Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Sat 15 Oct 2005

Close-quarter fighting

Category : meow

Yet again why two cats are better than one.

Besides being able to groom areas they couldn't possibly reach on their own, Tiger and Mr Bats also provide each other with some much needed exercise and stimulation from daily and nightly bouts of play-fighting or play-aggression.

They are much more active at night (nocturnal), which is why we feed them their fresh meal in the evenings. They don't eat much in the day anyway, although food is readily available.

Since I was awake at 3am this morning, I managed a couple of shots before staggering off to bed.

Essentially Mr Bats gave Tiger a spanking last night. Mr Bats was much too fast for Tiger. He managed to clamp his jaws deep into Tiger's neck twice in quick succession, which is uncommon. They were not scampering all over the house during this fight, so I was able to grab some photos.

In the first photo, Mr Bats is preparing to dive to the side of Tiger's neck. Tiger anticipates this and drops to the ground defensively. An alert cat on the ground is able to turn defense into attack- by gripping his opponent's head tightly with his front paws, he is able to prevent the aggressor's jaws from sinking into his neck. Then, with his body arched, he is able to deliver a quick series of powerful hind-leg kicks to the opponents head - a flanking attack! The aggressor now finds himself in a defensive situation and will struggle to break free.

However, in the second photo, Tiger's front paws and left leg are smothered by Mr Bats body. Tiger is unable to grip Mr Bats' head or to deliver effective kicks! A near-perfect pounce by Mr Bats, and a really bad situation for Tiger to be in!

Still, Tiger appears to be able to push Mr Bats away - it is possible Mr Bats is 'minimising injury', or not really going for the kill; since this is play-fighting and no real prey is involved. In any case, Mr Bats withdraws and positions himself to pounce again.

When we see slightly-bald patches on the boys faces, usually between the eyes and ears or behind the ears, we know a nail-trimming session is overdue - for both front and rear paws. Happily, Tiger likes to knead Ladybird's neck so she gets early warning if his nails are too long.

Below, when Mr Bats pounces again, this time, with some body-twisting, he manages to trick Tiger and bites him on the side of his head, ooohh..very good positioning - out of reach of Tiger's hind legs!

He then moves his jaws up to Tiger's neck, and finally to his chest - this final position is not good - the chest is not fleshy and Mr Bats is exposing his soft underbelly. Tiger gets a decent grip on Mr Bats head, and claws and bites his way to freedom yet again!

By now, Tiger has had enough (I only photographed a fraction of the battle). He has been outplayed, out-witted and outlasted. When Mr Bats make the third approach, Tiger makes a break for it and is chased off to the bedroom where he can recover his dignity in good time.

Mr Bats sprints up the high-backed chair and reigns supreme!

You can see the claws on his right front paws are extended. He does that when he's feeling sprightly! Sometimes both paws rhythmically extend and retract their claws when we are watching and I finally realised he is exhibiting a milder form of kneading than Tiger!

The night is far from over but I need to get enough sleep for the next morning's lecture.

Mr Bats too takes off after some other distraction, perhpas a lizard.

The morning after - you'd never guess what they were up to at night! They are best of friends and throughout the bouts, were pulling punches so there are no scars to show for it.

Quite unlike the lethal-looking, street-wise unsterilised male strays that could all be called "Scarface." Too much character. If I ever met one of those at 3am in some dark alley, I'd run away screaming and not hang around to take photos!

Posted at 5:11PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .