The last 3+ months have been at times tense in our household - not for the humans, fortunately, but for our cats. Having added Seymour in early September to join Buddy and Ursula (replacing the sadly fallen Shadow), we had front row seats at a series of tense face-offs between the two boys, Seymour and Buddy. Both are young (albeit neutered) males, and the vet told us we should simply accept some ongoing hostilities until they decided which of them was the boss.
Well, the verdict is in, and the top-ranked cat is ... Ursula. The quietest and seemingly the meekest of the three, as well as by a good margin the smallest (8 to 9 pounds instead of 12 plus), and never one to hiss or start a fight (she'll sometimes play but doesn't generally initiate), she nonetheless has serenely seized the top slot. Proof comes at the food bowls. Preferring their food to hers (which is designed for cats with kidney issues), she will walk over to their bowls while they are eating and silently, calmly shove her way in. They simply accept this, sometimes leaving to go to her bowl in the hope that there's something there. They would never do this to each other (though they'll check each other's food bowls when unoccupied), presumably because they realize it would lead to an international incident. But her right to shove her way in, and have them (with their 40% greater body weight) simply, at most, try to stay in the game by her side, apparently is well accepted.
Serene self-confidence? Silky, non-threatening smoothness and an absence of (the feline equivalent of) chest-beating? I don't know how she does it, but it's clear that she has.
Perhaps I should give her a high-five the next time she comes over (as she generally does) to nuzzle me while I'm doing my floor exercises. We would all have been rooting for her had we thought there was any chance that she would rise to such eminence.
Kind of like the ending of Jane Eyre, without any need for Rochester?