Thursday, June 11, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Things are slowly getting back to normal around here. I am feeling a little better each day. Yesterday I mentally blocked out the pain and did whatever I wanted to do for the day. Which turned out to be spending most of the afternoon in the studio working on a scrapbook of our vacation photos. As you know, we have five cats, and all of them with the exception of Hairy, follow me around the house no matter what I'm doing- even if I'm in the bathroom. Yesterday was no different, and the four younger cats were upstairs with me and all into everything. General will pick up and run off with anything that's not nailed down. He's been my trouble child lately (photo above). General is the youngest, and he is also the rowdiest and most energetic. His favorite activity is tearing throughout the house at fifty MPH for no apparent reason. He wrestles with Maarten, he seems joined at the hip to big brother Romeo. And he also terrorizes the two girls.

Hairy can handle him. I guess with age there is also wisdom, and at 17 she's not going to let some young whippersnapper get in her face. She will take her paw and smack the crap out of him, which usually sends him running. But Spider is different (photo below). I call her my "sensitive" girl, when it actuality she is mean as a snake and loves to bite me just for the heck of it. But when it comes to defending herself against one of the other cats, her strategy is to retreat. Which just gives way to an excited chase. Romeo is bad about picking on her. But the last few days General and Spider have been fighting like, well, cats and cats. Or, brother and sister. General has been harassing her from morning until night. Yesterday I even had to put him in time out, sticking him in a bedroom alone and closing the door. General will back her into a corner and not let her out, or chase her up onto a counter and sit there below her. Worse, he gets her down on her back and hovers over her. Spider growls, but does not defend herself.

Whenever I hear that familiar growl, I get up and break them apart, but General doesn't go very far and as soon as my back is turned, he is attacking Spider again. I tell her to beat the crap out of him and he will learn to leave her alone, but she doesn't listen to me. She is two years older, and probably 3-4 pounds heavier than he is, but she never fights back. Oh, she will sink her teeth into my arm when I am trying to hold her and pet her. But she lets her little brother terrorize her. I don't know why General has been going after her lately. Everyone in the house is spayed or neutered, so I don't think there is any "attraction" in that arena. And everyone is declawed, so at least there is no bloodshed involved. (Please, anti-declawing people, don't get upset, there is a good reason everyone is declawed. No I'm not cruel, yes I know the procedure is an amputation.)

I am starting to rethink my role as a cat mom, and stop getting involved. If I come to Spider's rescue every time, she will just come to expect it. If I let General beat her up a few times, then maybe she will get sick of it and start to defend herself. Last night she was trying to go to bed (in her cute little pink cat house that is right next to my side of our bed), and General chased her all the way into her bed. She swatted a few times, pathetically, but that wasn't enough to run him off. Instead I had to get up and put him out of the bedroom, and close the door on him, where he sat in the hallway for at least a half hour meowing crazily and banging on the door- while I was trying to read and relax peacefully before bedtime.

I guess I am going to let the two of them work things out from now on, and stop being so overprotective of my favorite cat, who I call "sister". Maybe if she shoves back, General will start leaving her alone. You know, the old story of the class nerd who keeps taking the abuse but finally stands up and punches the school bully in the nose, and the bully runs away crying! These cats will just have to reenact that movie on their own, with no directing from mom.


  1. It's hard not to interfere with the kids and you're probably right, they just need to figure things out on their own.

    Hope you're feeling better!

  2. Funny that I just read this, because I just sat down from breaking them apart. I sat by as long as I could, but finally Spider was almost screaming as General held her down. Children! Even the furry ones require constant mothering.

  3. I feel the same way. Jim says I micromanage the cats. Hobbes and Calvin do not get along with Jake (territorial grumpy old men issues). Hobbes and Gracie do not get along. He keeps attacking her (remember, Hobbes and Calvin just recently came to live with us). Since Hobbes has cancer and I don't want to stress him, I've been separating him and Calvin from my other 4 via a gate in the hallway that splits our ranch house in half. They can growl and howl and spit to their heart's content from their own side of the gate. When Hobbes is done his treatment we'll attempt socialization again but I already told him he's not allowed to run after Gracie and scare her. So I won't interfere but then again I will. :) Makes sense, huh. Have a wonderful evening!

  4. Reading your blog always perks me up! Amazingly, I have always just let our cats sort out their differences. Tim is the one who thinks that they should all always get along because they're cats!

  5. I let the others duke it out, but Spider is my special girl, and I can't stand to see her get picked on by the boys. She is the cat I always say is the most like me, so I guess I do show her preferential treatment. Whenever the boys fight with each other, I just holler "Keep it down in there!" but when it comes to Spider, mommy always comes to her rescue. And she shows her love and thanks by biting me.

  6. Wow! I only have the two cats, but they do go at it sometimes. And it's usually because Max (big orange Sidekick) is picking on Tinker (LBSC). He's such a big love guy, until it comes to his sister. And she's such a scaredy cat... she spends most of her time in my office/studio or the master bedroom with me, unless she manages to get brave enough to join me in the kitchen. I break up the ruckus on a regular basis because he'll have her pinned down. After being gone for a week we came home to find clumps of black hair in every room in the house. Obviously Maxwell was doing a lot of picking on his sister in the past week!! At least I'm home to protect her now!!