Norton and Zorro are the last two cats to join this household. Norton was adopted as a kitten, and has always had an easygoing, pleasant, and (slightly) mischievous personality. Norton is also very, very smart.
Zorro, the (suspected) Ragdoll, joined the household last, and was a quasi-feral cat who we trapped and tamed. Zorro is also very smart and loving.
As I tamed Zorro, I began to slowly introduce him to the rest of the feline household. I chose Norton to introduce him to first, figuring that Norton’s easygoing personality and youth might make the introduction go well. I think I was right.
Zorro, who was finding his place in the household, bullied Norton at first, but I suspect that Zorro was simply insecure. Zorro bullied everyone at first, but he really first bonded with Norton. I remember being delighted one day to notice that Zorro and Norton were playing. They were doing the gentle, yet very physical version of cat wrestling — not aggressive, but definitely exercise. It was fun to watch them posture with each other and play. At that point, I knew everything was going to be okay and that Zorro would have at least one other friend in the household. Zorro has since mellowed out and now very rarely bullies anyone.
What I didn’t figure on is what fast friends Zorro and Norton would become.
These two are constantly together. They swagger around the house, walking side by side. It seems that one must always know what the other one is up to. Here’s how they demonstrate their steadfast friendship — and sometimes, their inner tricksters.
It’s probably more correct to say that Norton copies Zorro. I have never seen the reverse, but Norton does spend a lot of time watching Zorro and aping Zorro’s actions. Case in point, Norton never bullied Jamie Bluebell (my only female feline) until he somehow saw Zorro chasing Bluebell. Now, Norton has to do it, too. It’s like a big brother, little brother arrangement.
If Zorro is running on the log beams that span our ceiling, Norton must do the same. If Zorro’s in a particular place, Norton wants to be there. If Zorro rolls around in holiday-present gift wrapping, Norton needs to join him.
Sometimes, Zorro and Norton’s influence extends beyond their own inner circle. I was delighted to see Rama begin to play with Norton after Zorro and Norton had begun to play. Rama is a cat who never ever played with any of the others, so this was a big deal to me, the cat nerd!
This was funny, and it happened when we recently watched a friend’s dog. You would expect a cat to try and steal a dog’s bed, but naturally, these two had to do it together. Poor gentle Ruby (the dog) didn’t stand a chance as Zorro and Norton entered the room and not-so-subtly stole that dog’s blanket, as well as her bed.
What goes around comes around, though. We just had another dog stay with us last weekend. This dog is really aware of his pack and loves to keep things in order, wherever he is. When that dog observed Norton trying to open a door and go into an off-limits place, the dog growled to warn us. Norton = busted.
To be fair, this isn’t happening much anymore, and I am glad. (Feliway on each floor of the house may have something to do with this.) But Zorro, as he adjusted to fitting into the household, chose to antagonize Jamie Bluebell (the only girl). After some time of this going on, I was surprised, and dismayed, to see Norton copycatting this behavior and starting to chase Jamie.
Happily, the behavior has mostly subsided. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, it almost seems that Jamie Bluebell and Zorro are beginning to flirt. Zorro flirts with his body, and is a very physical, floppy, dancing (I think) Ragdoll. Interestingly, Norton is not copycatting Zorro in this regard — I have never seen him “flirt” with Jamie Bluebell.
It seems that Zorro and Norton love to stir up chaos together. They are the two that run in circles, whining the loudest, when it’s mealtime. They are the two that run down the stairs in front of me, forcing me to be careful. They are the two that roll gleefully in wrapping paper on the floor, or create a ruckus on the counter and send something crashing down.
Norton and Zorro are young, physical boys. I am really happy that they have each other. The older boy cats are not as interested in wrestling. It’s fun to watch this friendship develop.
Do you have an inseparable pair of kitties? Tell us in the comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.