Loz, the ginger and white tortoiseshell, is definitely Queen of the Menagerie. She thinks she's Queen of the World, and I suppose it must look that way, to her.
The other animals avoid her, fearful of her wrath.
We puny humans, on the other hand, run around after her...we feed her when she asks, clear the litter tray after her, open doors on demand, provide a comfy throne for her to recline and doze on, and light the fire for her every evening.
We even dispose of the body, when she abandons something half-eaten, somewhere in the house...on the doorstep, on the landing at the top of the stairs, on the lounge floor. Once, she left half a baby rabbit in the small bedroom/office, much to Cathy's consternation.
(Cathy's Consternation - that sounds like an american folk song, or maybe a bleak, northern lament...).
Another time I came home to find a dead weasel on the rug by the fire, and bloodstains on the carpet. Sometimes, all that she'll leave is a pile of entrails, and the stairs seem to be an appropriate place for that, apparently.
Oh yeah, it's all glitz and glamour here!
She'll often bring her prey home live and let it go...
Just this afternoon, shortly before I took this picture, she released a vole, with only a minor head injury. Fortunately Anna spotted the intrusion, and I had to spend a few minutes playing the ever challenging "Catch the Rodent" game.
The best humane rodent trap is the Wellington Boot. To a mouse or a vole, it's just a deep, dark hole - the perfect place to go to ground.
Once Loz somehow managed to release both a live, healthy vole, and a live, healthy field mouse into the lounge at the same time. They both retreated into the mass of cables and cords behind the TV, and Loz was hunting them, despite access being pretty tricky for her. I shooed her away and put a welly down, and within 5 minutes had them both sitting down in the shadowy heel of the boot, nervously looking up at me.
As I sat Xbox-ing one spring afternoon a couple of years ago, Loz strutted into the room, immensely proud and impressed with herself, with a dead baby rabbit in her mouth. I chased her out with it, though she'd had her moment of glory by then.
Loz taught Jazz very early in their relationship that she should not be disturbed in any way...Jazz won't even look in her general direction, never mind look directly at her.
But still, they've forged an uneasy alliance based on his total submissiveness, and her haughty contempt (which sometimes leads her to swipe him across the flanks once in a while, just because).
This is Jazz's favourite position on the sofa, whilst on a sunny afternoon, Loz has discovered that the cushioned back of the sofa makes a lovely warm spot in which to bask.
And so we've realised that they increasingly hang out like this. They pay each other almost no attention, but Jazz is relaxed around her (as she demands - any excitement will be swiftly dealt with!), and she will often now purr in his presence.
I think she takes comfort from the perceived protection of having a dog around, as an early warning system if nothing else. Jazz was never much of a guard dog, and he's given up entirely now, but she knows he'll waken her if anyone shows up.
Because Loz was sitting in a bright sunny window, I couldn't get a decently lit shot for love nor money...far too much white light.
So I started editing in Picasa, meaning to tweak the contrast, but ended up using a few interesting effects. The result is no classic, but I quite like its rawness, and it's more interesting than the original.
Her Royal Highness has a hint of we are not amused about her, whilst Jazz is giving the usual, urgent, don't even look eyes to anyone near.
What an odd couple they make...