For Those of You Asking About Zeus
Posted on November 9, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 15 Comments
One, he’s perfectly fine, merely not at the center of my public discussion of cats in the last week as he neither a) a kitten, b) a newly-passed on senior cat. You should be aware that Zeus has been perfectly fine not being the center of media attention in the last several days, as he is a cat and has not the slightest idea either that I write about my cats here, or that any of you have any idea who he is. But he is alive and well and doing what he does.
Two, he seems to be aware that that Lopsided Cat is gone. He saw his friend in his last few days and appeared to grok that not was well; he did not see Lopsided Cat after we brought him back from the vet and before we buried him (he was out of the house at the time), but seems to note the absence, in the way pets do (Daisy saw Lopsided Cat as we buried him and at least appeared to have some idea of what was going on). He seems to be carrying on all right. Zeus and Lopsided Cat were close, but Zeus and Daisy are closer, and I suspect Zeus will miss Daisy most when she’s gone.
Three, Zeus is aware of the kittens and as a somewhat territorial male cat (“somewhat” because he’s been snipped) is less than thoroughly pleased at the turn of events, first because the kittens are mostly sequestered to my office right now, i.e., his space — he likes to nap on my chair — and second because pets are rarely thrilled with change anyway. Every time Zeus sees the kittens, his response is basically to give a look that says “the fuck are those,” and then stalk off. Now, as it happens, Lopsided Cat and Ghlaghghee had exactly the same reaction to him when he arrived, nearly eight years ago now. So in the long run I suspect things will be fine.
It’s mildly weird to think of Zeus as the senior cat now, as I remember his arrival and his subsequent rather extended adolescent phase; it’s really only in the last couple of years that it’s sunk in that he’s a fully adult cat. But he’s eight years old now, which are prime adult years for a cat. We weren’t expecting him to be the senior cat at the Scalzi Compound, but now he is — senior pet, in fact, as his tenure with us outdates Daisy’s by a couple of years. I think he’ll do well in the role.
From the photos here, Zeus does seem to like the dogs. It reminds me of a neighborhood cat who lived with a large dog. The dog died. New smaller dogs came in. Cat left and found another family with a large dog to hang out with.
I’m losing track. How many non-human animals live at the compound?
I love Zeus!
I’ve used this method to reduce anxiety between new cats and old cats:
First, if you’re the person both sets of cats trust, take your lightly used t-shirt/other piece of garment, which has your scent on it. You’re the “I trust you” smell.
Approach Cat Batch A (newcomers), and rub their faces, cheeks, elevator-butt-spot to your t-shirt.
Approach Cat Batch B (existing hierarchy), and repeat the procedure.
Once again, approach Cat Batch A (young upstarts), and redo the rub, except this time give a whole-body smear of smell.
Introduce the cats to each other under monitored conditions.
Cat logic: I have already marked this strange mewling tinything as mine, and the servant’s smell is also on it, therefore it must be OK.
This has also worked OK while moving to a new apartment, you smear your kitties’ smell all over the place, therefore they must have visited the place and found it OK.
Thanks for this, John.
I remember when our big grey lionesque cat Aslan passed on, after nearly twenty years of being Alpha Cat in the household, big tiger-striped Sir Kay showed clear distress when seeing Aslan’s body before it was buried in the side yard. Sir Kay was about 15 himself, and while he assumed Aslan’s Alpha Cat position among the other cats, he always seemed uncomfortable when called on to -act- like an Alpha Cat before he passed on himself a few years later. I think he expected to spend his entire life as a vice-president of a cat, happily curled up next to a bucket of warm spit.
Happy that newly-elevated Zeus is coping with his status increase. Also happy that no new changes in the pecking order have occurred; everyone needs a chance to adjust.
@ResolvedVox: 4. Daisy (the dog), Zeus, and Things One and Two.
Zeus rather looks like a Cheshire cat in this picture- I expect to see nothing but the grin left soon.
So glad he’s fine and adjusting well, and I’m sure you’re right about the kittens.
Of course, if you got puppies in there, they’d start a drive to depose him and replace him with a Senior Cat of their choosing…who would be a dog.
Glad to hear that Zeus is fine. It does seem odd to think of his as senior. I didn’t think it was that long ago that you wrote of finding him (called TempCat at the time) nearly freezing in your garage. Time does fly.
Strange. I don’t know them, but I miss your cats. I think of them now and then for no reason and through the years, took great pleasure in your beautiful photos of them.
I remember when I was eight. Those were the days, man. Rock on, Zeus.
Very glad to know that the handsome black-and-white fellow is thriving! He has always reminded me of a much-loved and long-departed cat I had in my teens/twenties, and I always grin at the photos of him. I hope he assumes the Alpha Cat mantle readily and wears it proudly, as he ought. He is certainly starting off the relationship with the Thinglets on the right foot, though I do endorse the t-shirt scent trick skiriki describes for easing their integration into the feline hierarchy.
Senior Pet is quite the responsibility. Which I am confident Zeus will ignore and continue being a cat. He’ll be fine as soon as he gets his office back.
I like, in a sad way, that he and Daisy understand Loppy’s not coming back.
For some reason in the newest tweet, Zeus looks like the Master from Manos, the Hands of Fate.