Tag Archives: Cat behavior

Cats, snow, rain, and forthcoming lilacs

Lilac buds are always a welcome sight before Spring settles in with any confidence.

First large, wet, fluffy snowflakes fell to the ground and instantly melted. Rain followed without a pause. Effie was unimpressed and came back in the house right after I conceded to her vocal affirmations that she wanted to go out into Effieland. A few minutes later, I went out to pick up the cat food dish we put out early in the morning for our feral stray I named Paladin. He had finished his kibbles and was out roaming. Effie was behind her gate, yowling to let me know she wanted to come back inside. I let her in of course, and she is napping in fair luxury.

Paladin has been coming to our place for more than a month. He is a sweet cat with a grateful heart. He permits us to pet him while he is eating. Sometimes he shows up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other times he comes just for one or two mealtimes. Effie seems indifferent to him. Halvor, our shop cat we took in when he showed up freezing and hungry, despised Paladin at first, and even flipped him over, but now realizes Paladin is not a contender for shop territory. Torvald, Halvor’s possible brother, hangs out with Paladin, and was sweet enough to bring him to our place.

Halvor is a mighty hunter. He also loves watching my husband work in his shop, which became Halvor’s home.

Torvald is a friend to all.

Paladin is our friendly feral kitty. We plan to have him neutered, wormed if necessary, and vaccinated so that he might come indoors.

Effie, napping in fair luxury


Filed under Cats, Effie, Halvor, Home Life, Paladin, Photos, Rural life, Seasons, Torvald, Weather

Effie responds. . .

“Honestly, human, does this look like a turnip patch to you? My faithful human, you seem to lack any sense! I am bug hunting! I catch my prey in mid-air, on the ground, and under the ground. Why would I dirty my claws and get bits of weeds all over my fur–only for you to insist on removing them with my comb–when a delicious bug is the object of my quest?  I really must teach you how we superior beings think!”

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Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Cats, Effie, Gardens, Nature, Photos

Cat calming collars–do they work?





We bought Effie’s first calming collar when she was in heat due to ovarian remnant syndrome.  She was yowling like a banshee. The collar honestly did not help at all in her–and our–time of need. Trust me, it was a rugged time.

Effie had surgery to remove excess ovarian tissue left behind when she was spayed. She had been spayed just before we adopted her, at 13 months of age. Unfortunately, shelter vets sometimes have too many animals on their dockets and may rush things.

After her ovarian remnant surgery, Effie was much better, but she continued to have yowly bouts. We bought her a fresh calming collar and it helped. Now we keep one on her and a new one ready in the drawer. She sleeps through the night; sleep formerly was not a priority in Effie’s night life.

The calming collar is infused with lavender, chamomile, and mama cat pheromones. Somehow the pheromones work with the fragrant essences, and Effie is a much calmer cat. The collars are supposed to last 30 days, but they are effective for Effie for only 2-3 weeks. We buy the collars at Walmart, where they cost considerably less than at Petco.

I don’t intend to actively recommend the calming collar because I know it may or may not work for other cats; I can only share our experience. Effie will still yowl at times, but she sleeps more at night and sometimes will even accept “No” for an answer, as in, “No, you can’t be outdoors now because we are going to bed and you are not an out-at-night kitty,” etc.

Effie seems proud of her collar. She has never attempted to remove it. She always readily accepted her walking collar with its halter and a lead to walk with me outdoors–though now we seldom use it, because she romps at liberty in the safety of her beloved Effieland.



Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Photos

Some speculations on dynamics of cat friendships


Effie is politic. She knows she is small and that Torvald and Halvor are big; and she knows that she is new to the garden. She evidently knows that the boy cats have enjoyed longstanding rights to the same turf. Torvald and Halvor, who hail from the neighborhood, have had food and water there all summer; Effie has lived here just three weeks, but somehow knows she is Lady of the Manor and all she sees, at least all the bounds she walks with me with her halter and lead.

I think her accessories are not perceived as a badge of slavery, but rather protection. And protection is a form of power: the power, for instance, to stop providing food and fresh water to non-resident cats who are testy to the Resident Cat. This was never an issue while our recently deceased Coolidge lived–Coolidge was Too Precious to Go Out, and he never showed much interest in cats who did.

Torvald and Halvor have never set foot in our house. Effie has more house privileges than she would prefer. She expressed a wish to go outdoors this morning at around 4:30. It is difficult to ignore these high-frequency requests, but ultimately this is accomplished. She is, of course, spayed, and Halvor and Torvald are neutered. But dynamics persist. In any case, once night falls, Effie seems to perceive indoor home life as a form of internment. Tough love prevails.

In Torvald and Halvor, Effie likely saw a couple of macho protectors. And she has a good eye: I’ve seen Halvor stare down a fox and make her change her course from his path. And I’ve seen Torvald win a few staring matches with some big, tough cats and not have to duke it out. Bigness is a big asset in feline dominance circles.

The first day Effie and Torvald met in the garden, Effie proffered her adorable nose toward Torvald’s somewhat larger nose. I thought it a nervy move. It worked. Torvald leaned down and reciprocated the greeting. They do this every morning. Torvald also continues to show affection to me and I treat him with the same attention and petting I always have. Halvor is a different story.

When Effie offered Halvor a nose greeting, he stepped back and hissed at her. I raised my finger to him. He hissed at me. He stepped back a few more steps and hissed at us both, repeatedly. I stepped between him and Effie to demonstrate she was under my protection. Halvor left the garden.

It broke my heart that Halvor felt banished from the garden, but I can’t accept his hostility. He took up hanging out with us before Torvald joined him as a regular. Halvor loved watching my husband working on things some evenings and Saturdays in his shop. Halvor always went with him to tend the chickens, never casting a threatening glance at them, just hanging out with Vic on his morning and evening chore circuit. I hope Halvor will come to accept Effie as a friend and return as a regular visitor. He’s taking his time.

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Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Cats