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.