A Little Princess

by Bob

Princess (right), with Gracie.  There's that stare again!

Princess (right), with Gracie. There's that stare again!

Princess started hanging around my house in December of 2005. My guess is that she was around two months old. I believe she was abandoned here from somewhere else, because she just showed up and didn't belong to anybody around here. I noticed that she had a flea collar on, and thought at first she was a neighbor's cat. When it became apparent that she was living in my yard, I tried to find her owners with no luck.

At the time, I only had Ozzy and Zombie, and thought there was no way they'd accept her. But she knew even then how to work her way into my home. One cold and snowy night, I pulled into my driveway and heard her meow pitifully. I called out, "where are you?" and she ran to me and put her paws up on my leg. Sounds cute, right? Yeah, she knew what she was doing. I asked my then wife to get her a can of wet food, and this little kitty devoured it in about two minutes. We gave her another can with the same results. As she ate, I noticed that the flea collar was extremely tight, as if she had grown into it without anyone to loosen it. I figured out then that she was fending for herself.

I let her into the house, into the room with the cat furniture, keeping Ozzy and Zombie out for a while. I had to cut the flea collar off, as it seemed like it was choking her, and found that she had no fur under it and her skin was pink there. After a couple of hours, I decided to let the boys in and see how everyone reacted.

Zombie, always the friendly cat, brought his nose close to hers, paused, then backed away without incident. Ozzy got close to her and hissed as if to say, "this is MY house!". She smacked him on his nose, telling him "not anymore!"

With that initial confrontation, the hierarchy was set. Princess was in control. In retrospect, "Queen" would have been a more accurate name. Her rule has never been challenged. If another of my cats is laying in a spot where she wants to lay, she will go up to them and stare at them, and they WILL get up and leave the spot. I have a cat flap in my bedroom door so when I close it they can still come and go. If I'm not near the door, Princess will use the flap. But if I'm at my computer, within arms reach of the door, she will stop and stare at me, then the door, then back, until I open it for her.

Once, after I had opened the door for her, the reality of the situation just hit me... she not only trained the other cats, she trained ME!! She doesn't even meow much anymore, she just uses "the look". Even Dodge, when he was still mean tempered, never gave her any trouble. I used to bring him up to the door between the basement and the hallway and open it a crack to get him used to the cats. He would hiss and spit at the others, and try to swat at them through the inch I had the door opened, but when Princess came to the door, he stopped. She brought her nose right to the opening and, in my opinion, dared him to swat at her. He turned and went back down the stairs as she stared at him. I have never seen anything like it in my life, and it still amazes me. This little female cat showed absolutely no fear and stared down a feral male more than twice her size, causing him to back away without even a hiss or growl.

It's been five years since Princess came in and took control. She's been a loving mother to her kittens, one of whom is El Ray. Her attitude was definitely passed on to him genetically. But even he knows who the boss really is. She rules with an iron fist... or paw. She is always silent, and always in charge.

A Little Princess to Feral Cats

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A Little Princess

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Mar 15, 2010 Princess
by: Ruth

I loved reading your story Bob and the photo of Princess with Gracie is lovely too.
I think all cats have that 'stare' but some use it more than others.Our Jozef can get anything he wants from us just by looking into our faces like that lol and when Walter goes too far with thinking he's top cat,the stare from Jozef reminds him he isn't and he backs off.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Mar 14, 2010 The stare
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Bob. I know that intimidating stare. If Snow White sneaks into our bed at night and old Milly finds out, Milly will stand on the other side of the bed and stare until Snow White leaves.
There's plenty of room for everybody, but Milly has this idea that no cats should be in the bed at night - except for herself of course. Snow White usually gets the message, although she might come back later when Milly is not around.
It's kinda funny because Snow White is twice the size of Milly and is generally not intimidated in any way. They have however somehow divided the appartment between them and respect each other's favourite places. The rules sometimes are a bit confusing for us humans, but the cats are never in doubt. In case of tresspassing, it only takes a stare... 😉

Mar 14, 2010 You're right, Michael...
by: Bob

It is just as you say, presence and confidence. The funny thing is that most of the others are much bigger than she is, but her presence and attitude outweighs them all. It's almost as if she were a mafia don or something, with the sense of respect and subservience for her among the rest. It's nothing out of the ordinary to see three big cats crammed into one cat bed and Princess lying in another one all to herself.

Mar 13, 2010 Little Princess
by: Dorothy

I too love your cat stories. She sounds like a real Queen, that princess.

My mother had that stare. We used to call it the "double-whammy" look. It didn't matter what she meant, we just went the other direction, or stopped doing whatever it was we were doing. It works. Sounds like it works perfectly in your household.

After all, someone has to be boss, right?

She's great, as are all your cats.


Mar 13, 2010 Alpha Cats
by: Michael

Thanks Bob for an insight into the world of the alpha cat. I don't exactly now how the alpha cat communicates to other cats that they are alpha, unless it is the Princess stare!

But it certainly exists. It is probably the same as in the human world - a sense of presence born out of confidence.

If humans give way to cats it is because we are tender hearted. Ultimately we are the top cat.

Great story again. I love your cat stories.

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