Adaptation

As I’ve mentioned, it has been cooling off around here lately. Not to the ridiculous extremes everywhere else in the country, but enough to be noticeable.

Tuxie and MM have been evaluating different approaches to maximizing sunlight acquisition and retention.

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Sharing body heat, in other words. MM has decided that Tuxie makes a darn good hot water bottle.

Though some positions work better than others.

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We’re pretty sure she wound up with a stiff neck after trying to sleep this way.

But it’s nice to see how nature adapts to changing conditions.

Back On the Fence

Perhaps you remember that we had to replace our backyard fence last spring. If your memory of my meanderings goes back far enough, you might even remember that MM was very fond of the old fence.

It took a long time for her to warm up to the new one.

Oh, she spent plenty of time supervising its construction, and she certainly appreciates the fact that there’s more space between fence and ground at the back of the yard, so she can get in and out without mussing her fur.

But as a platform to display her inarguable superiority? That took longer.

The wait, however, is over.
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Honestly, that doesn’t look like a comfortable perch. There is an MM-sized flat surface there–a vertical 4×4–but I’d have thought the cold metal of the hinge would be more of a deterrent.

Perhaps she figures total air superiority over Tuxie, the deer, the possums, and the trash pandas is worth a little discomfort.

Those Guys Again

All is not sweetness and light around the Backyard Bowl.

We put the food out for the cats, and we don’t particularly begrudge the occasional possum who drops by. They’re generally polite and usually only take a couple of mouthfulls of krunchiez.

Then there are the trash pandas.

They are not polite. They track mud in the water bowl. They empty the bowls and then shove them around looking for more food. And they’re arrogant. The stroll around and give us dirty looks as though they’re the property owners and we’re a bunch of ragged squatters. And the language they use! Well!

So it’s a great day when we catch them off guard and force them to tree themselves.

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There was much rejoicing that day.

High Drama

The drama and excitement is non-stop around here, folks. Consider this scene Maggie captured a few days ago.

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Something has Yuki fascinated. So fascinated he hasn’t even noticed the stray hair on his nose. The stray hair that will shortly cause him to sneeze so violently that his tail, normally curled at the end, unwinds to lie straight for nearly four seconds!

But who’s that lurking in the background?

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Why, it’s Rhubarb, carefully disclaiming all knowledge of where that orange hair came from, much less how it found its way to Yuki’s nose…

Meanwhile, out in the backyard,

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MM continues to prove that Carroll’s Alice was a remarkably unobservant young lady.

Movin’ On

Our catio guest–see last week’s post–has departed, more or less on schedule.

I say “more or less” because we decided to give him a couple of extra days in the resort. It wasn’t that big a deal. Tuxie was an easy guest, unlike MM when she had her surgery. Not quite as mellow as GT/Rufus, perhaps, but then, nobody is.

The weather was hot after his operation. A couple of days toward the beginning of the week set or came close to setting high temperature records.

Didn’t faze¬†Tuxie a bit. He spent most of the days sprawled on the cool foam pads.
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He was much more active after dark.
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Hang on, let me give you a closer look.
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I think he was meditating, though I wouldn’t swear to that.

By the way, note the odd position of his left hind leg. That’s not a side effect of the surgery. He’s sat like that for years. It seems to be a neighborhood thing; we’ve seen Rufus and MM sitting with a similarly-extended leg as well.

MM couldn’t wait to leave. Tuxie was in rather less of a hurry. He strolled out of the catio and buried his nose in the bowl of food we had put out for him. When he finished eating, he moseyed his way down the desk stairs, sauntered across the yard, and ambled off on his rounds.

Nor has he been unsettled at dinner time.
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MM is always in a hurry to make sure I fill the bowls. Tuxie figures I’ll get it done eventually, and there will be plenty of time for him to get on his feet–and he’s right.

Another Guest

We have a catio guest!
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Involuntary and hopefully of strictly limited duration, I hasten to add.

Way, way back last July, when Rufus–called “GT” at the time–moved into our garage for what we expected would be a short visit, I said “Once everything settles down and they [Fix Our Ferals] reopen, Tuxie will be paying them a visit.”

“Settles down.” It is to laugh. But it has gotten a little quieter around here, and FOF is reopening, so…

Tuxie’s appointment is Sunday morning. We wanted to make sure he didn’t miss it, so we snagged him Tuesday afternoon and moved him into quarters on the deck.

I suggested he think of the time not as pre- and post-op, but as an extended vacation. He doesn’t seem convinced.

He spends most of his time lounging around and complaining.
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Mind you, that’s basically how he spends every day. And to be fair, I should note that the previous photo shows him mid-yawn, not mid-yowl.

Tuxie is a bit skinnier than we’d like, but two meals a day should help with that.

And we really, really hope that he’s not FIV-positive, because that would really give us a difficult decision to make. Realistically, the Rufus solution is not on the table. Of course, it wasn’t on the table last August either.

But be that as it may, at least Tuxie will get to spend a week or so in a luxurious retreat with catered meals and plenty of attention.

He doesn’t seem too unhappy about that.
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Quota

One of the main reasons why the ASPCA and other animal welfare groups recommend Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) over euthanasia in reducing feral feline populations is that feral colonies are rarely isolated.

As with any wild animals, population will increase to roughly that of the environment’s carrying capacity. Removing cats from the colony, rather than fixing and returning them, simply lowers the population to the point where the local habitat has a surplus of resources. And then cats from surrounding areas will typically move in, and the population will rise back to the local maximum.

Since we’ve adopted Rufus, we’ve begun to see this phenomenon playing out.

Meet Bunter.
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Maggie named him, not for his prowess in wielding a bat, but for the character in Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey stories. As Wikipedia puts it, “Bunter conveys an air of awesome solemn dignity lightened at rare intervals by an icy sarcasm and an understated but biting criticism.” That sounds about right.

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Our Bunter has been showing up intermittently for a couple of months–and the expression he* turns on us when we interrupt him at the food bowl is the most eloquent icy sarcasm laced with biting criticism I’ve ever seen.

* As usual, in the absence of evidence, I’ve assigned pronouns via coin flip.

MM, of course, has been keeping a close eye on Bunter.
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As queen of the local chaos of cats, it’s her responsibility to pass judgment on the suitability of any would-be immigrants. She’s also drawing on the talents of Ooki Brothers Security in monitoring Bunter’s behavior.
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They naturally take a special interest in tuxedo-clad cats.

Nor is Bunter the only feline who’s been dropping by.

During the February rains, we spotted a new arrival.
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He slipped into the yard when MM and Tuxie weren’t around and checked the food bowls for goodies. After a couple of days, he vanished, and we decided he must have found fault with the environment and moved on.

Until a couple of days ago, when it started raining heavily. Sure enough, as soon as it got wet out, there he was.
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He hasn’t been around long enough to acquire a name. For the moment, we’re using our usual fallback of naming based on appearance. So he’s known as “Somewhat Bedraggled Meezer.” If he sticks around, we’ll need to replace that–or at least shorten it.

MM is on the job, keeping an eye on SBM, though as yet she hasn’t called in the Ooki brothers or their assistant.
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It’s too soon to say whether either of our visitors will become regulars–though we do have another bowl ready for deployment if it’s needed–but the queen seems to have given tentative approval to both of them. Or, to be more precise, we haven’t heard any debates in the yard, nor have we seen any pointy politics.

And You Thought Herding Them Was Hard

03-1The weather is warming and, far more important, drying out. And that means that Tuxie is once again spending most afternoons flaked out on top of Cape Odd.

03-2Uh…

Have you noticed that even when MM is taking it easy, she never really sleeps? She’s always on the alert, defending her territory against all invaders.

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Oh, for crying out loud, guys!

Make up your minds, already! I’m trying to write a blog post here.

Look, our deal is that we supply the krunchiez, and you pose for the pictures, right? Right.

So–

What?

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Now you’re just doing it to annoy me.

Cats.

Wait’ll you see what I add to the food bowl tonight!

(Note to blog readers: It’s probably going to be some scraps of leftover cheese. What kind of lunatic did you think I was?)