Cat Wars: The Beast Pt. 2

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The Mighty Huntress sprawled in the center of her Home Territory. The enemy hadn’t come sniffing at the crack under the Great Barrier in a while. All was well with the world. If she was lucky, Two-Legged Alpha would bring a sample of the extra-tasty treats he occasionally found–or caught, she could never figure out which.

In the midst of this very pleasing contemplation, the Great Barrier opened–and stayed open! It wasn’t yet prowl time, and this development confused and worried her. She jumped to the top of Soft Plateau and asked for reassurance. Two-Legged Alpha rubbed his fore-paw over her, but the distracted feel to his touch failed to entirely comfort.

After only a couple of strokes, Two-Legged Alpha rummaged around on the floor, clearing out a lot of clear space. The Mighty Huntress was slightly reassured. He’d done this periodically. It wouldn’t take long, and peace was quickly restored. But not this time.

Two-Legged Alpha rummaged around on the Tiny Plain outside the Great Barrier. Taht was odd. The only times he’d done that, he’d awakend….

VROOOM!

The Beast was invading!

As the Beast crossed into her territory, the Mighty Huntress vanished and reappeared in the caves under Soft Plateau. Onward came the Beast! But Two-Legged Alpha was stalking it. He’d managed to grab it!

It was a mighty struggle. Back and forth they surged, covering the entire cleared space. Finally Two-Legged Alpha managed to rake it with a hind claw and the Beast went silent. Two-Legged Alpha dragged the corpse back onto the Tiny Plain.

A significant clearing of space had occurred, and not just in the center of the room. Two-Legged Alpha paused to look at the hard outcropping next to one end of Soft Plateau. To her shock, Two-Legged Alpha picked up the outcropping! He not only picked it up, he moved it to the other end of Soft Plateau and placed in line with Soft Plateau’s length. Then he left, leaving the Great Barrier open.

The Mighty Huntress followed him out the door, but stopped at the top of the stairs and watched him turn the corner at the bottom. Then she went back to her Home Territory to investigate the changes in landscape. She sniffed the hole where the outcropping used to be, but could discover nothing.

Moments later she heard something outside the opened Great Barrier. A quick look over her shoulder showed the Mighty Huntress that Two-Legged Alpha was struggling with another outcropping! She returned to the caves under Soft Plateau. Two-Legged Alpha placed the new outcropping where the previous one used to be.

This new one was bigger, sturdier. It had more space and two levels of caves: one on the floor, one just under the top. Though the second level smelled strongly of The Mastermind. It definitely belonged to Two-Legged Alpha first and The Mastermind second. The Mighty Huntress would have to make do with the floor level. Nothing new with that. She settled in to make it her own.

Cat Wars: The Beast

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This past weekend, I decided it was time to clean and do some minor rearrangement of my room. Knowing how the cats of the house feel about each other, I made sure the Downstairs Faction was locked up before opening my door and propping it open. Why open my door at all? I thought I’d give the cats an opportunity to leave the area for a while. Though the rearrangements I’d planned were minor, any change has the potential to freak a cat. Especially when I bring in the vacuum cleaner.

The vacuum cleaner is a Noise-some Beast. The elder of my two cats, Teazer (the one I refer to as the Mastermind), rarely shows the body language of fear. She’s cautious and tends to avoid any confrontation, but rarely actually fearful, much less terrified. Her first encounter with a vacuum cleaner went something like this:

Noise-some Beast: VROOOM!
Mastermind: *vanish* *reappear under the couch* *watch wide-eyed*
Noise-some Beast: *searches the room while roaring* *approaches couch* VROOOM!
Mastermind: *slips out the back and perches on the backrest* *glares*
Noise-some Beast: *searches a little longer, then slinks quietly off to sleep*

And that was it. She quickly learned that the vaccuum cleaner was no real threat, especially if she waited out its periodic incursions perched on a desk or bookshelf. She’s even gone up and sniffed at it while it was “sleeping in its den”.

The younger of my cats, Rika (the one I call the Might Huntress), is another matter. Judging from her body language, she likes to think of herself as an alpha-cat. Since Teazer tends to avoid confrontations, Rika is rarely given reason to doubt her alpha-status. Unfortunately for her, she is very skittish and frightens easily. Definitely not the temperament of an alpha. Her first encounter with the vacuum cleaner went very differently.

Mighty Huntress: *lounges indolently in the middle of the floor*
Noise-some Beast: *enters the room and pauses at the edge* VROOOM!
Might Huntress: *jumps up and flees to hide under the bed with a now empty bladder*
Noise-some Beast: *stops moving but continues to roar as Two-Legged Alpha cleans*
Mighty Huntress: *watches the Noise-some Beast from under the bed, panting and slicked down fur*
Noise-some Beast: *starts moving again*
Mighty Huntress: *voids bowels and crams herself into the far corner under the bed*
Noise-some Beast: *gives up and leaves*

Rika has since learned that turning the floor into a litter box is not necessary, though she still insists on hiding under the bed instead of getting on top of something.

Cat Wars: Return of the Paw

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The Mighty Huntress awoke at the sound of snuffling at her territory border. She slinked towards the Barrier that defined the edge of her territory. Yes. A shadow moved on the other side, and a nose appeared at the base of the Barrier. A little closer to sniff. Ah! It was indeed her hated rival was on the other side. It had been a long time since her rival had dared attempt the lair of the Mighty Huntress.

A paw darted under the door, streaking toward the Mighty Huntress, claws extended. She leapt up and back, landing with back arched and her tail bushing to make herself look bigger. The Mighty Huntress took stock of the situation. That paw couldn’t extend far into the room. She watched it wave wildly about for a minute, then purred contentedly to herself. No. It couldn’t reach her. In fact….

The Mighty Huntress edged closer…closer. She hunkered just out of range. So her rival thought to intimidate her. Tucking paws under, the Mighty Huntress assumed the position called “Kitty Loaf”. The paw retracted to the other side of the Barrier. This wouldn’t do at all. She purred loudly. The paw reappeared and flailed wildly…futilely. The Mighty Huntress’ purr took on a distinct note of contentment. She rolled on her back and assumed the spine-twisting, but oddly comfortable, position called “Kitty Yoga”. Yes. Much better. Her rival’s flailing paw whacked the door and carpet in an uncontrollable rage before withdrawing. A moment later, she saw her rival’s shadow slinked off dejectedly, beaten by the Barrier and her taunting.

Cat Wars: Interlude

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The mighty huntress padded across her domain. She paused now and again to lick her one damp paw. Annoying. And uncomfortable. A noise jerked her head up to scan the area. There. It came from Soft Plateau. Could it be?

She crept to the base of Soft Plateau. No sound. She stood on her hind legs and put her front paws on top of the plateau. Yes! Her human was there. She jumped to the top of Soft Plateau with a sound that was half purr, half meow.

“Hello? Hello?” She patted her human’s face. “Wake up!” Pat. Pat. “My elastic mouse hid at the bottom of my water bowl. Again.”

Cat Wars 2: Not Treachery….Stupidity.

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The agent crept forward, belly low, a slinking stalk. Ahead of her, her target. The idiotic thing didn’t twitch as she moved right up to it. How dared it hold her hair band hostage? She backed up a couple steps to provide enough space, tested her balance…POUNCE!

WET! WET! WET! The thing attacked back! It showered her with cold water. But she was content. With the water, the thing had thrown her hair band back. Taking the treasure in her mouth, she sauntered under the bed to lick herself, and her hair band, dry.

Unfortunately, this scene is fairly common. Common enough that I sleep right through it. At least, I sleep through it until Rika jumps on my chest (that is one heavy cat!), paws at my face (I don’t think she ever fully retracts her claws), and complains that she is thirsty; that somehow, the enemies from downstairs had infiltrated her territory and dumped out all her water.

When I roll over, careful to dislodge slightly extended claws from my chest, she then accuses me of treachery and demands I pay reparation IMMEDIATELY. My other cat raises her head from the ball of fluff she’s turned herself into and gives Rika a very disgusted look before burying her head again.

Cat Wars: The Factions

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I’m living in a feline war zone. There are five cats in the house, divided into two factions. The upstairs faction: The Nervous Ninjas. The downstairs faction: The Pissed-off Psychos. There’s kind of a time-share cold war going on right now. Except for a couple rooms designated “home territory”, the cats are separated by time, rather than place.

The Nervous Ninja faction is comprised of two cats. Teazer is the curious one. She’s the one who is always first into a new situation, seeking places and food. She’s small and perpetually has her tail curved under. If human psychology applied to felines, she’s had learned helplessness beaten into her by her brother all the while they were growing up (until he tried to bully a dog and got mauled for it). Thus, Teazer is the ninja of the group, hiding, sneaking, and suddenly appearing on my lap without warning. Rika is probably the biggest cat in the house…but she grew up around Teazer and very few visitors to the house. So she kind of picks on Teazer a bit and thinks she’s the boss kitty. Problem is, she’s skittish. I’ve seen her go from lounging in the middle of the floor in the I-own-this posture to teleporting across the room when someone shifted their seat on the couch. Oh, and as a ninja, she totally fails: she always announces her presence.

The Pissed-off Psycho faction is comprised of three cats, though there really is only one active member of the faction. Koshka is Teazer’s counterpart. She’s nervous and perfectly willing to be bottom cat as long as she’s left alone. She not only has a tendency to hide, she stays hidden, rarely being seen. She’ll hiss at some of the other cats, but it’s usually a trot-by hissing and is usually ignored by the other cats of the faction. Polly is the grande dame of the group. Old and crotchety, she swats all the other cats out of general principle. She’s too cranky to actually be malicious toward the others. She feels safe and secure in her position as top kitty. Lucy is the inspiration for the name “Pissed-off Psychos”. She is one of those cats that were snipped as soon as feasible and thus has the perma-kitten look. She’s sweet and cute and cuddly…as long as none of the other faction is around. Then she does one of two things, pretends she’s docile then literally jumps on the other’s back and latches onto their neck the moment they start to walk away, or she simply charges on sight.

I think if it weren’t for Lucy, the others would get along just fine…or at least cordially ignore each other. But Lucy is on the war path. She crouches by the door behind which the Nervous Ninjas sleep. She sticks her paw under the door and slashes around even when none of the other cats are near. Rika has taken to taunting Lucy, though, by sitting just out of range and not even flinching when the paw shoots under the door to grab. Oh yes, and Lucy tries to dig under the door to get at the Ninjas. (Note to self: replace carpet with sandpaper, maybe she’s file her nails while she’s trying to dig, because I don’t think the discomfort would deter her.)