Perl abdicated - or perhaps was 'encouraged to resign' as Cat Monarch. Perl had been our Cat Monarch for many years, but it seemed that now she was getting a bit older, she just could not be bothered with keeping all the boys in order. Though given later events, I'm now wondering if there was some sort of Night of the Long Knives event when we were all safely asleep...
With Perl demoted, a Reign of Terror began, as Henning moved into the empty space. Henning is not a good or natural ruler. His idea of being in charge is to spend his life terrorising everyone and trying to control their access to food, doors, the stairs and so on.
As there are five of them and only one of him, and none of them are of a naturally deferential nature, this was quite tough on everyone, apart possibly from the Bungles - the Bungles simply refused to take him seriously and were constantly making rude jokes about him and ignoring him Being Important and Blocking the Way. They simply pushed past, giggling rudely. Henning took out his frustration by bullying poor Footie, our most humble cat. Less distressing, but more revolting in the context of household cleanliness, he also took to following Suma Bungle about and doing sneaky wees in all his favorite napping spots. He ate hugely and got fatter and fatter (presumably he was hoping to eat everything, and thus deprive all the other cats of the food).
The ultimate weapon
We had actually got to the point where we were about to get in a feline behaviourist, when SAFFY, my Oldies Club emergency foster collie came to stay. Saffy was a bit scared of cats. And what do you do if you are scared of something? You bark at it and bounce around with all your hair standing up to make you look more ferocious, until it goes away! (Well, OK, YOU might not. That's what she did. As good an approach as many, I reckon.)
All the cats apart from Perl found the Barking Ball of Black Hair with Teeth absolutely terrifying, but Perl just gave her a sarcastic look and went on sitting on her sofa. As Saffy got no response from Perl at all, whatever she did, she quickly adapted to Perl's presence. Perl was able to walk past Saffy and even touch her when any of the other cats would have triggered an attempt to chase.
The most frightened of all the cats was Henning. Like most bullies, he's a complete coward at heart, and the appearance of Saffy transformed him into a huge sad cowering ball of fluff, making giant eyes at us from outside the house because he didn't dare to enter any room other than the utility room (which is cats-only in our house, the dogs can't go in there) and hiding behind his brother Kjetil. He even lost some weight. (Don't feel too bad for him, though, he has plenty left).
The power structure had been knocked sideways. Nocat knew who was in charge or what was going on. It was Perl's moment of glory and she seized it with both paws. By ignoring, or indeed, even pushing next to Saffy and giving her little kisses, she made it clear to all the other cats that she had a new and powerful ally. Perl became undisputed Queen of the Cats once more. She's very pleased about this, and keeps coming in and demanding cuddles and praise for her superb dog-wrangling skills and feline political expertise.
How things are
Saffy went to her new home last Monday. So far, we are still waiting to find out what effect this will have. Up to today, Henning has not challenged again for the top spot. He has resumed his favorite sleeping spot in the big cat tree in the living room, but seems content to just enjoy that, at least for now. It took him a couple of days to work out that it was now safe to come out of the utility room though, so who knows what will happen in time? He was sitting on the stairs when I got up this morning, but I'm not yet sure if this was an attempt to block access to the other cats that were upstairs, or if he was just coming up to say good morning.