Sleep With One Eye Open, Hoomin

The title is Maggie’s, the photography is Maggie’s, but the risk to life and limb is everyone in the house who walks on two legs.

A cat with a jar of peanut butter on its head

(A note to Microsoft Word: No, that is not a jar of peanut butter on Mr. Knuckle’s head. Object recognition is still not one of Word’s strongest suits.)

You Asked For It

Another late post? Yup.

Great art takes time.

And so does what I produce around here, especially when cats are involved. All jokes about cat herding aside, it’s tough to get them to actually pose.

That said, please note that you have been warned: sensitive viewers may want to skip this post.

Seriously.

Ahem.

You wanted Sachiko’s bad side?

You got it.

Just imagine this as the first thing you see when the furry alarm clock awakens you thirty minutes before the other alarm clock is set to come on.

Local Reaction

Sachiko’s reaction to last week’s post.

“Alright, dat’s ‘nough about Big Brudder Nookles. Is my turn now.”

“Attention hoomins! I is Her Batshit Majesty, Princess Pointy Bits. Bow in fronna me an’ worship.”

“Gives me pettings an’ treats, an’ I lets you call me Skittercritter.”

Silver Lining

I mentioned last week that until Yuki builds up more strength and regains more control over his hind legs, we’re restricting his movements. He’s occupying the master suite: plenty of places to hang out, a favored locale for several of the gang, and frequently occupied by bipeds to give him snuggles. And, most importantly, no stairs. He’s definitely not ready for stair-climbing–no matter what he thinks.

He’s mostly putting up with it, but he dearly misses his favorite afternoon pastime: sprawling on the floor outside Maggie’s office and teasing the inhabitants, Kaja in particular.

We’ve never understood the root of their mutual antagonism, but it goes way back. In fact, the last time Yuki had to wear a Cone o’ Shame, it was because he’d incited Kaja to assault.

Since that attack, Kaja has been living in Maggie’s office, along with her littermate, Rhubarb. It was a joint decision: she largely refused to ignore Yuki’s attempts to tick her off, and he couldn’t resist teasing her, but wasn’t nimble enough to get out of her way. So when Kaja stopped roaming the house, we mostly stopped opening the office door except when we were actually walking in and out of the room.

But now, with Yuki confined to quarters, we’ve been leaving the door open in the evenings, so the Flying Monkeys can go exploring. And it’s working. Somewhat.

They’re not hugely brave about it, and oddly enough, Rhubarb has been more adventurous than Kaja. He’s made it down to the dining room and kitchen a couple of times, while she hasn’t even made it to the foot of the stairs.

But they’ve been doing the meet-and-greet with Lefty and Emeraldas, both of whom joined the crew long after Kaja gave up on the world outside Maggie’s office. Largely amicable meets, I might add–for local values of “amicable”.

The result:

Top to bottom and left to right: Kokoro, Rhubarb, Kaja, Sachiko, and Emeraldas.

Yes, five cats in one photo.

Even more impressively, Lefty and ‘Nuki were by my feet, well within sight and smell of the stairs, just ill-placed for photographic documentation.

We’ve been hopeful about reintegrating Kaja before, only to be disappointed. But this is an excellent sign.

Camel-back Floof

As some of you–those who are paying attention–know, I missed a post a month back.

2021 has been an emotional rollercoaster–much like 2020, in fact, albeit in a somewhat lower key. B-flat, perhaps.

The particular Bactrian-cervical-fracturing event was a medical emergency. Yuki was…well, I’m going to avoid graphic depictions here and just say that he was spewing from both ends at once. This despite not eating and not drinking significant amounts.

The short-term result was a series of vet visits, both to his regular doctors and, because they aren’t a 24-hour outfit, the emergency vet for overnight monitoring. Highly stressful for Yuki, Maggie, me, and all the rest of the gang. Many were the nervous looks and plaintive cries of “Where’s the floofy guy?”

To avoid needlessly prolonging the suspense, I’ll leave it at that and say that he’s well past that crisis and doing okay.

The main long-term result is that he’s been switched from his preferred diet (Kitty Krack and regular dry food) to a diet of foods designed for sensitive stomachs. He’s not thrilled about it, but he is eating enough of it to fill his nutritional needs.

And we’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to switch everyone to the new food. It’s amazing how liberating it is not to be buying four different kinds of gooshy food (Kitty Krack for Yuki, urinary diet for ‘Nuki, Halo for Kokoro, Kaja, and Rhubarb, and Purina One for everyone else). We’ve had a few upset tummies along the way–even if the food is for sensitive stomachs, any dietary change can be a problem for the feline digestive system–but that seems to be settling down, and nobody is voicing major objections.

Yuki is still regaining strength, and it’s an open question how much he’ll be able to do. His hind legs have been an issue for years, and they’re definitely more wobbly than they were in, say, July. (Note from Maggie: the issue with his wobbly hind legs isn’t so much a matter of leg problems as it is cerebellar problems — although he also has wonky knees and hips. Whatever’s causing his hindlimb ataxia seems to be fairly stable, but one of the known side effects of the metronidazole he was taking is…ataxia, and it can take awhile to wear off)

But he’s largely cheerful, he’s getting around the portions of the house we’re giving him access to (no stairs!), and he’s jumping well enough to get onto the bed.

The naked areas at the base of his tail, on his front leg, and on his stomach (shaved for sanitation, catheterization, and ultrasound, respectively) are a fashion statement he doesn’t much care for. We’re not crazy about it either, for that matter.

But if it’s a choice between concentrating on his walking or regrowing his floof, we’re all in agreement that we can live with a bit of feline nudity.

Looking Back

Another in a highly irregular, totally unscheduled series of looks back at the furry crew in their younger days.

Meet Rhubarb and Kaja, age approximately five months.

This is a rare shot: Kaja is asleep, but Rhubarb is awake. The other way around was (and–even though both are much more sedentary these days–is) much more common.

Happy Cat, Frustrated Photographer

Her Majesty, Queen Emeraldas, has fallen under the spell of Maggie’s sewing area.

Like so many cats before her, she’s discovered that the space just to the right of the sewing machine is the perfect size for a cat to snooze. It’s got a nice view of the back yard; it’s elevated, away from other cats; and gets plenty of sunlight in the afternoon.

I’ve been trying to get a picture of her on the table for weeks now.

Either the sees me coming and hides or the backlighting from the window is too bright for the camera. Even the much-vaunted iPhone 12 camera can’t work miracles of that magnitude.

Fortunately, Maggie’s sewing chair is almost as attractive a feline hangout as the table.

This shot, taken from across the room–with the aforementioned iPhone 12–has been tweaked a bit to improve the contrast enough to make her eyes visible. But at least it’s recognizably a picture of a cat. A specific cat, even.

Even at such extreme distances, she was distinctly dubious about the whole venture.

But I’m declaring victory. Because sometimes you have to shoot the arrow and then draw the target.

[Cat]food for Thought

With all of the doom and gloom in the news these days, it’s nice to know that there are still some uplifting stories out there. For some values of uplifting, anyway. And, since it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a cat in the news, let’s grab the opportunity.

Multiple sources* are talking up a cat who–according to the headlines–rescued his elderly human.

* I’m only linking one of the stories, because there aren’t a whole lot of details available. Consequently, the news stories all read pretty much the same.

In short, the human fell down a ravine. The cat sat at the top of the ravine and meowed. As a result, searchers found the woman sooner than they might otherwise have, and as of last reports, she’s receiving medical care and doing well.

Based on the story, it doesn’t seem like Piran, the cat, did much actual rescuing. But as we all know, headlines are often exaggerated. We’ll cut Piran some slack there. But still, there are a number of unanswered questions here that lead me to wonder if Piran is quite as much of a hero as the press suggests.

Why was the woman walking near the ravine? Was this a normal part of her routine, or a deviation?

Perhaps more significantly, why was Piran in the area? Did he normally join her on her walks? The story notes that he wasn’t actually at the top of the ravine, but outside a “nearby gate”. Near the ravine? Or just near the home of the neighbor who located the woman?

Maybe we can take the story at face value. Maybe Piran does follow his human around, saw that she was in trouble, and–disdaining the “Lassie” paws-on approach–hollered for help.

Or perhaps it was just a tragic accident. An argument that got out of paw–perhaps about the amount or type of food in Piran’s bowl–leading to an exchange of words and an angry stomp across the corn field. A careless step–or a distracted step as Piran calls a warning about the ravine–and now dinner is further delayed. And if the woman had, in fact, been down there for hours, Piran might well have tried a more active approach rescuing her, only resorting to calling for help when it became clear he wasn’t going to be able to drag her up the 70 foot slope.

But there’s a more sinister possibility, as well. Let us not forget that there are villainous cats as well as heroic ones. Ever had a cat underfoot while you were climbing stairs? How difficult would it have been for Piran to trip his human down that hillside?

Has anyone checked her will to see what provisions she’s made for Piran?

Catching Up with Kaja

According to my notes, it’s been more than half a year since Kaja had a post to herself, and a couple of months since she’s appeared at all.

Note the reflective expression. History suggests that she’s not reflecting on ways to attain world peace, reduce climate change, or anything else that might benefit someone other than her.

Indeed, most likely she’s pondering the whereabouts of dinner, whether she can still swing from the chandelier, or whose hide she should render porous to liquids.

See?