I recently had an email exchange about tom cats and how, sometimes, their bad rap with kittens is undeserved. I once trapped four ferals; thought they were a mom and three youngsters and it turned out the eldest was male. And I was told about a male cat who “protected” kittens from a trap in a feral colony. It looks like Arthur is one of these — though, technically, not a tom anymore. He loves to play with the kittens under the bathroom door but I was unsure whether it was actually play or hunting. So big cats were banished to the bedroom when I let the girls out to play. Finally I decided to chance it. Murphy hissed. Jonesy was moderately more tolerant. Arthur was fascinated! And the girls loved him, immediately trying to rub up against him. He wasn’t 100% convinced but was willing to give it a try. I think he was a little confused by their tiny-non-threatening-ness combined with their boldness. 😉 He never showed any sign of aggression. If it got too intense for him, he’d back away.
I didn’t manage to capture it but both kittens patted him on the face — more than once.
I suspect this (though how much she actually knew is unclear) is part of the reason for Claire’s freakout. She Does . Not . Want the girls anywhere near the adult cats! Now that they’re back in the den with her, Arthur has tried, a couple of times, to play under the door. Claire slams her little body into the door to scare him away — and it works! And I caught her boxing Bree’s ears when she (Bree) was near the door.
What Claire may lack in affection, she makes up for in protectiveness.