From the outside it may look like a sleepy country home. Inside though, it's a battleground.
Territory has been claimed and must be retained at any cost. The slightest lack of vigilance - there is always an upstart waiting, hoping for an unguarded moment where the prize could be claimed - could spell defeat. No quarter can be given.
It has been 41 days since D'Artagnan Lattey claimed the high point in this turf war, and with it the much-sought after prize of The Vegetable Trug.
From his citadel atop the kitchen bench, master of all he surveys, D'Artagnan puts his body on the line daily in a determined bid to stave off occupation from the pretenders to the throne, Aramis and Zorro, who would gladly occupy the trug, given an opportunity.
While for the most part it's a cold war - a contemptuous stare from D'Artagnan is usually enough to keep the others at bay - he has been known to resort to violence if necessary.
For owner Alexandra Lattey, this entertaining daily battle of wits and nerves has been going on ever since the end of January when her parents, little suspecting the epic standoff it would spark, gifted her a trug, a fancy type of basket used for collecting garden produce, for her birthday.
With visions of tripping around her garden, trug full of veges over one arm, Alexandra put the trug momentarily on her kitchen bench. D'Artagnan, a Maine Coon cat with a very distinct mind of his own, was the first of Alexandra's three cats to spy it. He got in it.
D'Artagnan is a large cat not a vegetable, and the trug is a medium size, but nonetheless, he decided it was a fine place for a snooze.
More than a month later, D'Artagnan has barely left the trug unattended, exiting only briefly for food, a bit of a prowl around outside and to attend to the call of nature.
But woe betide anyone who tries to claim it while he is gone. Fellow Maine Coon Aramis and SPCA special Zorro use a combination of stalking and peer pressure to get a turn, but they are evicted the moment D'Artagnan returns.
"It's like an ongoing saga around here, it really is," Alexandra says. "He comes out of it for food but as soon as he gets out, somebody else seems to get in so I think they're on a roster that they're not telling me about."
The daily battle over the trug has become an epic standoff which Alexandra first began documenting with updates on the Facebook page Maine Coons in New Zealand.
Her posts about the cats' trug tussle soon became so popular that she set up a separate page for followers, Trug o' war. Described as "the adventures of D'Artagnan and friends and their mission to keep their owner from using a new vegetable trug she got for her birthday", the page has already attracted more than 400 members. It chronicles not just Alexandra's three cats but also her two dogs Beowulf and Wulfgar and 'The Airborne Division', her 12 chickens with names ranging from Mother Clucker to Attila the Hen.
"People seem to be really having a good laugh about it and I'm getting all sorts of comments like 'this is the best thing on the internet at the moment' and 'you should write a book about it'."
Maine Coons are big, fluffy, gentle cats weighing up to 13kg that behave more like dogs than cats. They like water - when not lying in the trug, D'Artagnan enjoys sitting in the bird bath - and will fetch objects. They also tend to chirp rather than meow.
"They are not really lap cats as such, they would rather sit next to you than on you," Alexandra says.
"They are so big and chunky and you've got to like fluff obviously, we have a pretty hairy household between the three cats and two dogs."
So far the war over the trug has remained largely non-violent although Aramis copped a blow to the head when he dared get too close. Collateral damage included a dozen eggs, knocked off the bench when Zorro was in such a hurry to get to the unoccupied trug that he failed to check where he was going.
Alexandra has tried various ways to entice D'Artagnan out, including putting his old bed next to the trug, moving it to different locations, and trying to appeal to his better nature.
She says there are some small benefits to having a trug-occupying cat.
"He's so keen to stay in there that I can brush him out quite nicely without losing fingers."
You can follow the adventures of Alexandra's pets on Facebook at Trug o'war.