Adjustments

Not my adjustments! The surviving cats!

Everyone wants to be the top cat.

They all think they are the top cat (and in their own way they are).

Listen Cupcake, I told you I should have a will!

Jake: Listen Cupcake, I told you I should have a will!

Without the old cat Jake around to (gently) correct inappropriate behavior (that would be anything that affected him negatively like food theft, sunspot usurping, pee lumps in his litter box, etc.), the other cats are working to figure out their new role.

Pets don’t leave wills. Jake didn’t bequeath his cushy bed to anyone. Someone will have to claim it. Someone will have to discipline youngster Morgan. No one wants his eating spot. I don’t know why. It’s secluded and the dishes are elevated so you don’t have to bend down as far.

Maybe it’s because he would bop them when they went there. Or because he ate everything and there never was anything to nosh on. Only Morgan will venture there but even she prefers to eat on her counter.

I wanted to simplify my routine as they all eat in different rooms. I’ve not had great success influencing them. I did get Hazel to change dining spots but not to Jake’s. Mollie flatly refused to eat unless the food was exactly where it has been for the past ten years.

All four cats used to join us in the family room for TV. Some would nap and some watched the movements on the TV (Big Bang was their favorite). Immediately after his death, none came in. It was just the beloved husband and me.

Jake would squish between us and expect to be scratched and petted. Of course he was. We all did whatever Jake wanted although he wasn’t the alpha.

I am Queen Mollie! You shall do as I say. No, get off my bed and do not touch my mousie!

I am Queen Mollie! You shall do as I say. No, get off my bed and do not touch my mousie!

Seven pound Mollie has always been the alpha cat. She’s the only one who could push Jake off the large bed. She was kind. She did it by sticking her wet nose in his ear, something he hated. He never disciplined her. It wouldn’t be proper because she was the alpha queen.

Newcomer Morgan who is twice as tall as Mollie and five pounds heavier is keeping her eyes open for opportunity. She rarely naps and is quick. Poor Mollie has to be on her game all the time.

Is Mollie around? Can I have her catnip mousie? Ohhh that would so piss her off!

Morgan: Is Mollie around? Can I have her catnip mousie? Ohhh that would so piss her off!

Hazel, shy and backward and the extreme opposite of alpha, is starting to come out of her shell (after living here for nine years). For the past week she has been sitting with us. It’s quite an accomplishment. Hazel likes her space. If you get too close, she is so out of there. She actually touches us now.

Seriously, you need to take a new picture of me! I lost more weight!

Hazel: Seriously, you need to take a new picture of me! I lost more weight!

Jake was not close to any of the cats although they all got along. I wonder what they think happened to him. I can’t tell.

Today I am (finally) washing Jake’s bed. He only had two teeth so he was a drooley sleeper the last year or so and his bed shows it. I wonder if someone else will venture into its deep cushioning and take a nap.

Only time will tell.

Author’s Note: Last night, after I put this post up for release I took this picture of my ultra shy cat sitting with us. This was one of Jake’s spots.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before it looked like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

54 thoughts on “Adjustments

  1. Cat personalities! I was reading this post tonight- it’s very late and Roxie showed up, threw herself next to me stretched out her paw and touched all the cat pictures on the screen. If she could read, I’m sure she would feel sad that Jake is gone.

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      • When I married Charley he had two cats and I had two. It took them quite a while to adjust living together in harmony. But as they aged and each one left us, I saw that they knew there was an emptiness where an old friend had once been. And they kept to their own spaces and never tried to fill that spot on the couch or bed. I am not so sure that Roxie would miss ZuZu but ZuZu would definitely miss having Roxie around. Strange, because ZuZu was the feral and I would think she would not be so needy???

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  2. Love all your kitty shots Kate and got a bit teary with the last one. None of my four cats get along due to being introduced at different times. The poor kitten has to be on her toes as the others boss her about. But she is the smartest cleanest cat we have and so she stays indoors most of the time. She is the only cat who knows how to open the screen door. Maybe because she gets bullied so much she had to learn that for emergencies.

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  3. Fascinating, isn’t it, the dynamics cats work out amongst themselves? Including so much that we are not ever aware of, until one passes — and the others work out new ways of being family…

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  4. It will take a while for everybody to jostle for their rightful position… they are probably expecting Jake to walk in the door any minute. It took several months to a year for my cat Pharoah to mingle with the two new cats when my old cat passed away. But he’s now finally feeling comfortable back in his old spots. Cats like to take their time sizing up the situation! .

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  5. Perhaps the remaining cats had a meeting and decided among themselves who gets what. No need for a will! Love that Hazel the Shy has taken Jake the Elder’s favorite spot. Life, human or feline, goes on.

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    • The clean cat bed when down on the floor yesterday. I “salted” it with a bit of catnip. Morgan did a look see but didn’t stop. Maybe more time. Before he got dooley, Hazel and Morgan used it too.

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  6. Your pictures are so adorable: Jake with his beautiful green eyes, Mollie looking so sweet and queenly on the windowsill, her fur back lit, Morgan planning something, and Hazel looking shy (in her first photo).

    When our oldest daughter went away to college, I was surprised at the disruption. Number One had convinced the other two that she was boss. When she left, Number Two assumed that put her in charge. Number Three didn’t agree. She had been biding her time and was ready to break out.

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  7. It is so interesting to hear about the others cats and their current behaviors. I wonder, too, what they’re sensing, and why it is they are not ready to assume some of Jake’s space. I somehow think they’re missing him, even if it is just that it’s changed the familiar. One of my closest friends had to put her dog, a great old Lab, down this week. It never fails to surprise me how much we can miss our pets when they leave us. I think we do a discredit to the animal kingdom when we don’t consider how it affects them as well. I really enjoyed your update, Kate. And I love your photos!

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  8. Oh, man, I needed a hanky warning for those pictures of the sofa and Jake’s spot! Sniff.

    It’s hard to know what those pets are thinking. We once had a cat who loved dogs — and loved to beat them up. When one of our two dogs died, the other dog seemed delighted to have the bed all to herself and showed no signs of sorrow. The cat, however, was apparently depressed and sought comfort in the food bowl. She gained three pounds!

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    • I thought this was an upbeat post! With humor too! I am so pleased that Hazel is coming out of her shell. She’s lost more weight too (ounces not quite pounds yet). She would always finish up Jake’s food if I wasn’t quick enough (and I was never quick enough). I thought dogs were more likely to miss their companion because they are pack animals.

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  9. OK, thanks a lot for making me cry. This resonated with me of course because we have also been going through all the changes with Mac gone and now adding Nakana. Pear and Felix are the only two that get along without a hiss if they get too close. They might prefer to be alone with us, but it’s not like that. Everybody was upset and off their routine after Mac died and if you recall Pear even got very sick. Felix seemed the saddest for the longest though. He’s a bit at odds without his role model. It’s fun to watch them but so sad to see how it affects everything having the old guy gone.

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    • I expected more but Jake was different from the rest. He was the only one that went outside and he didn’t join in with the others. Hazel is the one whose behavior has changed the most. She has become more outgoing. She was one of Jake’s favorites because she didn’t pester him. I don’t quite get the connection but it is what it is. How is Nakana doing?

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      • Nakana needs to start “liver support” medications, and she chases Tiger. Tiger is the problem, making herself the victim, but that makes Kana’s life more difficult (and mine). We are working on it, but it’s difficult in the meantime. She seems to get alone with the others so if I put Tiger in a room, then Kana can roam the house, but we’re going slow and going to start trying to improve Tiger’s self-esteem.

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        • After Morgan got comfortable (which took a year) she started to “play” with the others. Jake of course bopped her head and she backed off. Hazel just let her run over her so that wasn’t any fun. Mollie would run and a chase would ensue. I was worried for a while because Mollie is so much smaller but she can hold her own if she wants to and will sometimes chase Morgan. I still get nervous when I see Morgan taking off after her. Good luck with it all.

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          • With the chases did you have the screaming? Tiger screams and shrieks as if she is dying (she thinks she is) and is a complete drama queen. But I don’t want her to live in terror. She was under the bed for hours yesterday.

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            • Yes. Blood curling drama. However, just as I was getting really worried I saw Mollie chase Morgan throughout the house. I think Morgan can get rougher just because she’s bigger and that’s when Mollie yelps. Mollie is not hiding so I’m not worried. She will give the occasion hiss.

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  10. Love this post and thanks for the update on how everyone is doing. I think cats can get a little depressed when one of them disappears. My experience has been that it takes some time for each of them to figure out its new role. Sounds like Hazel may be positioning herself to claim some of Jake’s turf. Maybe with the new Big Bang season starting they’ll all join you soon in the family room. I hope so!

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    • It is so tempting but not now. I think if I ever adopt again (or when) I would adopt a cat that is older or less adoptable or maybe even special needs. If I don’t do that, who will? Our newspapers feature a pet every day and sometimes the stories are heartbreaking. Animals that have been in the shelter for two years because they are shy or no longer a kitten. Always so sad. Mollie was 18 months old (which I consider young but others consider adult) and already had a litter. She worked out pretty well. She even got along with Jake who didn’t really like cats.

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  11. I think animals adjust and after a while accept the other animals as siblings. If one suddenly is gone, like children, they get curious about wonder where they’ve gone. I suspect they may now have feel that, Jake, is not coming back. Animals get sad too.

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  12. Interesting cat’s eye view of the adjustments in routines.

    “All four cats used to join us in the family room for TV. Some would nap and some watched the movements on the TV (Big Bang was their favorite). Immediately after his death, none came in. It was just the beloved husband and me.”

    I wonder if they didn’t come in because they didn’t want to see that Jake wasn’t there?

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    • I don’t know. Sometimes you think you can figure out what a cat’s thinking…maybe. In this case I can’t. No one seemed sad or whiny. They were used to his being boarded and occasionally hospitalized for short periods. Maybe they don’t know he’s not coming back. I don’t know if cats have a real sense of time.

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