Another Guest

We have a catio guest!
28-1

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.
28-2
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.
28-3

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.
14-1

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.

14-2
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.
14-3
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.
14-4

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.
14-5

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.
14-6

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.
14-7

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.

03-3
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?

03-4
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?)

Changeless

Some things don’t change much at all.

The spider’s had to rebuild her web a couple of times, but she’s still hanging around in front of the house.
24-1
And hiding on days when I have the good camera handy. I presume she’s concerned about having her picture out on the Internet in this age of facial recognition.

Yuki still thinks Rhubarb is the greatest pillow known to felinity.
24-2
And snoring. Not surprising with his head at that angle.

The turkeys are still terrorizing the neighborhood. This shot was taken shortly after they held off the dog next door while stealing everything edible in his yard.
24-3
And they’re beginning the preliminaries to their mating rituals. It is that time of year.

Rufus is still negotiating territorial rights with Watanuki.
24-4
And there is much staring.

Upon and Within

For your appreciation at the end of this busy week: a quiet scene of domestic bliss. MM and Tuxie took advantage of a dry spell early in the week to soak up some sunlight before the rains returned Thursday.
03-1

Which is not to say that everything was sunlight and fuzzies the whole time. On Wednesday, MM decided to invade Tuxie’s turf.
03-2

We’d never seen her on Cape Odd before, and she looks incredibly smug, as only a meezer can. Mind you, her victory was somewhat muted in that Tuxie wasn’t around to quail before her.

Which probably explains why she returned to the fence between showers on Thursday.
03-3

I believe she was keeping an eye on a band of marauding turkeys on the far side of the fence.

Meanwhile, the “Inside the House Crew” have been exploring a new addition to their collection of condos.
03-4

‘Nuki, as one would expect, was the first to explore the interior, despite the fact that it’s much too small for him.

Inconvenience

Tuxie’s sojourn in the Rose Cottage didn’t last very long. Somebody else asserted a more pointed argument and took possession.
27-1

Actually, we don’t know if MM had to resort to claws and teeth to come out on top in the negotiations, but it wouldn’t surprise us. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s sharply asserted dominance.

Anyway, she’s been sleeping in the cottage for most of the past week, even now that the rain has stopped. That’s unusual, even unprecedented. Until the recent downpours began, she’s shown no interest in the shelters. I suppose even furry residents can be concerned about flooding.

Tuxie doesn’t lack for dry places to hang out, even with the Rose Cottage off the list. Cape Odd is too leaky–fixing that is on our to-do list–but there’s still the Hillside Shack.
27-2

That’s been his favorite sleeping place since around the time Rufus moved into the catio. The Shack is actually under the deck, so it’s sheltered by both its own roof and the catio floor. And it was very convenient for him to stop by and solicit snacks when we went out to visit Mr. Alexander.

We haven’t seen him in the Hillside Shack since MM kicked him out of the Rose Cottage, but we have seen him approaching the food bowl from that direction a couple of times, so we’re reasonably sure he’s resumed his old habits.

MM, by the way, is apparently a devotee of making life difficult for others. In addition to asserting her ownership of any object she fancies, regardless of who might have a prior claim, she also has very firm opinions about the proper way to guide us to the food bowl at dinner time.

We haven’t actually tripped over her–yet–but we have stepped on her toes a few times. And if you’ve never heard a meezer whose felines have been hurt, consider yourself lucky.

A New Tail

02-1

What is it about cats leaving their tails outside when they go indoors? As we’ve seen, ‘Nuki does it all the time with the various condos. And now, it seems we have a visitor who has the same habit.

You know, one of the major arguments behind Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) handling of feral cats is that it keeps the population constant; removing a feral cat from the wild just leaves a vacant territory that some other cat will move into.

I believe we’re seeing evidence of exactly that. With GT out of circulation–and I’ll have an update on GT’s situation next week–the owner of the tail you see in the picture above has been hanging around the house.

Not just in the Rose Cottage, either.

02-2

He’s* wandered around the food bowls several times, both in the evening after Tuxie and MM have wandered off, and in the morning, when cats often wander through, hoping for–and usually receiving–treats.

* Don’t assume gender bias here. Since we don’t have any evidence either way, I picked the pronoun by flipping a coin.

He’s not quite a chunky as that picture makes him look. From other angles, he’s actually quite svelte.
02-3

And no, we haven’t named him yet. We’ll hold off until we know whether he’s going to be a regular visitor. But if we do have to name him, it’s going to be tough to use our usual descriptive naming. BC? Uh-uh. Wouldn’t want anyone to think he’d been named after a comic strip. Beekay? Nah, sounds like a fast food restaurant.

Well, should it become necessary, we’ll come up with something. For now, we’re going with “Hey, the black cat is back.” ┬áNot easily abbreviated, but it’ll do.

All the News…

Why yes, it is another GT update.

As I said in a comment last week, we had to put the Cone o’ Shame back on him, because he scratched his cheek too much and gouged some furrows.

But he seems to have healed nicely, and he is once again collar-free. We’re hoping he’ll keep his claws out of his face and finish healing. It’s a good sign that the fur is starting to grow back in on his cheek, even if there’s still some scabbing on his ear.
12-3

He’s eating well–we’re starting to transition him off of the gooshy food and back to the same krunchiez we’ve been giving him and the other outdoor cats–and he’s decided that he likes the bed Maggie assembled for him.
12-2

And yes, he’s also decided that getting his chin and ears scratched is totally delightful and justification for the existence of bipeds.

For all the time we’ve been feeding him outside, we thought he was mute. Turns out he just didn’t have anything to say. Once we introduced the ear scratching, he decided to grace us with his purr. And what a beautiful chirring purr it is.