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Cats don’t have consciences. Of course, I knew this before today, so it’s not exactly a revelation. It’s just that today I got a lot of proof.

Extremely early this morning (when I’d only been sleeping for an hour), my cats had a fight in my room. They always fight, because they hate each others’ guts, and usually the situation can be easily defused. I yell at Tigger (because Tigger’s always the aggressor), he scarpers, Caper sidles up for a cuddle to comfort herself, and all is well with the world. Tigger has obviously never felt any guilt about it, but what happened in today’s fight was — to me — so horrifying that, just today, it rankles.

Caper emerged more or less unscathed, but I’m not sure my doona cover will recover. Tigger usually scratches Caper’s face when they fight, but today he did something different and he scratched Caper’s… uh, shoulder? Apparently, cats’ shoulders hold a lot of blood, because Caper was bleeding for fifteen straight minutes. She bled over some of the clothes I’d dumped on the spare bed, bled on my laptop’s manual (rendering it permanently unusable in the process), and finally, bled on my bed as she sidled up for a cuddle to comfort herself.

She is fine, though. She certainly had the energy to bite me (…twice!) when I tried to inspect the wound, and right now she’s curled up on her favourite chair like nothing has happened. She is a bit shaken up, but after seeing all that blood1, so was I. (After three cups of coffee and an excellent book I’m better, though!) Tigger is extremely relaxed, and has been snoozing on his favourite bed for the last three or four hours. Which is annoying. Where is your remorse, Tigger? Where is it??

Of course, in that time-honoured cat tradition, he’s trying to convince me that he’s feeling remorse. He widens his eyes innocently, meows softly (or silently2 to attract my attention, and proceeds to show off some of his finest cute manoeuvres. (He has a lot of them!) But then when he thinks no one is watching him, he runs off to stalk Caper again.

Why are cats so mean to each other? And why do they take such pleasure from it?

(Also, if you saw an earlier entry about this, you weren’t imagining it! This is version two. I thought I could do better than that product of a sleep-deprived, insufficiently-caffeinated, shaken-up mess, so I did. Usually I wouldn’t post such a terrible version one, but what can I say? I was sleep-deprived, insufficiently caffeinated, and shaken up!)

  1. Here’s a shout-out to my favourite Biology student friend: why is dried cats’ blood bright red? Why is it not brown like standard varieties of dried blood?
  2. Sometimes Tigger forgets the vocal cords’ relationship to sound production
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4 Comments

  1. It sounds like your cat has some serious anger management issues! Is Caper’s wound serious enough to warrant visiting a vet?

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s not. Things look fine now she’s cleaned up, and I can’t even tell where the wound was from looking. It’s strange, but I guess it bodes well for Caper. If things turn bad, though, of course she’ll be taken to a vet. The other cat does seem to have anger management issues. He attacks everything in sight, but this is the first time he’s attacked the other cat so viciously. šŸ˜

  3. Just as I was reading this, Rufus crawled over me to reach Injera so that he could groom her. Sweet! A photo moment. Then he bit down on her ear, they fought briefly and now he has her spot on the couch. Absolutely no conscience!

    I hope Caper is OK. In my experience, scratch wounds seem less prone to infection than bites, which turn into abcesses at the drop of a hat.

  4. That’s another of Tigger’s favourite things to do — chasing Caper away from the spots she got to first. Even her food bowl! But my cats would never groom each other. Their relationship is limited to pure hatred.

    Caper is fine. Now a few days have passed, she’ll even stay in the same room as Tigger without throwing a fit.


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