Wednesday 29 February 2012

Tom and Ike

When we bought our house, Kira insisted that we get some kitties.
I am a cat person and less of a dog person so I had no problem with that.
Kira picked up two orphans and we took my sister's cat in because she was moving around a lot.
That makes three cats that we started with.
We did get a dog too.  The Dog.  Lilypad.
The cats were Tinkerbell, a female, and her brother Crazy Ike,
and Stretch, who was much older.

The following year we adopted Ursa, the tortoise shell.  Ursa is a story all on her own.
Then we picked up another kitten who was wild and living in Kira's parents storage shed.
That made five cats.
I love cats.  Five cats is lots though.
Everything was going alright until the next one came along.

I can't prove my story, but here is how I think it happened.
We don't live in a place where there are stray cats.
Stray cats get eaten, and so there aren't any.  (Eaten by wildlife I should add.)
One year, there were a bunch of them.  Three, at least.
My belief is that the neighbor, in an attempt to cut down on the rodent population, trapped stray cats in the nearby village and then released them here.
I suspect that the three were siblings.
I saw one briefly one day and then never again.
Our neighbor Sally ended up with one.
We got the other.
We had no choice.

Kira fell in love with him right away.  He was friendly for a stray.
He wanted to live here, that much was clear.
It happened that he wanted to live here whether we wanted him to or not.
The only thing that kept him from coming right into the house was the five current cat occupants feverishly guarding the cat door.
There was an almost constant struggle to keep him at bay.
We felt bad because it was during a cold winter.
We let him sleep in the porch when the weather turned bitter cold.
The big problem was that he was not neutered and was peeing strong urine everywhere.
Not to mention that we already had five cats.

In the end we relented.
There was no way to end the constant combat at the kitty door and in the yard.
We took him in and then promptly took him to the vet to have his masculinity removed.
Once at home with us, there was still high tension in the house between him and the others.
I remember telling Kira not to worry.
"In a few months, they'll be cuddling together on the bed.", I said.
We named him Uncle Tom.

That was over five years ago.

It never happened.
The cuddling, I mean.
Even with the loss of two of our females, the dynamics never changed.
Stretch had to go live with my dad because he was being beaten up regularly.
Now we have three cats.
Ursa the tortoise shell, Crazy Ike, and Tom.

They fight every day.  All of them.
I've never seen such stubborn cats.
I mean, it's been years and they still carry on as if they just met.

During the Winter, it's especially grim.
They stay inside and pester each other.
Tom will sneak attack Ike while Ike is sleeping.
Ike bullies Tom during mealtime.
It is a territory battle stalemate.
Tom really should give up but he won't....not ever it seems.
They each have matching cut ears from the other.
They yowl and stalk one another.
Mostly it's a lot of posturing.
Sometimes it's a full on fur-is-flying kind of fight.
Tom normally gets the better of those ones.  He's smaller but really strong and tough.
We had a bell on Tom so that everyone knew he was coming; an early warning system.
It worked for a while, but then the sound of the bell made everyone nervous.
Tom could just walk into the room and inspire fear with nothing more than a little jingle.
(Sounds like the marketing companies.)
He never did try to lose the bell.  I think it gave him more confidence.

The worst is that both males are peeing in the house.
We don't have a litter box, but they have full access to the outdoors.
I even let them go in the woodshed during the Winter.  It's something I abhor but it's better than in the house.
But now, we have to watch them all the time.
We can't leave anything on the floor or else it will be peed in or on.
I know what you non-cat-lovers are saying right now and don't think that it hasn't crossed my mind on a daily basis.
We originally got cats because they're cute and cuddly.
We know now that if we didn't have cats, then we'd have mice.....lots of them.
All three cats are killers.  I know that Tom and Ursa take squirrels out when they try to live in the house.
Cats are rodent control.  We will never be cat free here.  Unless maybe I lose my temper one of these days.

I am still holding out for friendlier times.
Maybe if Tom gets a bad enough scare then he'll give up on his quest to rule.
I've tried to scare him myself, but obviously not enough.
If they keep up with it, then they will be given different living arrangements.
I'll give them access to only a small portion of the house.
Their demeanor with us is typical. They are both really nice and friendly, and cute and cuddly.
Tom especially loves Kira.  Maybe he thinks that she is the only thing standing between him and a premature death.
 He may be right about that.


  1. I'm really enjoying this blog! And we can relate in every single way to the cats. Oh how we can relate, right down to the non-verbalized plotting of premature death LoL At one point with fostering we had 13 of them, and are finally down to three. But we also have a Flemish Giant rabbit who is peeing in the house as well as a dachshund who we do verbalize premature death to. Regularly. I'm so glad we aren't the only ones battling with the love of cats, and their mouse keeping while trying to control their other nasty habits! Thanks for writing this blog!

    1. Thanks Jenn,
      I didn't even mention the fleas.
      We had one flea-free year without using chemicals, but last summer we got them.
      We still have them now. Ursa is half-shorn, Lily is scratching incessantly, and we've tried a dozen remedies that have failed to do the job.
      We hope to get the fleas gone by summer so we can start fresh.