You’d think the feline social structure in our house would be simple.
Mutant Cat 1 is older and bigger:
Mutant Cat 2 is younger and ridiculously tiny:
You’d think, based on age and size, MC 1 would hold the highest position in our household’s fuzzy hierarchy. You’d be wrong. But you’d also be wrong if you thought tiny little MC 2 was running the show. It’s not that simple. Each of our cats has their own particular areas of dominance.
MC 1 is the boss of food. He has no off switch. If you try to leave out enough food for a quick overnight trip, he’ll have eaten it all, horked it back up, and started on round two before you’re out the door. He once ate 900 calories worth of high-protein running fuel (left, ill-advisedly, we learned, on the counter) in a single bag-shredding, package chewing go. He’s honed his food-acquisition techniques through years of practice.
Technique one: Speed. MC 1 wolfs down his own food as fast as he can, sometimes even leaving it unfinished, so he can bolt down the hall, shoulder MC 2 out of the way, and scarf his. MC 1 then strolls back to his own bowl at his leisure. We have to stand guard until MC 2 is done.
Technique two: Sneak. Because he eats so much faster than MC 2, and becasue he can’t rest if he knows there’s other food available, MC 1 spends the vast proportion of kitty mealtimes trying to get to MC 2’s food. In the kitchen, this translates into an elaborate, slow-motion slink around the island. He tries one way, gets blocked. He tries the other, same. Over, around again, the other way…all to an endless chorus of “you’re not as sneaky as you think you are”.
Technique three: Distract. MC 1 has learned that if he shoves things off the counter, the humans get up. The bigger, messier, and louder the thing, the faster we jump. He’s also learned that when the humans are running for the large, sharp knife he’s just sent clattering to the floor, it’s a perfect opportunity to dash for the table and make off with half their breakfast.
MC 2 is the boss of cuddles. He’s tiny but fierce, and defends space — any space ( lap, counter, couch, pillow, etc.) — with wicked smacks. He makes himself comfortable no matter what that means for MC 1. He shoves him off pillows, pins him under blankets, slaps him in the face, tea-bags him. All’s fair, to MC 2, when it comes to claiming a spot to curl up.
Despite the confusion of dominance, both our cats are heat-seeking cuddle bugs. They don’t just want to sleep on your bed. They want to be under the covers, in your PJs with you. We choose onesies and hoodies for their cat-accommodation potential.
Warm appliances are also a favorite.
MOMMY’S BOY vs THE LITTLE MAN
MC 1, despite being bigger and older, is the needier of the two. He cries when I leave the house, and won’t sleep at night unless I’m hugging him. He’s a lovely, derpy boy with separation anxiety and an a whole lot of existential dread. That’s OK, MC 1…I can relate.
MC 2, on the other hand, is a confident little guy. He’s tiny (and occasionally scooty, becasue the world is a BIG place when you’re only 5lbs) but he carries himself with bold certainty and takes affection on his own terms. As a friend once said, “MC 2 knows he’s a fashion model. He doesn’t need us. MC 1 is weird and desperate for love.”
For all their eccentricities and foibles, we love them both to pieces, and let them walk all over us. Often quite literally.