When Guido and Target pick different best friends, war breaks out.
In the last few months, our mornings have been punctuated by cat fights. There are four major players in our street: Target and Guido who run our house, and CJ (short for Cat Jalan) and Charlie who have their own homes.
CJ believes in “my house is your house” and comes to raid the cat biscuit bowl every morning. He’s also walked off with some of Guido’s catnip toys, and he’s not above snoozing on our dining room table.
Similarly, Target thinks that CJ’s yard is his own. He goes over every morning to sniff the cars and if CJ has left a cat biscuit in his bowl, Target will steal it.
Target and CJ loathe each other. Our senior cat sees CJ, puffs up, squeals in outrage and then has a complete hissy fit. CJ is no coward and he comes fighting back. For weeks, the two came together in a ball of claws on a regular basis, leaving them both with “battle bum”, a condition characterised by hairless bottoms.
Charlie has decided that he likes our garden. As we are one of the few houses with a garden in our end of the street, he adores sitting on the wall under our tree. Most mornings you can find Charlie at our place, lounging.
Guido is convinced that Charlie’s biscuit bowl is his own. He also loves Charlie’s mum and dad, and makes regular visits across the road.
Here’s the kicker: Charlie and Guido can’t stand each other.
Whereas Target and CJ behave like two drama queens, Charlie and Guido are both placid. They puff up and start yowling, but after a minute or so they’ll lie down – and continue hurling insults at each other as they make themselves comfortable!
To further complicate matters, Target likes Charlie and Guido likes CJ. Guido goes out for walks with CJ, and he invites his pal in for biscuits.
Target is more nervy so he’s not a cat to have bosom pals, but he allows Charlie to sit on his wall. Guido doesn’t get why Target hates CJ, and Target is shocked that Guido loathes Charlie.
With our houses being only a few steps away from each other, we’re having our share of slanging matches.
Yesterday morning, I heard Target’s voice raised in anger. I went outside and found him yelling at CJ – in CJ’s own driveway. Luckily, I was able to talk Target into backing up and coming home with me. (See sidebar)
Then I was out again because Guido and Charlie were swearing at each other. Charlie was sitting on one side of our gate, and Guido on the other. Both were puffed up and making the most bloodcurdling sounds – but they were both lying down and Charlie had his eyes closed! I told them to pipe down; while I was reading them a lecture on manners, Charlie dozed off.
I made it to the office, but then I was called out by Target because CJ was doing his pirate act in our bathroom. When I chased CJ out, he jumped Charlie and as the two are sworn enemies, I had to split them up. They’re not my cats, so I used a broom (Again, see sidebar)
At this point, Guido was so upset that I had to pick him up and take him inside. I’ve heard of house cats who have turned on their own brothers and sisters, but although I think Guido is too solid to go for Target, our senior cat is a bit hysterical and I wouldn’t put it past him to whap Guido. In the wrong circumstances, a fight can start a feud.
So I had both kitties inside, closed all the doors and declared an hour’s curfew. To encourage a happy mood, I broke out a tin of commercial cat food. It’s smelly deliciousness that’s usually dished out to the kitchen cats, the strays who live in the back lane, so it has the added lure of being “stolen” food.
Guido and Target instantly unfluffed their tails, stuck their faces into the bowl, and it was with relief that I heard the sound of purrs coming from both of them.
We have had a bad few months, but as all the cats are neutered, and all are getting older and wiser, there’s now more yelling than clawing. One good sign is that Target and CJ no longer have battle bums. Another is that we had an entire morning of unrequited harmony today.
I’m feeling optimistic but, just to be sure, I’m keeping an ear out for trouble and a stack of tins in order to soothe my savage beasts.
> For updates on Target and Guido, follow Ellen at facebook.com/ewhyte