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Thursday, March 7, 2013

King Edward?

In our home, there are five cats. They age from 25 years down to 1 1/2 years.

In every  home with multiple cats there is a hierarchy established amongst them.

For many years,  Cali  held the 'top cat' status in our home. We did not have a male cat, all six cats were female and no one challenged her position. Mr. Ed joined our family almost five years ago but his character made him a 'non-threat' to Cali so the status carried on. When she passed away I was waiting to see what would happen. It was interesting to watch and see how this group of cats, with such age differences, would work out who would reign.
Annie seemed too agreeable to me to take over and Audrey, well
                                       Lord have mercy!
I expected it to be Sierra as she has been here a long time and is still young enough to possibly want this position. But she is a loner and that may come into play.
The first hint came the other night when I put a large plate down for them to share some salmon. Sierra stayed back with no attempt to share. She always eats on top of the dryer. Audrey was busy doing whatever Audrey does and did not notice and Annie, Ed & Lily approached the plate. Lily and Ed began to eat and Annie took a step back and waited behind Ed. Lily ate her share and left. Annie still waited. When Ed seemed satisfied he stepped aside and it was only then that Annie approached the plate and began to eat. Something was certainly being communicated and it may have just been that Ed, being a male, took precedent over her. He may also now reign king of the household. I'm laughing here because at 25 years of age with a gimpy walk, you could knock him over with a feather.

It is an interesting world they live in. It's a matter of watching and observing the body language of the cats. It can be as simple as noticing the same cat always on the top level of the cat-tree. Or perhaps, the best seat near the wood-stove.
In a multi-cat household, each cat is assigned a level on the social totem-pole. If there are male cats, there will be an alpha-male and if there are females, there will be an alpha female.You would think top position would be held by the strongest or biggest feline of each sex but that is not the case. Proven right here if King Edward really does hold court.

I'll keep you posted.

I'm joining Camera Critters at http://camera-critters.blogspot.ca/
hugs, Deb 

25 comments:

  1. Interesting.....we have 5 cats - 4 males and 1 female. Our female is also the youngest cat and she rules the roost!! She has since the day that she showed up, half-frozen, at our backdoor.

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  2. I would love it if Mr Ed were at the top of heap...just because! Charlie is at the top but sometimes Mr. Toes does not respect that and gets a bit 'aggressive' and gets a time out from the humans. I mostly let them work it out themselves. I look forward to the next edition of King of the Tribe!
    hugs, Linda

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  3. What a fun post, Deb! I have 3 females and 1 male and Ozzie...the female I have had the longest...rules the roost! That's why she is the CEO on my staff! lol At the bottom is Kitty...the second oldest. Funny, huh? The other two...Baby Kitty and Isabella.. are best friends and seem to be tied at the middle. It is fun to see their different personalities, isn't it?...hugs...Debbie

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  4. Lovely photos ! We have one cat Harley and a dog Miggs they both take turns being the boss lol but are good friends to ! Have a good evening !

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  5. My three legged female rules the roost. No one will mess with her. She is always gentle and very receptive with the other cats. A very benevolent leader.
    In your case, with the older cats, their roles are so firmly established that they may not feel the need or wish to change. Annie, adopted as an adult, may respect the cats with longer tenure in the home.
    I'm glad Ed is king kitty. Makes me very happy.

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  6. I think infirmity adds to the place in the hierarchy; Miss Kona rules the roost here. Perhaps with an abundance of resources the clowder can afford to give respect (and status) to the more elderly members.

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    1. That's very interesting. There is some interesting research on 'second in command' that your group must follow. It can be very fluid and change periodically.

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  7. The one thing Maeve won't mess with is old Utah. As a kitten she tried to play with him and he gave her a couple of clawless bats on the head. She was so tiny, it sent her rolling across the floor. Now, she looks at him with something close to adoration.

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  8. It seems like no matter the species, there is always one who rules. LOL!
    xo Catherine

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  9. Delightful...just simply delightful! It's impossible to choose a favorite....

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  10. All I know is, I'm at the bottom of the rung.
    Jane x

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    1. It's good to know though, isn't it? ;-)

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  11. I too love the interaction between cats. Ed is a lovley chap! So rare for a cat to reach 25 too. We lost our alpha male last year and our 2 remaining ladies quickly established who was Queen. Mrs Black who is our housekeeping / shoppekeeping cat gave way to our naughty Tortoiseshell 'kitten' of 5 years. Mrs Black concerns herself very much with all household things other cats overlook, she has ideas where cushions, bowls, rugs etc should go. But she does not mind being last to eat. We think it is all part of her 'being in charge' of the welfare of the household. Minerva ~

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  12. That's very interesting. It's somehow comforting to know that other factors beside strength and youth count, even among animals. Tungsten is the top-cat in my household, though she is a tiny thing, a third of the size of the others. Yet she will step aside and let Josie eat first (Josie loves her food) - except when Tungsten has something especially enjoyable in the dish or is especially hungry; then Josie waits her turn.

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  13. I find all this so fascinating! Ed may just be the new KIng!

    xo
    Claudia

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  14. With just having one cat at a time, I don't have this hierarchy to contend with. However, I have noticed with Rosie, she likes being the Queen and if we did bring another cat or two in, she'd be in charge! XOXO

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  15. I love that pic with the finger just about to come over the top of the box. Attack in three, two, one....

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  16. What an interesting post Deb...Could it be possible to have more than one hierarchy at a household?
    King Edward you are so sweet!♥

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    1. There will be one top cat. It's second it command that most of the other cats will fight over. Usually, in a multi-cat household, there will be a second in command but that position is very fluid.

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  17. Long live the KING! With five of our own I can vouch for the Alpha Male. Ollie has taken over top spot on the both trees. He also is the first to claim my robe when it's on the bed. He will chase off the other girls but Ms. Stella will whap him as soon as look at him! Cracks me up when she just gives him the look like 'Oh yea? You want some of this?" And he gets all sheepish and runs off! They do still play chase, her at 18 and him at 1year old. They are definately the rulers of the house!
    Stacy

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  18. It's strange. In our house-hold of 6 cats the alpha male has always been Jack... from the time he was a kitten he ruled. Yet he doesn't rule with aggression, but with a whole-hearted acceptance of everyone and everything. This cat allows anyone or anything to lie with him, eat his food, etc. But he never backs down... never hisses and spits. If the other cats are hungry (and we aren't around to feed them), he will drag the dry food out and let them eat.

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    1. Oh, I want to meet this cat. :-)

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  19. I would love to see the dapper King Edward reign with the beautiful Queen Lily on his arm/leg. (Sierra may by the alpha-female, but Lily does own King Ed's heart! lol)
    Love to all the court – especially the little jester, Audrey.
    Lily, WA, USA

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  20. Feline social interaction fascinates me. I think Rivkah is the top cat in my house but I'm not sure. Riv usually gets her way, is the first to eat when I fill the dish or put out cat treats. But Tabitha will give Riv a smack on the head if she is hungry. Cheeto is too laid back for anyone to think she would assert herself but Pout is afraid of her, and I have caught Cheeto teasing him. And Pout is the male and the biggest cat, though I don't think he realizes how big he is. Pout is also the youngest so that might be holding him back.

    I once saw some documentary about cats and part of it was studying feral cats living on an old farm. It was really interesting.

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