Feral cats pecking order

Mini Scaredy has established herself as the alpha cat at the top of the feral cat hierarchy. By dint of her superior strength, athleticism, aggression and overall fighting ability.

And there’s really nothing I can do about it. These are wild animals after all, with their own inner-species society with it’s own unique rules and bi-laws. You can’t really “train” feral cats in the wild. Because they react to any attempts to “discipline” them — or any aggression directed at them — as a life-or-death attack on their personage.

So I just let the cats sort it out among themselves.

So this morning I fed Mini Scaredy — the ruling queen — her breakfast at my campsite.

 
Then I went down to the creek and fed Micro Scaredy — who Mini Scaredy banished from my campsite — her breakfast down there at her spot.
 

And then I fed Fatty — who’s been banished from the creek by Micro Scaredy — her breakfast at her spot about 30 yards down the trail from the creek.

And somewhere — even farther off in the distance — is Moo Cat at the bottom of the feral cat pecking order, waiting at her spot for me to bring her HER breakfast

Sheesh. Cats.

Moo Cat gets her ass kicked yet again

Mini Scaredy, undisputed ruler over all that she surveys.

I don’t know if it’s because of all the rain we got this month, or because I accidentally beaned her with a stick the other day, or what. But Mini Scaredy was definitely in an ill-humored mood this morning….. Moo Cat tried to sneak into my campsite to get some breakfast — something Mini Scaredy usually let’s slide. But not this morning. Scaredy immediately went after Moo. To escape Scaredy’s wrath, Moo ran around to the back of my campsite and hid behind my backpack, cowering in fear. While Scaredy stood there about ten feet away, tensed up and ready to pounce on Moo as soon as she made her move.

Moo sat there cowering behind my pack for about 30 seconds, wide-eyed, and assessing her options. Which were severely limited at this point. She’s got her back to the wall, and somehow has to get around Scaredy if she wants to get to safety.

Suddenly Moo makes her move and sprints passed Scaredy. Scaredy turns and chases after her in full sprint. Moo manages to get about 20 yards down the trail when Scaredy catches up to her. Scaredy dives at Moo with her two front legs fully extended and spears Moo in the side with both fists. A very impressive and athletic move by Scaredy — reminded me of one of those nature films where a lion in full sprint lunges at an elk and takes it down. Moo is is knocked sideways by the blow. But she quickly scrambles and regains her balance and runs down the trail with her tail between her legs.

Scaredy saunters back to my campsite with a smug look on her face, like: “I ain’t in the mood to take any shit this morning.” Ha ha.

I fix a plate of food for Moo Cat and walk down the trail to deliver her breakfast in a neutral zone. Moo Cat doesn’t seem hurt by the exchange. Just a little humiliated. Her thick winter coat probably prevented Scaredy’s claws from penetrating to the flesh. 

I guess every now and then Mini Scaredy just feels the need to re-establish the pecking order.

Moo Cat is still upset about Mini Scaredy bullying her earlier in the day. “She ran after me and chased me and hit me with her paws. The big bully.. It was frightening and it hurt my feelings. Can’t you tell that bitch to chill out??” “There there Moo Cat. It’s all right.”

A surprise guest at my campsite

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Had a surprise guest at my campsite, Tuffy the brown-colored feral cat. Out of the dozens of feral cats that have come through my campsite over the years — all of whom have been variations of black, white and gray — Tuffy is the only brown one. She’s from Moo Cat’s one-and-only litter back around 2011. A homeless friend of mine who camps on the other side of the hill from me, adopted Tuffy. But every couple of years or so she’ll drop by to say hello to me.

My two feral cats — Scaredy Cat and Mini Scaredy — were immediately on red alert. The both immediately stiffened and stared off intently into the distance, growling under their breath (they always spot an on-coming intruder long before I do). Tuffy approached them and nonchalantly sat there about 10 feet away from them, staring blankly at them, It was a major invasion of my cats’ territory (world wars have broken out over less). So my cats kept making that noise — that gutteral, high-pitched whining/howling sound that cats makes that translates into English as: “If you come one step closer to me, I’ll slice you to ribbons, bitch!!”

My cats finished their breakfast in a state of agitation, and then laid down next to me for back-up. Tuffy casually trotted over to the food dish, ate up some of the food, lingered for a little while more, and then headed off up the hill.

When my homeless friend was out of town for 6 months, Tuffy started coming down to my campsite every morning for her breakfast. She immediately established herself as the dominant cat of the tribe, settling herself into the center of my campsite.. That’s just how it works in the cat world.

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