The whining at the door is hard to ignore. The pleading look in her eyes makes it seem as if this is the worst torture she could endure. She looks at me like I don’t care about her; like I want her to suffer. In reality, I am too busy laughing at the situation to think about fixing it. My dog, Annie, is in our dining room stationed three feet from the sliding glass door, which is open two feet. She is looking to the outside, wondering how she will get past her most vicious obstacle: my cat, Stars.
The first time I understood Stars’ thug-like nature was when I was petting him and came upon a bald spot on his neck. This area had no hair and was red from irritation. It was obvious that something happened to my kitty. I found out the solution to the mystery when I went out one morning to find a patch of grey fur on my front lawn (my cat is only black and white). This is when I finally came to the conclusion that instead of being an obedient housecat who listened to the family and was shy of people like my former cats were, Stars was a firecracker.
Stars is only about eighteen inches long when standing. His tuxedo coat is sleek and black, making him look refined… until you realize he is about ten pounds overweight. He stretches himself across the length of the of the two foot gap of the sliding glass door. Claws extended, he kneads the carpet with a half-lidded look on his face. He acts as if he does not notice the dog, which he does. He closes his eyes to feign sleep.
Eventually the whining is too much for me and I get up to open the screen door to its five-foot capacity. Standing between the cat and my dog’s pathway, I act as a barrier for Annie to hide behind. She walks by and leaves. As I sit back down, I count the seconds until I hear the tell-tale whine and realize that Annie wants to come back in.
I like to joke that the power in my house goes from smallest size to largest, because I know that while my cat is less than a foot tall, he carries the most weight (literally and figuratively). My dog and my family cower before him in fear of his temper, his unexplainable temper.
There are times when Annie will walk over to be with the family, as we may be sitting on the couches or around the kitchen table. She will see us and lay down, content with how her life has turned out; and the occasional food strip thrown her way helps too. As she finally lays her head down to take a nap, Stars will come. He will walk around the corner with a smug look on his face, as if he revels in what he is about to do. Purring as he walks over, Stars comes right next to Annie, so that his fur rubs against her black nose. She snaps her head up, an attempt to protect herself. “Stay still and he won’t notice me” is the major thought going through her head. My dog becomes a stone statue until Stars decides to leave in peace. He has control, and he loves it.
Twice, he has chased another family’s cat into our house and trapped it. The first victim was my neighbor’s cat, Oreo. Oreo was about fourteen years old at the time, while my cat was young and still trying to make his dominance known to the entire neighborhood. Oreo was a sweet old cat. He sat in my neighbor’s driveway, looking at the passersby; never hurting a fly. Only, he must have done something because the next thing I knew, my cat was walking in circles around the ladder leading up into my attic and there was a mysterious crying coming from above. Stars had trapped Oreo in my attic. The hour to get Oreo to come down consisted of a lot of coaxing and food. I was in charge of holding Stars while my dad carried Oreo to a safe location. The other victim was an orange tabby. I don’t know his name, as I am sure he does not live on my street. But around 1:21 a.m. one morning, I found this cat hiding in my bathroom while Stars guarded the door, fangs ready and tail fluffed. Once more, I was given the task to calming Stars while the orange tabby escaped.
There is no exact definition of a “boss”. No way to see a person and say, based on physical features, if someone is a leader or not. Leaders come in all different shapes and sizes, in fur or in skin.