Enthusiasm Is a Variable Quantity

The cats got their Christmas present a couple of days early.

As one would expect, reactions are mixed. Nor, for that matter, has everyone expressed an opinion. But early returns are encouraging.

Yuki is neutral. He knows it’s there, but hasn’t shown much interest.

Watanuki, on the other forepaw, is enthusiastic.

Very enthusiastic.

Lefty is interested. Cautiously interested.

Especially cautious with Mr. Knuckles watching him. Lefty needs a certain amount of reassurance that he’s allowed to use it.

However, there’s no question about who’s most enthralled by the new playground. That’s Sachiko, paws–and all other body parts–down.

Well, okay, toe beans up, even if the other parts are down. But it’s hard to beat a twenty-beans-up rating.

Meet the Pirate Queen

I hope your Thursday was pleasant, regardless of whether it was Thanksgiving for you. And, as I promised, here’s more on MM’s situation.

Or, more accurately, on Emeraldas’ situation.

Yes, she does have a name, rather than a description*. Given her history and general attitude, naming her after a pirate of some sort seemed highly appropriate. Her backstory matches up well with that of the Leiji Matsumoto character–I hesitate to call her a heroine, but anti-heroine doesn’t seem quite accurate either–and when we realized we could keep the initial “Em” sound, everything came together.

* At various times in the past, MM stood for Mysterious Meezer, Ms. Meezer, and Meezer Mommy.

In addition to giving her a new name, we’ve also been giving her more freedom of movement and more opportunity to interact with the other felines.

You can’t see it in this picture, but the door to Maggie’s den is open, allowing Queen Em to get acquainted with Kaja and Rhubarb. Sachiko was also in the vicinity when this picture was taken, but I couldn’t squeeze her into the shot.

Em has developed a fascination with Yuki–one might even call it a fetish without stretching the point. When not separated by the fence, she’ll take every opportunity to rub against him.

Yuki seems to like her, and for the most part he tolerates her overly aggressive friendship, but sometimes it does get to be a bit too much for him.

As for the rest of the crew, Emeraldas’ relationships are works in progress. Kaja uses highly spiced language when Em appears, but then, Kaja does that for just about everybody except her littermate. With Lefty, Em alternates between friendship and slap fights.

As for everyone else, she maintains largely cordial-but-distant relationships.

Well, almost everyone else.

Kokoro, the senior meezer of the household, is distinctly unimpressed with the new arrival. Nose-sniffing sessions are punctuated with hissing and end quickly.

For the most part, however, Her Imperial Majesty prefers to ignore a mere Queen. Given her druthers, she’d far prefer to curl up on a warm blanket and wait for the pretender to go away.

Kaja, Reflective

Back in the day, Kaja was our little otter girl, going everywhere she shouldn’ta-otter.

These days, well, she’s slower and more inclined to reflection.

Granted, in her case, “more inclined” doesn’t mean a whole lot. When you’re starting from zero, anything is “more”.

But she’s not the svelte go-getter she once was. And she’s got her fleece-lined nest. Especially in the cold months, she just doesn’t see the benefit of getting up and going.

Well, except to the litter box and the food bowl. Those are at least as important as her nest.

One Step Closer

Another milestone. Or perhaps two, depending on how you count.

Lefty partook of one of the most important rites of passage for a #FormerlyFeralFellow a little while ago.

He wore bling for the first time.

All went well for a few hours. He didn’t seem hugely disturbed by the collar, and only mildly uncertain about the clinking of the bell and nametag.

In fact, for a short time, he even seemed to be posing to show off his new apparel to best advantage.

About twenty hours later, he declared the experiment at an end–that possible second milestone.

The bling ended up on the living room floor, and Lefty has been happily naked since.

We’re not sure what triggered the disrobing. It might have been the noises. Maybe it was accidental, with the collar unsnapping while Lefty was adjusting it.

It was a slightly damaged collar that doesn’t have much to keep it closed. That was a deliberate choice: we wanted it to come off easily if Lefty panicked. So it might just have fallen off.

Regardless, he’s been resisting our attempts to put the collar back on. Not strenuously, and we haven’t been insistent. But someday soon, he will wear it again.

And we trust he’ll wear it with pride as a sign of his agreement that he’s found his forever home.

Happy A Day Early

Sure, Halloween is going to be a bit weird this year. But then, why should it be any different than anything else that’s happened in the last seven or eight months?

And, yes, of course trick or treating is off the table–which hasn’t stopped anyone I know from buying candy.

But none of that means we can’t celebrate the occasion.

Maggie has been working with some of the cats, convincing them to get into the spirit of things.

Kaja is onboard.

Barely.

Rhubarb is Rhubarb. As long as it requires no effort on his part and there’s no pain, he’ll go along with the gag.

And Kokoro is up for any outfit that sets off her eyes.

Doesn’t mean she won’t attack us in our sleep in revenge, but sometimes one has to take one’s chances.

Two Takes

On one paw, we’ve got MM.

She’s getting more comfortable around bipeds. She’ll take a treat from Maggie’s fingers–as long as nothing but her fingertips come into the cage. She allows me to put her food bowls in the cage without retreating into her Condo of Safety–as long as I don’t make any sudden motions.

And she’s mostly okay with us admiring her and taking pictures, even with the cage door open. Granted the shot above was taken with a bit of zoom, but I was right outside the open door, and her glare has more to do with my interruption of a grooming session than my proximity.

And then there’s Watanuki.

A charming pose–though it’s probably a trap intended to lure an unwary bystander into rubbing his tummy so ‘Nuki can savage their hand.

But those cute little vampire fangs are just too adorable not to memorialize.

More Baby Pictures

I had fun last week poking through Sachiko’s old pictures, so for no better reason than that I felt like it, here are a few goodies from the Kaja and Rhubarb Archive.

These photos predate the blog. The Flying Monkeys were about four years old when I started this writing gig, so I don’t believe any of these have been published before. (Don’t feel obligated to prove me wrong. I admit the possibility exists; there’s no need to confirm or refute it.)

Even today, the littermates are largely inseparable. At the age of four months, it was rare to see them more than a few feet apart.

Kaja was the leader–still is–but Rhubarb was an enthusiastic follower for the first couple of years of their lives. He got sedate faster than she did, but throughout kittenhood and cattenhood, he almost always shared her adventures.

Almost.

Not to cast aspersions on Kaja, but her curiosity and lack of forethought did land her in a few predicaments that her brother managed to avoid–though whether it was through intelligence, caution, or simple luck I’m not prepared to guess.