of catlike behaviourI'm currently reading "How to Speak Dog: the Art of Dog-human communication" by Stanley Coren. It's a fun read, with a visual glossary.
There was a blurb about the social levels of cats that made me grin. You see, cats don't have an obvious dominance hierarchy like dogs too. The dog pack is rather similar to the human society with a linear top to bottom pecking order. This keeps the pack structure intact. When the dominant Alpha dog is absent, No.2 steps in to take his place and is accepted by the others as the leader.
However cats only have a dominance hierarchy when they're forced to live together (although they interact less than dogs do). And unlike dogs, it's not linear. The dominant cat is deferred the best sleeping space and food and if its position is challenged, the conflict is not readily resolved nor forgotten and the relationship between the Alpha cat and the challenger remains testy.
So how do subordinate cats usually react towards the Alpha cat? Unlike dogs, their behaviour is classified as either defensiveness, hostility or even avoidance.
In the latter, the lower-ranking cat would completely ignore the higher-ranking cat in what looks like "a sudden case of deafness and blindness to the external world".
Now, this made me grin because I happen to know some people who have acted like a subordinate cat towards me. I once remarked to someone about someone else's rude behaviour to me and he explained that it was because they felt intimidated by me and didn't know how to react. How strange, I've become their Alpha cat.
Today, I posed a question for Dee: how would you react towards people you don't particularly like?
Her response was that she would play it cool and not let them affect her, which is of course the right and mature way. As much as you dislike someone, reacting in a childish manner only solidifies their dominance over you.
Wouldn't it be the best revenge to say a cheerful hello to someone you don't like/care for and mean it? How they react to you is of no concern because they just don't matter enough to you to care.
This year has been one of the best for me since I've returned. Masks have been revealed and I feel blessed with the friendships I have. I feel so lucky.