by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
Cats can be very subtle with their messaging. We have added an older boy, Thor, to our household, and it is interesting to watch the interaction between him and Ginger Jim. They are both males, although very different personalities, and are setting their boundaries.
The cats have soft food twice a day; previously Ginger Jim would eat some and leave the rest. Thor enjoys this treat, and finishes off anything that Ginger leaves behind – now Ginger finishes off all the food so there is nothing left for Thor!
Ginger has a cat bed next to our bed, which he sleeps in for part of every night. He rarely sleeps on the bed. Since Thor’s arrival, Ginger has been sleeping on our bed at night, keeping Thor off the bed. Thor has the bed during the day, and Ginger at night – a timesharing technique!
Paddy, our little girl, loves to play with acorns. Thor has taken the acorn game to new heights, racing and leaping around after acorns. Paddy watches with interest, but prefers her more sedate games.
Thor loves to play; he is a kitten at heart. Although the relationship between him and Ginger is not close, they can confer over a gecko or toy. They will have a good game together, then revert to being unfriendly and walk away from each other.
Then there is the ambushing tactic, which Ginger has perfected. He will wait behind a door or just out of sight and wait for Thor to come past. Ginger then does a mock charge, never touching Thor, who jumps and runs. A variation of this tactic is to wait at the corner of the bed for Thor to walk past; however, Thor worked out that he could jump onto the bed and down behind Ginger, leaving him to wait while Thor walks away!
Thor has another behaviour, possibly learnt from living with dogs. When he sees one of the other cats watching him, he will drop his head, look away and walk around them. This confuses Ginger, who is expecting a confrontation.
Although it seems at one level the cats are getting along, underneath there is still tension. It will take some time for them to understand each other and to work out a territorial plan and create a truly working relationship.
To contact Barbara, please email firstname.lastname@example.org