Happy–Ooh, Shiny!

I had plans for today’s post. Really, I did. Unfortunately, distractability kicked me in the rear, as it has so often these past few months.

So, instead of the elaborate disquisition I had planned, you get a quick “Then/Now” post. Well, it is–as best we can tell–more or less her birthday.

Sachiko at age (approximately) three months:

In constant motion, fierce to defend her toys, but always eager for a cuddle.

Sachiko at age (approximately) six years:

No longer a model of hyperjettic behavior, much more willing to share toys, and considerably more rotund, but still an enthusiastic snuggler.

Happy Approximate Birthday, oh Pampered Princess Pointy-Bits.

Sound Off!

The weird lighting and rapidly changing temperatures have everyone in the household a bit unbalanced and prone to hiding in caves and/or under the covers*. The result is a notable lack of entertainingly cute pictures this week.

* I include the two-legged inhabitants in that assessment.

So, instead, how about a Rogues’ Gallery of all of the quadrupeds with a minimum of commentary?

In order of increasing seniority:

MM

Lefty

Sachiko

The Ookis came into the house at the same time, but ‘Nuki is clearly the senior of the two.
Yuki

Watanuki (three months older and far more dominant than his shelter-brother)

The Flying Monkeys don’t fly as much as they used to when they were kittens. But again, Kaja is the obvious senior.
Rhubarb

Kaja (a born leader and much more aggressive than her littermate)

And the grande dame, Ms. Kokoro

Everchanging

Sachiko and Watanuki have a peculiarly inconsistent relationship. Sometimes he’s her idol, sometimes her best friend, and sometimes beneath her notice.

Simultaneously, but not synchronously, she’s his favored companion and security consultant, sometimes his chief rival, and sometimes his best chew-toy.

The constantly changing combinations can be dizzying.

Take, for example, the other night. The Tuxedoed Terrors were sitting together at the foot of the bed. Suddenly, ‘Nuki began washing Sachiko’s ears.

By the time I was able to reach the headboard and grab my phone, he was affecting boredom while she washed his ears.

And then, by the time I adjusted the flash settings in hope of getting a better shot, Sachiko had been demoted to “Evil Villain Who Must Be Gnawed Into Submission” and ‘Nuki had been laterally transferred to “I’m Getting Away From Him Before He Eats My Throat”.

I believe Sachiko bounced off of three different walls and the ceiling in making her escape.

Watanuki turned, sprawled across my ankles, and dared me to move.

I knew better.

Another Style

Coincidentally*, at just about the same time last Friday’s post on feline land-ownership styles went live, MM declared herself the owner of the room which she previously shared with Lefty.

* Or perhaps it’s no coincidence at all. There is a computer with unrestricted Internet access in that room. I may need to check the browser history.

The key word in that sentence is, of course, “previously”. MM’s style appears to be both autocratic and intolerant. She rules with a set of iron claws and doesn’t bother hiding them in a velvet mitt.

The immediate result of her declaration was Lefty pounding on the door and demanding to be let out. He has refused to return to the room since then, even though MM retreated to the cage and demanded that we lock her in.

MM, it should be noted, appears to exhibit a certain amount bipolar behavior. Her explorations of the room were during an “up” period, during which she’s curious, calm, and almost charming. Her declaration of ownership and subsequent retreat to her stronghold are typical of the other pole.

In any case, since Lefty won’t go into the library–in fact, he won’t even go upstairs–no matter what treats we offer, he has necessarily become a citizen of the house. There’s a learning curve: he’s still working on the concept that there’s nothing to stop Sachiko from stealing his dinner if he doesn’t eat when it’s served, and he’s still not sure about his right to sit on the dining room chairs (he’s allowed, as long as ‘Nuki doesn’t get there first.)

It’s been less than a week, but he’s seeming more comfortable downstairs than he had been before the change. He’s beginning to request patting and neck scratching. And he’s trying out new experiences.

That has a learning curve as well. His early attempts at condo living all resulted in a dangling tail.

Many had dangling paws as well.

He’s been working on it, though, and has several times succeeded in getting his entire body inside.

As for MM, she is, for now, content to remain in the cage. Since that room is one of the hottest in the house, especially in our current heat wave, we’re willing to let her stay caged and leave the door of the room open for air circulation.

We’ll revisit the situation in a week or two, when temperatures and tempers go down. For now, though, MM is happy in a grumpy sort of way, Lefty is happy in a cautious kind of way, and we’re happy in a no-thud-thud-thud-yowl-thud-hiss-yowl-in-the-middle-of-the-night way.

It’s a Question of Style

Kaja has laid claim to Maggie’s office. She spends much of her time surveying her domain from the highest available spot.

14-1

She brooks no trespass on her domain. Anyone attempting to join her on the shelf is soundly cuffed, and non-resident felines entering the room are resoundingly cussed.

By contrast, Watanuki rules a much smaller territory. The foot of the bed is his and he only grudgingly shares it with bipeds.

As for other felines, one can tell how much favor they’re in by how close he allows them to settle.

For example, he’s generally on good terms with Sachiko, and they frequently hang out near the kitchen window together. But when it comes to the bed…

14-2

Enough said.

Yuki, however, is another matter. ‘Nuki isn’t much of a snuggler, at least with other cats–he’s a master drooler upon biped legs–but he’ll generally make an exception for Yuki.

They’ve been together since late kittenhood, and the Knucklehead watches out for his less agile brother.

Cuddles are common.

14-3

Chillin’

My apologies for the late and short post. Blame the virus for detaching us all from the concept of linear time. (Translation: I forgot what day it was and by the time I remembered, it was too late to put something together.)

I’ll shoot to have something more substantial next Friday, but for now, enjoy this infrared shot of Lefty and MM hanging out last night.

07-1

MM is definitely more nocturnal than the rest of the crew, including Lefty. She’ll come out of the cage and explore the room at night, but once the sun comes up, she returns to the comfort of her caves–the condo and the milk crate–to sleep until dinnertime.

It will be interesting to see if her schedule changes once we start allowing her to roam the rest of the house.

Home Turf

There are at least four deer in our neighborhood.

A few days ago, a small family group–Mom and two spotted* kids–came by. They ambled up the side of the house toward the street. A few seconds later, I heard a car drive by and all three deer came running back down the side of the house and around the corner of the fence.

* Pun intended. Their hides were spotty and I did spot them. Not sorry.

Less than two minutes later, this one showed up.

31-1

We’re calling her “Where’d Everybody Go Dude”, because she looked all around the area, clearly expecting somebody to turn up and hang out.

When nobody put in an appearance, she decided on a solitary breakfast.

31-2

I left her to her meal and went to prepare my own. And then I heard fowl language. (Sorry.)

Sure enough.

31-3

I got to the window just in time to see one of the Turkey Gang peck Where’d Everybody Go Dude’s hind leg, chasing her from the scene.

With the evil intruder vanquished, the newest members were allowed to come out and familiarize themselves with the gang’s turf.

31-4

The lion may lie down with the lamb, but there’s no sign of impending peace between the poult and the fawn.

Rhubarbian Thoughts

Rhubarb in a pensive mood.

24-1

I believe his exact thought is “How long do I need to lie here looking cute before somebody rubs my tummy?”

Or perhaps it’s “I’m beginning to see the point of vertical mice.”

On a third paw, this being Rhubarb, it could well be “On the whole, I’d prefer a chin skritch.”

Regardless, cuddles were awarded shortly after Maggie took the picture.

And there was, as Monty Python would say, much rejoicing.

Poke, Poke

Last month I said I was curious whether MM’s next move would be to explore the room outside her cage or to regularly eat with us present.

Vexing creature that she is–it’s a meezer trait, after all–she’s chosen the middle path. She eats with us present irregularly, but increasingly often, and she has begun to explore the room at night, but her explorations generally last no more than a minute or two.

To be fair, some of the tentative nature of her explorations can be laid at Lefty’s paws. He has a regrettable tendency to invade the cage and eat MM’s food.

She hasn’t yet figured out that if he’s eating her dinner, there’s nothing stopping her from eating his, but we expect that bit of insight any day now.

She generally defers to him when the cage door is open, allowing him to munch at will, and then moving in quickly to hoover down whatever he left uneaten.

But recently we’ve seen signs that MM is not going to let Lefty establish dominance unchallenged. The cage door does, after all, change the dynamics of the room–as does the presence of bipeds.

Leading to this little dance routine:

Despite what you might think, we’re regarding this as a good sign. Interaction with the rest of the house’s inhabitants is an indication that she’s starting to come out of her isolation funk.

There’s a huge distance between MM poking Lefty’s neck while he’s distracted and allowing us to brush her tangled fur*.

* It should be noted that Lefty has discovered the pleasures of the brush. He’s not entirely comfortable with the concept, but then, he’s also still not sure about the whole patting-and-neck-scratching thing either. But he does enjoy a good brushing when he allows us to do it. Progress!

But in many ways, she’s come almost as far already, from hiding at the back of the cage to sitting just outside arm’s reach. We’re quite pleased.

Lower Education

It’s well known that cats are liquid. The Internet is full of pictures demonstrating how they conform to the shape of whatever vessel they’re poured into.

What gets much less attention, however, is the corollary: any insufficiently restrained fluid will flow downhill.

For your edification, Sachiko demonstrates.

10-1

Here we see her hindquarters just beginning to overflow the retaining lip of the condo.

Regrettably, I am unable to show the rest of the photo series. Yes, the educational value of Her Batshit Majesty’s sacrifice of dignity suffers. However, she informed me in no uncertain terms that if I wished to retain possession of the hand holding my phone, I would suppress the remaining images.

Freedom of the press only goes so far in an autocracy.

Let us just note that cats do, in fact, flow downhill, and if sufficiently taken aback by the process, they don’t always land on their feet.