the all-seeingeye Cat Hierarchy

The top cat in our household is an aging female we call Dumpster-shortened from "the dumpster cat". Elderly, deaf, partly blind, arthritic and afflicted with cancer, she is like an old championship boxer who can't quite give up their place. Every now and again she has to put the gloves back on and show everyone who is in charge. It's almost guaranteed that any new nicks on the others are her work. We know that she will soon be gone.

The middle one is fiercer. Henrietta (named in honor of the late Fred Rogers) began her life under a porch in the neighborhood. Nancy picked her from the litter because she had "character" For the first year we weren't sure she'd ever be domesticated. Despite becoming quite fat, she remains the closest to feral in her outlook. She would like to dominate Dumpster, but even now lacks the determination-and Dumpster's skill at close-in fighting.

The youngest is an enormous neutered male with a talkative streak. He would like to challenge the middle one-but lacks the organizational skills to plan an attack or the attention span needed to carry one out. He's a bit on the dim side, though he seems to know that he should be trying to win a higher status in our pride despite being terminally confused about how to do so.