It's amazing how the addition or loss of one cat can re-jiggle the entire household feline hierarchy.
One time in a world long ago, we had a cat named Dusty. She was our only cat and was lovable and playful. Then we got a little guy named Ledo. He was the most amazing cat I ever had, but shortly after he arrived, Dusty stepped back, and kinda became a decoration. She was shy and non-involved. 15 years later, Ledo died of kidney failure. At that time before he passed on, we had a total of six cats in the house (I know, we're stupid). Anyway after he left us, it only took about a week. Dusty stepped up again and became friendly and loving again. She wasn't so playful anymore at 16, but she had a great 4 or 5 years after he was gone. She sleep on top of me almost every night thereon.
Around that time we had a big old gray guy that was hell on the local wildlife. He was boss in the house and boss in the yard. Through all that he was as gentle as a cat could get. I remember seeing toddlers carrying him around in a half nelson and he just let them do it, eyes bugging out and all. He was Ledo's pal and protector to the end. A few years after Ledo died, I saw a little kitten in a shelter that looked a lot like him, so I adopted him. His name was MooMoo but I changed that to Angelo. He grew up into a big fat bubba (Ledo was petite and svelte). He also decided he was the gray cat's side kick, second banana, his lieutenant. A few years passed, the gray cat got an inoperable tumor in his belly and was put to sleep. Angelo almost immediately took charge and tried to run the show. To his surprise, a little tiny tabby we had, named Emmy, arose, whipped his butt and ran the joint for the next few years.
Right now we've three kitties. We had four until about a month ago. One favorite cat Lily began to stay away longer and longer, coming back fat and brushed. Then I never saw her again. I hope she was taken in and is the happy single cat the way she probably wanted it to be. Of the three remaining are three "walk-ons". Oldest is P.K., we took her in about 1996. Then there is April, who showed up as a kitten but has never really been friendly. She likes my wife some, but not me. Newest is Frannie. She showed up about 4 months ago. The neighbor was feeding her, and she was real friendly. Being the suckers we are, we took her in. She seemed to really like humans, but backed off and hid most the time. I think she was afraid of the other cats. We almost took her to a shelter, hoping she'd get adopted to a no cat home.
P.K., the old one. is dying. She's 16 or so years old and looks like she's having kidney failure. She was really semi-feral most of her life and and lived down our basement until Angelo seemed to nudge her upstairs. She's been an in/outdoor cat for about 8 years now. She slips out and will tear holes in the screens if you don't let her out. She's been friendly for years but not clingy. A few weeks ago she started to want to sleep with me and the missus. We thought that was just wonderful until we started to find pee in the sheets. So had had to start feeding and watering her outdoors. She's drilling down, dehydrated, tired, weak but friendly. Tonight I went out, and prepared a large travel cage with a litter box, food, water and towels, and placed her in it. I'll take her in to the vet in a day or two. It's time. I boxed her because I did not want her to crawl off somewhere and suffer or worse get in a loosing battle with a raccoon. I admire her for always being 100% cat. At least we got to see her become lovable the last year or so.
But beyond that, suddenly it been about 5 days with no PK in the house, Lilly is gone, I guess. April lays low still. Guess what? Frannie suddenly stepped up and now our little buddy at our sides. Right now she's bedding down on top of the bedstead. We loose a sweetheart, our crusty old fixture is leaving us and the newbie steps up after a few months and won;'t leave us alone. And I keep waking up with her laying on me. From scare-dy cat to boss in a few days.
Whatever, it's interesting to me how the hierarchy changes whenever one comes or goes. Over the years, (26) we've had 11 cats.
Dusty, Ledo, Smokey, P.K, Missie, Callie, Angelo, Emmy, Lily, April and Frannie.