind of in a funk.  I'll jerk myself out of it and blog more, I promise.

Bambino:  I think you owe me a big birthday bash.

Karen Jo:  What would you like?

Bambino:  I want to have a luau over at the Tabby Cat Club.  It's awesome over there right now.

Karen Jo:  That's a good idea.  We will do it tomorrow, exactly one month after your birthday.
 Horus:  You changed my name and didn't even tell anyone about it.  You mentioned it in passing once, but you didn't really tell my friends about it.

Karen Jo:  Sorry, Horus.  You see, Jose is such a bland name for such a wonderful cat.  In this photo you can finally see his Egyptian eyes.  Horus starts with the same sound as Jose and Horus' glyph is an eye, so I changed his name to Horus.
 Oja:  You have been hauling us all off to the vet and you didn't tell our friends about that.  Oh, and here's a photo for all of you who think I spend all my time in the computer chair.

Karen Jo:  There's not much to tell, really.  I have taken in Spyro, Oja and Rocio for checkups and Spyro and Oja got rabies boosters.  There is a new rabies serum now that is safe for FeLV+ kitties.  All of them are in perfect health.  Oja has neither lost nor gained weight, but I think she has traded some fat for muscle.  I am seeing her up high in spots she has never been before, like up in the high windows in on top of the file cabinet.
 Rocio:  Mom thought I was getting pudgy, but I am just right in the weight department.  My eyes and teeth are perfect, too.  I have mostly stopped annoying Oja.  It's not really all that much fun.  I make Oja hiss and Mom comes and makes me stop.  Playing with Spyro and Bambino is lots more fun.  Horus makes me hiss sometimes and Mom doesn't come running then.

Karen Jo:  You are lots bigger than Oja, but Horus is only a tiny bit bigger than you, so there's a big difference.  You can run away from Horus or smack him back a lot easier than Oja can with you.
Spyro:  I am kept busy inspecting new things coming into the house.  You should see the baby bean cage in the middle of the living room.

Karen Jo:  I am helping out a friend by babysitting a few times a week.  You kitties actually get more attention when she's here.

Spyro:  I don't particularly like the attention she wants to give me: pat, pat, pat.  She pats a little hard.

Karen Jo:  I am trying to teach her to be gentle.  She's only one.

Horus:  I love it when she starts waving Da Bird around, though she is rather wild with it.

Bambino:  I love her cage.  I can get in it when she's crawling around and I'm safe from her.  When she's in it, we are all safe from her attentions.

Horus:  She's not so bad.  She pets as well as pats.  I like her.