The Tribulations of 2 Alpha Females

Meet Brianna.


She is native to Miami and was a street cat. She is 11 years old and takes daily hyperthyroid medicine. She weighs a lot less than she did last time I saw her in Dec. 2016. She’s very tiny, in fact.

Now meet Mouse.


She’s a native of Memphis and was also a street cat. She’s six year old and was, two years ago, put on prescription food for weight loss purposes.

The two of them have been forcefully joined together in a single household due to my recent move to Miami.

The big move
Memphis to Miami in mom’s Fiat

The struggle is real.

In the midst of the two of them “figuring it out,” both have caused me to:

  • shed blood
  • startle out of a deep sleep at the sound of their low guttural growls thrown at each other through a closed door
  • jump out of chair to land in between what looked to be two alpha females determined to go head to head with each other (turns out, one was just crossing the room to get to the hallway)

I’ve followed the rules for introducing two new cats (examples: a separate room for one, supervised visits over time, a treat for both of them when they peacefully co-exist for  five seconds).

They’ve both been in two-cat households in their past. They’re not only kitties. They’re just drama queens.

It’s only been a week and a half, so I know we have a little ways to go. Fortunately, Brianna loves to spend most of her time outside in the yard, napping under the playground set or boogie board.

Boogie board nap
Oh, you found me.

Mouse … not an outdoor cat. Scaredy cat. Wants to rule the inside roost.

Mouse door
No way.

For 10 days, I’ve been observing the habits and war moves of these two cats, who clearly resent one another and are both rather scrappy.

Here are three of their ultimate bitch moves so far:

(1) Good Intentions?

As I was standing with Brianna on the counter to clip her nails, she was creating quite a fuss. Her growl is no joke — it sounds like the Exorcist. She was hissing, too (more like a hkaaaa than a hssst — really dramatic stuff), and acting like she was going to bite me. She really would have, probably, if Mouse didn’t get so upset by her treatment of me.

Mouse decided to intervene and suddenly darted out from under the table to give a claw swipe and a warning nip. Sadly, because it was all she could reach, both were delivered to my leg. Ow.

Game over. Two clipped toenails and good riddance to the rest.

It was as if Mouse attacked me to protect Brianna. But based on what I’ve told you so far, is that really realistic?

opposites-opposing forces

(2) The Battle of the (Litter) Box

Poor Mouse is trying her best to keep the same habits she had in Memphis. Back in my apartment in Memphis, she was a two-box cat: one for #1 and one for #2. I couldn’t fit two litter boxes in the Fiat, also called the Mario Cart by sarcastic friends, and I still have to buy a 2nd.

So, she goes #1 in Brianna’s box. Of course. Mouse can’t be put out. Diva move 1.

Last night when walking to her litter box, Brianna stopped suddenly and then very carefully smelled it. Mouse! She was on to her.

So, she turned around and walked the three feet to my bedroom, which I share with Mouse and her #2 box and her favorite recycled-tire settee. Brianna climbed on top of the tire and rubbed her scent all over it. Diva move 2.

She then returned to her litter box and sniffed again. And walked to the settee again and rubbed all over it more. She clearly had a point to make. Diva move 3.

And Brianna wins this round.

Mouse tire
Mouse’s perch, which now smells like Brianna (tire art by Tad Pierson, Memphis, TN)

(3) Hunger Strike

The one that had me really worried was Brianna’s five-day hunger strike. It began as soon as Mouse and I arrived. No food, no water, no treats — she had nothing to do with anything I gave her.

(But, clever survivalist that she is, I saw her drinking rain water a few times — she just didn’t KNOW that I knew. Ha.)

Anyway, hunger strikes are nothing to take lightly with your pets! I remembered when Cooper refused to eat — there was something very wrong with her (written about on this blog). Mouse, who has had veterinary intervention for weight loss (yeah, she likes to eat), wouldn’ when she was traumatized by repairmen making loud noises for hours in the apartment. It took her weeks to get back to normal, little by little.

Needless to say, I was very attentive to Brianna’s hunger strike. She’s a senior and medicated — who wouldn’t be worried!  On the morning of day three I tried bribery. I went to the grocery to get her deli turkey, chicken broth, and salmon. No dice.

On the evening of day three I was very concerned and decided to force-feed her wet food, sticking my finger in this crazy Exorcist cat’s mouth and choosing to believe that her teeth are simply too small to cause too much damage.

On day four I had the idea to bring out her favorite person’s scent. I wrapped her in my nephews’s blanket, and then FaceTimed the whole family, who is vacationing up north for a month, so Brianna could hear their voices. In desperation, I force-fed her more wet food again.

On day five, life was normal again. Brianna sauntered between my legs in the morning and led me to the kitchen where her food is kept. That’s it, she ended the stand off …

… but made her point by proving to me her iron-clad nerves.

Please keep us in your thoughts, y’all. It appears these two girls can go rounds with each other.












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