A Rite of Passage

It took a lot longer than we expected, but Lefty may have confirmed the “Formerly” in his title of “Formerly Feral Fellow”.

Mind you, he’s not exactly happy about it.

Downright grumpy, in fact.

But an apparently incongruous emotional reaction to a life-changing event is far from uncommon.

It’s been more than a year since I wrote “someday soon he will wear it again“. I’m pretty sure that fourteen months isn’t “soon” by the standards of anyone with a lifespan shorter than your average sequoia.

But, yes.

He is once again wearing a collar.

As of this writing, he’s had it on for four days–it helps that this was intended to be his permanent collar, rather than an extremely weak “test collar”–but after a few unsuccessful attempts to persuade Emeraldas to help him take it off, he hasn’t mustered any strong objections.

And, yes, it does have bling.

I’ll skip the jokes about him being the star of our family and/or the bell [sic] of the ball.

He is Awesome Kitty, though, and we’re delighted that he seems to have accepted that the Well-Dressed Cat-About-the-House wears bling.

Welcome home, Lefty, welcome home.

Pairings

Feline pairings are volatile.

Lefty and Rhubarb, for example. They rarely fight–both are generally mellow fellows–but neither do they seek out each other’s company.

And yet, sometimes they find themselves thrown together by circumstances.

Circumstances such as “This stair has the best view in the house.”

It was an amicable meeting, and lasted about five minutes before they were both called away on urgent business elsewhere, Rhubarb to check his food bowl and Lefty to collect some lap time.

Other pairings are longer term.

(Ignore that thuggish photobomber in the background.)

Emeraldas and Lefty are frequently found in proximity.

Unsurprising, really. They started along the path to Indoor Cathood together–though Lefty made the transition indoors well before Em–and neither is entirely convinced they’ve been fixed.

Like many couples, they bicker: who gets to sit on which chair in the dining room, who gets first dibs on the gooshy fud, or who is going to wash who’s ears first.

Nevertheless, they’re more often found together than apart, and intertwined tails are not uncommon.

Too Much of a Good Thing

A couple of weeks ago, I was commending Kokoro for her generosity.

Let it be noted that one can be too generous.

Case in point:

Sure, it was a friendly gesture to share her heat pad with Rhubarb. But when Watanuki got involved…

Let’s just say that ‘Nuki hasn’t internalized the meaning of the word “share”.

No heat for Rhubarb, and Kokoro is so far away, she’s teetering on the brink of falling off the futon.

But at least the crew is being amicable about the whole thing. The futon has, it seems, been unanimously declared “neutral territory: open to all” in the same way our bed has.

Still, Kokoro needs the heat on her joints more than anyone else.

Insert Annual Blessing Here

The new year is supposed to be a time of change. Hanging a new calendar. Making resolutions to improve oneself.

What we often forget is that it’s also a time to renew the old.

“Auld Lang Syne” is, after all, a reminder to cherish what’s behind us–those who have passed, those places we won’t visit again–and drink to their memories. It’s not an invocation of what’s coming.

So take a moment today for your own auld lang syne. So what if it’s a day late. Even a few days, weeks, or months don’t matter. As long as you keep those memories, they’ll keep you.

New Years is also a time to renew traditions. That song is one, certainly, but so are spending time with friends and making new friends.

There are personal traditions as well. Our original Backyard Bowl is long gone, but Maggie continues to put out food every day. That’s a tradition that goes back to at least 2013.

Meet G’aw.

He’s the most reliable visitor to the current Backyard Bowl; most days he’s waiting when Maggie takes the food out.

We continue our tradition of naming visitors by appearance. He’s Grey tabby and white, but that’s unwieldy for daily use, and the acronym is unpronounceable, even to one who grew up reading science fiction about aliens whose names generally lacked vowels. So, one quick apostrophization, and “G’aw” he has become.

Let me clear: we have no plans to lure him inside. Indeed, we continue to make plans so as to not lure him indoors, or even into the catio.

He’s acceptably friendly: he says hello from a cautious distance; waits for Maggie to come inside before approaching the bowl; and hangs around in the yard when he’s done eating, but quickly abandons even the best patches of sun if he hears us come outside. That’s about right.

Old tradition, new friend.

Happy New Year. May it be better than the last one; indeed, as the old-and-possibly-faux Irish proverb has it, may it be better than you deserve. Because really, at this point, I don’t think there’s anybody reading this blog who deserves the kind of years we’ve been getting lately.

All Scrooging Aside…

Or is that “Grinching”?

I did, just yesterday, hear a Christmas song I enjoyed: Jethro Tull’s interpretation of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

Why did I enjoy it? Partly because it was instrumental, so I didn’t have to deal with the lyrics and partly because it was a heavily jazz-influenced interpretation–remember what I was saying about doing something different?

Mostly, though, it was because I’d never heard it. At all, much less seventy-‘leven times this week.

Anyway, as the post title has it, you’re not here today to listen to me rant about music. I know what you really want.

A rare moment of amity, no doubt seasonally inspired.

Kokoro isn’t exactly known for sharing, but lately she has been allowing Rhubarb to join her on the heat pad. The weather has been chilly, and nobody wants cold toe beans, so kudos to Ms. Kokopoof for her contribution to familial harmony.

Are You Sure That’s a Cat?

Yes, actually, I am.

I’ll admit that I’m not sure which cat it is–there are several black and white felines in the neighborhood–but I’m certain it’s a cat.

Here, have a closer look:

For the record, I’m posting this not so much to introduce you to a new neighbor–call them our foul weather friend, as they’ve taken up residence in the Rose Cottage only during our recent rain storms–but to demonstrate what the Pixel 6 Pro’s Dark Mode can do.

This picture was taken through the rain (and the rain-splattered window), at 4x zoom. The only light was from the room behind me (hence the reflection of the water bowl on the left side) and the only editing is cropping and–in the first shot–resizing.

I’d regard the fact that you can even see the Rose Cottage, much less the inhabitant, as a triumph of technological brilliance.

Next rainstorm, I think I’ll break out my tripod and see how the phone’s astrophotography mode does in similar conditions.

Quick Updates (Feline Edition)

Naturally, as soon as I spoke about the tenacious nature of Emeraldas’ tangle, it came out. The matted fur has been safely and appropriately disposed of, and we once again have a sleek and elegant meezer roaming the house.

And we’re just fine with that.

Lefty, meanwhile, has begun to display an unexpected lazy side.

Normally he’s quite willing to jump over the baby gate that keeps Yuki in the bedroom. Every so often, though, we find him perched on the condos, wistfully waiting for someone to open the gate and let him in.

And to brush the dust bunnies off his nose and forehead.

Speaking of Yuki, not only has his wild whisker been flourishing, but it’s produced a clone.

Two wild whiskers from–as far as we can see–a single root.

A Touch Shy of Perfection

Queen Emeraldas has come a long way. She’ll tolerate patting–on her own terms, of course–and even brushing in limited quantities.

Turns out she’s got very snuggle-worthy fur (not that she’s ready to actually, you know, snuggle).

All in all, nearly a picture of elegance.

Except…

There’s that tuft.

That one little tuft.

It’s a bit of matted fur from her under layer, and the white sticks out even more obviously in person than in the picture.

We’ve been working on it (see the comment above about brushings) but it’s a persistent snarl. It’s going to take more tugging than she’s willing to accept right now.

So, for the foreseeable future, we’ll be rooming with an almost-sleek meezer.

Which we’re just fine with.

Thanksgiving Chillin’

It was, if not the quietest possible Thanksgiving, far quieter than it could have been.

We all did as little as possible.

Including Her Batshit Majesty, Princess Pointy Bits.

She’s laid claim to the entire condo complex on the landing outside the bedroom. From time to time–intervals measured in weeks or even months–her preferred perch shifts from one structure to another. Lately, it’s been this round condo: well placed to observe everything going on in the front hall, the bedroom, and the upstairs hall.

It wouldn’t do for the junior ruler of the universe to be uniformed about the actions of her subjects, after all.