Which begs the question: ‘Who’s boss at my house?’

There is this stray, female cat hanging out at the Twain post office, Cappleman tells me. Pam says she is young and really friendly, looking for a home. We all know that stray cats are a menu item in this neck of the world; they don’t live long on their own. Six of them have been digested from the Farris home.

My cat, Squeak, loves to play, so a playmate would be just right. Apparently this stray would fit in well. With the help of a couple locals I managed to stuff the kitty in a carrier, throw her in the car and take her home. She sang to me all the way.

In the past, Squeak had managed to sneak out the front door and go nose to nose with the local fox. I figured she would do the same with Sox (she had four white paws). Sox was still singing when we walked in the front door. Squeak came to greet me, saw the carrier, heard the song and bolted under my bed. When released from the carrier, Sox bolted to the closet in the back room and for three days it was like there were no cats in the house.

Now I had to set up two cat stations; food, water and litter boxes in two different rooms. When Sox was fed, she would whine from the closet but no show. Food would disappear and the obvious result of that would fill up the litter box. Squeak came out for her afternoon treat of Temptations then disappear.

We humans can be pretty stupid. Squeak’s stance was, “my house, my human and my cat tree.” Sox, on the other hand was happy to come in from the cold and wasn’t about to go back. It all began with the oscillating growls, “I hate you,” and “Not as much as I hate you.” Then, of course the hissing and swatting, but neither made any contact.

Following those opening shots came the litter box wars. Each would sneak in and use the other’s litter box. This became very hard for the stupid human because when Sox used the litter box the house was filled with a smell that was toxic to the extreme. Cutting out canned food eventually brought the stench under control, but the next battle was looming on the horizon.

Enter the bed wars. Squeak had been sleeping on my bed for over 10 years. Sox wanted a piece of the action. This created a situation kinda like the Cold War. They each picked a spot, curled up and kept one eye open for any security breaches. When a real or imagined trespass was committed we had growls and hisses and leaps off the bed before they retuned to stake out a new claim.

The stupid human would then acquire wisdom at the cost of a broken night’s sleep. Eventually Sox began to make an attempt to play, only to be rejected with hisses, growls and ineffective swats. Then Sox would attack Squeak who would hiss and run under the bed. It ain’t drama, but it ain’t peace, either.