Humans often forget that house cats evolved as top-tier predators. We may be small, but there’s not a lot out there that hunts us for food or sport, whereas we hunt and kill most everything smaller than us. You can see it in the way we play: Dogs may run around and play fetch, but us cats, we like to chase small objects, claw at things smaller than we are, and engage in blood sports with other cats. This doesn’t mean we don’t want our bellies rubbed, or to have our own mango boxes and play houses. Far from it. We want those things because we are predators.
Like most predators, cats are deeply territorial. That’s part of why adding a cat to a home that already has a cat can be difficult. All of a sudden, we have to share dominion that we once ruled. The jungles of the kitchen and office are no longer our exclusive domains. Our ottomans get sat upon, our scritchies divided. That’s why it’s important, in multicat households, to have places each cat can claim.
Doing this isn’t easy. I dislike pandering and have simpler tastes than most cats. I’m not much interested in cat towers, or scratching posts, or most feline beds. But I have this great mango box. Two years ago, when Mommy and Daddy joined Costco, Daddy bought a case of mangos and put the colorful cardboard box in the foyer to take down with the recycling. The box had a vague smell of vintage citrus, was the perfect size, and let me pretend I was in a fort (Daddy and I like forts). I started sitting in the mango box. Pretty soon Daddy took it out of the foyer and put it by my food dish. My mango box and I have remained close ever since.
Ziggy, in his eternal attempt to show how weird he can be, laid claim to our cat carrier. This is fine by me. I hate that thing, and I wouldn’t sit in it if you paid me in gravy. But that is beside the point. The important thing here is that each of us has our place that we get to claim exclusive of the other, and neither of us messes with the feline balance of power.
Sometimes Ziggy forgets his place and steps in my mango box. This isn’t always a big deal. Sometimes I’m too busy sleeping on Mommy’s pillow to notice. But sometimes he makes the poor judgment to step into the box while I’m watching. And then, Mama’s got a sharp set of claws. I think he does this sometimes just as an excuse to start a war. It’s like how he climbs up on the dining room table while Daddy is working there. He knows Daddy is just going to exile him to the floor, but he does it anyway.
Einstein’s cat once said, "Being a kitten is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Kittens …
Speaking of which, I see him sitting in my mango box.
Oh, Ziggy …