My "youngest" child, Willow, is, what I like to call, special needs. I honestly have no idea what goes through her head sometimes. She is ridiculously adorable (once again, I fell for the big wide eyes and smushed wet nose) and tiny, and she gives one the feeling of wanting to protect her. She has that damsel in distress thing down. Willow has lived with me for a year now and still is not used to the dog. My personal opinion is that she IS used to the dog. She just wants everyone to think she isn't. I have three animals who live in harmony together. Percy and Puckett have figured out kitty hierarchy (Puckett is the queen). Percy and Tess are the best of friends and love to wrestle and play. Puckett and Tess have some kind of weird interspecies love affair going on as Puckett will spend an hour every evening rubbing on Tess and purring while Tess licks her ears. Sometimes they dance together in the kitchen. Puckett sort of "herds" Tess around the kitchen purring and Tess will allow herself to be "herded."
I have not yet figured out where Willow fits in. Everyone tolerates her about fifty percent of the time and I can't help but notice that her black sheep status is partially her own fault. The rest of the fault lies with Percy because he is a bully and picks on her, but Willow makes no effort to try and make friends with anyone unless it is on her terms. As lowest on the totem pole, she really doesn't have this luxury. Tess has tried over and over to befriend the little spitfire only to be shot down. In the beginning she would try to sniff and lick Willow the way she does Puckett and received a slap across the nose for her efforts. If Willow is lounging on the bed with me, Tess can't even approach the side of the bed to get her ears scratched without Miss Thang rumbling in her throat and swatting out with her paw. Tess will be minding her own business completely and the next thing she knows she has six pounds of furious kitty launching herself at her. Tess had finally had enough one night and chased Willow upstairs terrifying the poor cat to the point of peeing on the floor. I really couldn't blame Tess. She has never once given any indication of wanting to hurt Willow and she has tried many times to be friends. Puckett treats Willow with the same haughty, "I'm better than you" attitude with which she treats the rest of us. In the morning if the two happen to meet en route to the food bowls, they will sniff each other all over and then Puckett will "wave" her away with a swish of her tail and a flick of the ears. Willow jumps sideways and darts away like she's been electrocuted. Puckett has never hurt her, has never bullied her, and has never picked on her and Willow still acts as though Puckett is about to jump down her throat every time they meet.
Percy is probably the main culprit in Willow's attitude, though in the beginning the two were friends. Percy was enraptured with Willow when i first brought her home and followed her everywhere, trying to engage her. She rebuffed his advances over and over and as soon as he wandered away and left her alone she jumped after him, ears up, whiskers twitching, and would tap him lightly with a paw, trying to regain his attention. "Wait! I didn't REALLY want you to leave me alone! My leave me alone antics don't actually mean 'leave me alone!'" As any male trying to figure out a contrary female, poor Percy was confused beyond belief. Eventually he started picking on her every time she attempted to use the litter box which led to litter box aversion and finally led to a crate for Willow. The crate is Willow's hidey hole and safe haven and has fixed the litter box aversion to the point where she can be out of the cage all day without peeing on the floor. She still spends nights in the cage. Percy no longer bullies her but she has taken to teasing him when she is out of her cage. Once again she pulls her trick of getting annoyed when he tries to play with her or engage her and then racing after him when he ignores her. Sometimes she'll fly through the house at top speed and Percy can't help but chase her. Tess tries really hard to keep from chasing her as well, but as a dog, she sometimes can't help it. If Willow acted less like a prey animal she would be treated less like a prey animal. She engages in this behavior constantly and then wails and cries and throws a serious hissy fit when the other animals react.
Through all this Puckett sits in her spot and watches everyone balefully with a look of total disgust and annoyance.
Three days ago I had to take Percy and Puckett to the vet. I put Tess outside, drove my cats to the vet, and came home to let Willow out of her cage. She jumped out of the cage and went on the usual rounds. First the bedroom, then down to the kitchen to check the food bowl situation, and finally downstairs where the scratching post and kitty tower are located. Then she was back upstairs again, looking lost, poking here and there. It finally dawned on me that she was looking for the other two. She was finally in a house all by herself with no other animals which is a situation I thought might be more beneficial for her and she was completely out of her element. She had no idea what had become of her companions and she continued to look for them until I left for work. Later that day when I brought home Percy and Puckett Willow went back to jumping sideways when they wandered near her, hissing at the dog, and streaking through the house at warp speed, trying to entice everyone to chase her.
Clearly, everything was back as it should be.