Return From De Nile

Let’s call the question conclusively settled:  One cat grooming another is an expression of assertiveness.  Here’s a snapshot of this morning’s action.

The Beginning:  Awwww

The Devolution:  Oyyyyyyy

Fangie shows why his name fits.

I did a phone consult with vet.  She thinks Fang’s probably doing fine.  She recommended taking him off the antibiotic and just watching his eye.  Given his health history, this could be a permanent condition.  It looks a little better this morning.  Seems to come and go, maybe?  I want to see what the raw diet – and peace at home, I devoutly wish – will do for his immune system.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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37 Responses to Return From De Nile

  1. CATachresis says:

    I’m sure you are right about dominant grooming. They’ve come so far though! The vet doesn’t seem too worried about Fangie’s eye x

  2. Anya says:

    That type of behaviour is very common, in my experience. I see it a lot at my place, and ultimately, no harm done. I think sometimes that they are too serious and break them up, but maybe I am overreacting. A long time ago, I had one kitty that would always start grooming little Angelina while she was in her basket. She seemed to love it at first, then he would get more “serious” – she would squeal slightly – and then she would leave the basket, after which he would immediately hop in, with (I swear), a “mission accomplished” look on his face!) It was a regular routine and cracked me up every time. All in all, I think your two are doing very well!

    • nadbugs says:

      Thank you so much, Anya — that Angelina interaction seems right on the money with my boys, too. Wherever Fang is, Bugs needs to replace him. I think they’re coming along. As of today, there’s been less fur flying. One hopes this trend will continue.

  3. Dianda says:

    I don’t know why I giggled at the second picture.
    And do you prepare raw food for Bugs?

    • nadbugs says:

      I know, Dianda, it is really strange why that Fang picture is not terrifying but funny. I think it’s funny too. I think it’s because, really, no harm was done. Fang was making a big deal out of it, which I can certainly understand — but when they get really serious, Fang’s throat isn’t open like that. He is a tiger no holds barred, when he really means business — and then there’s a lot of flying around, fur and cats and Bean.

  4. Melanie says:

    Oh, how stressful! Try (I know it can be hard) to be calm about cat v. cat. In my limited experience, dominance and affection in a cat aren’t always mutually exclusive. Bit and Annie fight over who gets to groom whom… I’d never thought of that as a dominance thing but it makes sense. Still, most of the time they are the best of friends.

    I hope that Fangie is feeling better soon!

    • nadbugs says:

      Dear Melanie, thank you, Fang does seem to be recovered — the regurgitation really did seem connected to the antibiotics and once I got the vet-clearance to stop them, there’s been no more of that praise Cod. The stress has been super-tough for me (and Bugs), though, thank you so much for understanding that. I know cat-hands have more perspective, but for me it’s all new and really rather terrifying. Fang’s vocalizations are blood-curdling. As days go by, though, I think we’re all learning how to modulate. I think. I hope. Now I’m aiming at even-handedness, or maybe a bit more partiality shown to Bugs, to reassure him that he is still my main guy. Seems to be working. His stress symptoms are lessening, I believe. Appetite better, dandruffy scurf lessening. Paws crossed.

  5. They are being typical cats. I have brother cats – Tim & Tom. 9 yrs old, lived together all their lives. And nightly one of them starts the grooming of the other and then the wrestling commences. So long as my feet are off the floor, it is all good….no one gets hurt and the boys are having a good time (in fact, I have often seen foster kittens watching from the sidelines – I swear they are taking notes).

  6. Ivy says:

    I keep loving the pictures! So relieved that the vet is not worried about his condition.
    As for the raw diet… Are you going to prepare it? Or buy it from a supplier?
    Have a great week!

    • nadbugs says:

      So glad you’re enjoying the visuals. I love taking and offering them. Yes, that vet response was a real shot in the arm, so to speak. And two questions on diet mean I will answer with a separate post. Coming up. Take care Ivy!

  7. Yep, ‘love’ always turns into ‘battle’ around here, too. They know it – the grooming feels good, gets the juices flowin, and pow! it’s on. I only holler at mine to cut it out when they get loud about it. You’ll be able to tell a ‘hey that HURTS!’ noise soon enough.

    • nadbugs says:

      Waiting for that, Spiders! Fang’s howls are really something to freeze the blood, though. Even when he’s completely at ease he comes up with some really strange sound-effects. I believe he has scar tissue on his vocal chords, from when he was so sick. I can feel something stringy in there.

  8. littlemiao says:

    Awww. I must confess that the Miaolings skip the grooming and go right for the chomping. I honestly can’t remember seeing them groom each other. So your boys are doing quite well, relatively speaking!

    Probiotics might help strengthen Fangie’s immune system. When Kemi was on antibiotics for a while, our vet gave him powdered probiotics made for cats and dogs, to sprinkle on his food. He even liked the taste.

    • nadbugs says:

      Interesting that yours won’t groom. You know how cats seem to have their own signature rituals? This assertive-grooming seems to be that for Bugs; he seems to do that all the time to Fang. It’s actually a handy signal. Makes me know I better start paying attention, for what is coming up next. Great idea about the probiotics! The vet mentioned same but we never got around to doing it, because I got clearance to stop the antibiotics and the hurling stopped as well. Sigh of relief!

      • littlemiao says:

        I’m so glad to hear Fangie is doing better!

        I wonder if the Miaolings will ever groom. I think Sprocket is a groomer, but Chun isn’t. It could be a personality thing. The Miao Brothers on the other hand give one hope that world peace is possible. Kemi grooms almost everyone and the result is multi-cat snuggles rather than a wrestling match.

  9. minlit says:

    Ya see – the notion of a peaceful household of anything more than one cat is a fallacy. Even Toko and Zizou, littermates who adore each other really and are like jam on bread when they are outdoors, spend a lot of their time locked in mortal combat. They are just expressing their Catness.
    Following on from little miaows probiotic suggestion, you might want to try a lick of natural live yogurt with something delicious like a bit of smoked salmon in it. If the boys don’t like it, you could break out the Ryvita and have it yourself!

    • nadbugs says:

      Hah! Sounds delicious, Minlit. I did ask the vet about yogurt — but she said for the friendly bugs to be any use to the cat’s gut, they’d have to eat cups upon cups of it.

  10. In our household grooming, especially in the head and neck area, always leads to a stranglehold on the neck!

  11. Oldcat says:

    Gus does that all the time with Julie.

  12. Wazeau says:

    I’m sorry I know I shouldn’t but I can’t stop laughing at poor Fang getting the vampire treatment. Remember you will look back on these blog posts someday and laugh too. All of this is totally normal. Even the best of buddies have to work this stuff out between themselves.

  13. I’m sorry, I still think you’re being overly pessimistic… you’re seeing trouble and think everyone else who see’s normal cat behavior is wrong… Count the comments, can that many people really be wrong? They’re playing, it looks rough because they’re cats, cats play rough, they’re boys, young ones at that. They’re having fun. I’m sorry it’s freaking you out, but it’s really great! I wish my two got along half that well, and they’ve been together for getting close to a year!
    I don’t know if you look at Lux the Cat’s blog, but there’s a video I think you should see on their site. Lux is a relatively young boy and he just got a new sister a few weeks ago. Here’s how they groom.. it gets rough, but they are having fun. Please, watch it if you havent. http://luxthecat.blogspot.com/2012/02/sunday-morning-grooming.html
    You’ll see perfectly normal, rough looking kitty play.
    Hope Fang feels better soon!

    • nadbugs says:

      Wow, Andrea, that video is a real find! Good eye!! I need to use it as an instructional video for the boys, because what goes on in the video is orders of magnitude different from the way the boys approach this thing. “Boys! Sit! Watch and learn! You see? THIS is how your game should be played. Fang, NO! Try that again. Gently. NO Fang. GENTLY. BUGS! Stop that! Boys!! OK. Break it up. Time out.”

  14. That second photo looks like an publicity still from a vampire movie.

    We’re with the other. If Fangie was being intimidated, he’d fuss more or leave when Bugs showed up.

    • nadbugs says:

      Lee County, you have no idea what fussing looks like, when done by The Fang. It is truly blood-curdling. I like your idea for the publicity angle. We need money. “Fang the Vampire Slayer?” Calling Hollywood.

  15. Rayya says:

    I am quite interested in veterinary behavioural medicine and recently I found out that there are two types of grooming between cats: one that is trully nurturing, other other very aggressive. Unfortunately the first picture while it seems so sweet, it all depends on the context and body language of your kitty cats. If one was very stiff (submissive cat) and the other was overly affectionate with the grooming (aggresive cat) > there isn’t a harmonious relationship happening. If they were both chilled out and reciprocating the grooming or just mellow, it is normal. There is also a clear distinction between rough play and a true cat fight. I recommend the use of feliway spray or diffuser if you are concerned about your kitties not getting along and even using catnip as treat to reward both cats when they are relaxed around one another. Best of luck!

    • nadbugs says:

      Dear Rayya, how wonderful to see your reply. Spot on the money! You can see, in a subsequent picture, that Fang’s stiff. (And Bugs — maybe not as obvious — aggressive; his movements were sharp and swift.) And then as days went by, despite my nervousness, in the post “Double-Wide Load,” you can see how both boys are much more chilled. (Happy dance.) Thank you so much for your nuanced observations. The Feliway, though — I’ve heard mixed reviews on that one, from one of my readers whom I especially respect. I’ve chosen to go with Jackson Galaxy’s Spirit Essences. If they work, their influence is subtle — or maybe it’s my magnificent friend Teresa with her Tellington Touch — or maybe it’s all of the above plus luck. Who knows. We are talking about cats, after all. Ours not to reason why, ours just to do or die. Smiling.

    • Oldcat says:

      I think I am the mixed review of Feliway. My vet suggested it when a cat I had adopted about 4 months earlier overgroomed her belly. When it ran out at the end of the month, though a different cat would attack her violently. Then he would seem to forget any aggression. Next month, same thing except when separated from her he attacked another cat, and my hand. Feliway was acting like an irritant, but keeping him from acting until it was gone and he had to burn out all the tension at once.

      We gave him valium, stopped Feliway, and attacks stopped. Then we stopped valium and no resumption for over a year. The next year Calla cut her hair short on her belly again during the summer – maybe it is just her way of handling hot California weather as a Persian!

      I would never tell someone not to use it, but keep an eye out for adverse reactions, and not just from the cat you are trying to help.

      • Rayya says:

        You are absolutely correct. Hey again :-).
        Feliway is not the solution. It is just a pheromone that can help cats chill out. It has mixed reviews but mostly it either works or it simply does nothing. I definitely have had great experiences with it. Unfortunately it only provides a band aid solution. For true inter-cat aggression, veterinary behavioural medication is very indicated. That could mean medicating either the aggressor cat alone or both the aggressor & the victim cat as they are both very stressed. The anti-anxiety medication can only be transitional until the behavioural modification training has kicked in.
        I am glad the valium worked for your kitty cat. I will definitely keep in mind the effects feliway had on your cat. Take care

  16. Pingback: Double-Wide Load | catself

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