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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Saga Continues

I’ve long (we’re talkin’ years) wanted our fiercely timid, feral boy to come indoors but was never able to sufficiently temp or trick him into it.

It is now the seventh morning since the former porch ruling Tux, Rocco, zipped into our home. All on his own too. I opened the door last Friday to bring him his most important meal of the day and, uncharacteristically, he zipped between my legs and into the house as though Cerberus his own bad self, was at his tail.

It didn’t take him long to discover the wonders of our basement where he could hide out from this very scary change he’d initiated as well as our princess Coco’s freak-outedness (an interloper! Must ferociously chase him!).

 Apart from that first day, where he lounged on a coupla windowsills, he’s been down in my cellar studio.

I put a litter box near-ish to the stack of paintings he was perched atop and went all Carol Merrill, showing him where it was. Hells, I came *this* close to showing him how to use one.

I needn’t have worried. Each morning, when I go to clean Coco and then Rocco’s boxes, this is what I find — unburied poops in our girl’s box. They sit at the crest of a hill of Tidy Cats completely uncovered.  My first thought? Huh. Coco always buries her poops. How odd. Then I go to scoop out Rocco’s box and find neatly camouflaged crap. Huh. Interesting.

I think what I might be seeing is a dominance display played out in BM World. In the night, they’re using each other’s boxes as a way of saying “I’m the ruler of this household and all shit receptacles belong to me!”
In the wacky world of feline politics, feces act as little, smelly flags that clearly dictate the boundaries of each cat's domain. In the wild, these flags are intended to be seen, and smelled, by other cats, a sign that this is the stomping grounds of a badass kitty.
But why does Coco bury her waste and Rocco doesn’t?
Burying the poop prevents detection by their enemies, but there's another layer to it, which is that they do it to avoid challenging the dominant cat of the group. It kind of makes sense, if burying the poop is a sign that they fear another, larger animal, then leaving it uncovered would be a pretty aggressive act. "No one here is bad enough to fuck with me. Enjoy my shit."

Jen tells me that NONE of her cats (they’re down to two since Rosie moved on to the catnip filled Elysium fields and Gus hasn't moved in...yet) have ever done this. Why’zat? multicat households, the dominant cat will sometimes leave feces uncovered to announce his presence and status. Uncovered feces means the territory is taken.
So then, are they also establishing their dominance over Jen and Oni?

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