Like most people, we have a puzzling cat hierarchy situation in our house (you do have a puzzling cat hierarchy situation in your house right?). It goes like this…
This is Misty, we have had Misty for about three years:
Unfortunately, Dory and Misty do not get on. Dory is bigger, older, and was there first, so unsurprisingly she is the boss. Anybody observing them for a while would have no doubts that Dory is the boss; she prowls around proudly like a dominant lion, while Misty mostly tries to keep out of her way. Whenever Misty does cross her path, Dory will chase her and attack her, not in a way to cause injury, but very much in a way of asserting her authority, and Misty will scuttle away and hide, looking every bit like the reprimanded child.
Yep, Dory is very much the boss…except that is when it comes to food. When it comes to food there is an instant and very definite switch of power where Misty suddenly becomes the boss, and Dory turns into a big wuss. They have dry food out all the time that they can graze from, but every morning we give them each a pouch of wet food. If Misty gets there first, she will eat the first pouch while Dory sits nearby watching. If Dory gets there first and starts eating, Misty will boldly go up to her, in a way that she never does at any other time, and give her a gentle nudge or tap with her paw. Dory responds by giving a small growl of displeasure, but then backs off and sits nearby watching Misty eat. Dory makes no attempt to stand her ground or fight to eat first. Once Misty has finished, we have to put her outside, otherwise she eats the second pouch we put down for Dory too.
A few times we have tried feeding them at the same time, on different sides of the room, but what happens then is that Dory starts eating slowly, repeatedly glancing nervously over her shoulder, while Misty scoffs her one down quickly and then goes over and nudges Dory out of the way and finishes that one too.
As soon as the eating is over, Dory resumes her position as boss. You can quite literally see her shift back from the weak second-place eater into the strong dominant leader cat. Her stance and everything changes as she switches from one to the other.
It is very strange and fascinates us every day. I would have imagined that food would be an area that very much demonstrates who the boss is, so why does Dory back down and relinquish her position as boss, while Misty steps up and takes over, just for that period of eating time every morning?
They are both female, and neither have had kittens (they’ve both had the op), so there are no gender or mothering type issues going on. Any thoughts?