We adopted both our cats from the same shelter at the same time. Bette was two years old; Bogo was seven. The personality card on Bette's cage classified her as a "Secret Admirer." Bogo's classified him as "The Leader of the Band." Over the past year, I've come to believe those cards were really, really accurate. Bette is content to cuddle and nap, and occasionally stare lovingly at you for minutes on end. Bogo wants to play nonstop and watch birds outside. When he wants your attention, he'll follow you around until he either trips you or you pick him up or start dangling his favorite ribbon.
Bette was a stray before we adopted her; Bogo was brought in by his owner, an elderly man with a ton of cats. When we adopted them, I think they both thought they were finally going to a home where they'd be the only cat, the sole object of the humans' love and attention.
But when they hopped out of their cardboard cat carriers in our apartment, they realized something had gone terribly wrong. Another cat had tagged along somehow.
This imposter was going to ruin everything.
For the most part, Bette and Bogo accepted their new living arrangement. It wasn't their dream home, but they did have two humans who loved them.
For the most part, they just ignore each other. Occasionally, they'll nap on the same bed (just not too close together), but any time Bogo walks by Bette, he hisses at her off-handedly without even looking at her.
I think this is the cat way of saying, "I still hate you." And then sometimes, they still have random bouts of cat rivalry.
Bette likes to sleep next to me under the covers. When she does this, she usually stays there all night.
But one night last week, I woke up in the middle of the night with a vague feeling that a struggle was taking place. I finally realized Bogo had laid down on top of Bette, effectively trapping her under the covers.
Bette eventually crawled to safety. Bogo laid next to me for about five more minutes before getting bored and leaving. I'm honestly still not sure whether he was trying to suffocate Bette, or he just thought he'd found something wonderfully warm and squishy to sleep on.
The next day, Ari and Bogo were playing with Mr. Mousey when Bette decided to exact her revenge. Mr. Mousey is the one toy that belongs to Bogo, and only Bogo. He is Bogo's most prized possession.
Bette could usually care less about playing, especially with Mr. Mousey, but this time, she leapt off the couch and thrust herself in front of Ari. Without thinking, he offered her the toy. As his arm swung in a wide arc toward Bette, I realized he was committing the biggest sacrilege in cat history, but it was too late.
When Ari turned back to Bogo, he looked utterly scandalized.
Ari tried to offer Mr. Mousey back to Bogo.
Ari followed Bogo into the kitchen to apologize.
No matter how hard Ari tried, Bogo refused to acknowledge him or Mr. Mousey. They had both been tainted with betrayal.
Meanwhile, Bette had sprawled in the living room floor looking extremely satisfied.
Ten minutes later, we watched Bogo slink back into the room. He trotted in a circle around Bette. They locked eyes, and he glared at her pointedly.
Bogo then proceeded to approach Ari at his computer chair and nuzzle him until Ari patted his head a few times.
Then he walked back over to Bette, nipped her on the neck, and chased her out of the living room.
These rivalries have gone on so long now, I've lost track of who started what, or who's won the most battles. But I do know that this time, Bogo emerged victorious.