Andre has changed. He is a shadow of the cat he once was. But he is holding onto his well deserved title of King Cat.
Ray is about four to five pounds heavier than Andre, but he bows to Andre's authority. He will take his head and nudge it into Andre's chest. A submissive move. Andre takes him or leaves him. If Andre isn't in the mood to wrestle or play Cat Chase he will just bite Ray's back. Or heels. Or ears. Or anything at all that isn't nice. This signals the end of the game.
In the beginning, Andre would fall asleep in one of his favorite spots (sometimes on me). Ray spent a lot of time sleeping under My Youngest's bed back then. When Andre woke up, he was completely himself. His big purring engine revved up automatically. He would bask in the glory of being loved by His People. Then Ray would walk into the room. If cats could scoff, Andre would have become a master. Every time that big, black, overgrown kitten walked into the room Andre's new reality came crashing down upon him. It was like waking up from a nightmare and realizing his life was still one long bad dream. (Insert cat-scoff here).
Andre seems to have accepted his fate. He keeps his Junior Cat in line (it amused me this morning when I saw Ray respectfully waiting in line for whatever was left over in Andre's food dish while Andre was still dining) and we have to work to get Andre to purr. When he does, it is soft and tentative. He is wary. As if he expects Ray to pop out of the woodwork and ruin the moment.
We are suspicious that Andre is onto us and using his power (and our guilt) to get some extra special attention. He has become quite adept to converting us to becoming his master and slave to making him purr and feel confident and happy.
Andre doesn't realize it, but he gives us something Ray doesn't. He snuggles. And accepts love and affection graciously.
Ray is a foster cat. He was in foster care for three years out of his less-than-four-year life span. He doesn't seem to trust people enough to melt into their arms and accept the affections that are being doled out. He doesn't nestle into the curves of one's body when they sleep (I thought that was a natural characteristic of cats - I've never owned a cat that didn't thrive on human body heat).
I think that Ray likes the father-figure-he-never-had in Andre. I'm pretty sure that he wants to love us but isn't entirely certain that he isn't going to be uprooted from his surroundings once again and placed in the home of another stranger.
Andre is safe in knowing that we are His People. He owns us. And boy ... he is working that angle a lot these days. As upset as he may be that this young ball of fur is here to stay, he knows that he is not in jeopardy of losing his family. His home. His life.
Andre & I had some one-on-one snuggling time last night and this morning. He nestled into my shoulder and nudged his nose into my chin. And purred for me. Just for me. Softly at first. He was singing my favorite song in the world. Just for me. And it was good.