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.

Details, Details

Due to a scheduling misdemeanor a couple of days ago, I wasn’t able to have dinner with Maggie. Fortunately, there’s a very dapper gentleman who was happy to keep her company while she ate.

In truth, Lefty often keeps both of us company during meals–but usually from the floor. Since my chair was vacant, however, he decided to move a little closer to the action*.

* He wishes it to be known that he was not responsible for my placemat’s slow glide toward the floor. In all likelihood, that was Sachiko’s doing: dumping placemats is one of her favorite pastimes.

Lefty is well aware of the house rule regarding cats on the table: not during mealtimes.

He’s not as dialed in on the other table-related rule: Cats do not get to share meals until they demonstrate minimum proficiency with standard tableware. We’d accept proper usage of a fork and knife, a spoon, or even chopsticks.

Nobody, including Lefty, has managed the feat yet, but that doesn’t stop him from sitting between our chairs, looking hopeful.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but he’s often successful in extorting some goodies. And he’s approved of darn near everything he’s tasted: chicken (prepared several ways), tilapia, salmon, steak, burgers (both beef and lamb), cheese (cheddar, naturally), Cheetos®, and even pasta (red sauce only–we’re not going to imperil his tummy with pesto).

So far the only thing he’s turned up his nose at is feta. He took one sniff, declared it “Decidedly not cheese,” and stalked off, radiating offended dignity.

[photo credit to Maggie, naturally]

Approaching Em

Queen Emeraldas is still skittish when it comes to humans. However, plenty of bribes in the form of treats have reduced the distance at which her flight reflex kicks in. So we occasionally get treated to near visits:

Contrary to what her location and posture might suggest, she was not waiting for the food bowl to be filled. Her bowl is downstairs (though that doesn’t stop her from occasionally raiding this one) and she knows that the bowls get filled in the late evening, not mid-morning.

So this visit was just “Trying to peer around the doorframe to check up on what the bipeds were up to.”

Timing aside, she also knows that dinner is preceded by a meet-and-greet session. (I’d call it a cocktail hour, but no drinks are served.)

(Top to bottom: Sachiko, Kokoro, Watanuki, Emeraldas, and Lefty*.)

* For those newcomers who may be wondering, no, not all of the cats have Japanese names. It just seems like it sometimes. Not visible in this picture (though present): Kaja, Rhubarb, and Yuki.)

Even though no booze is on offer, we still get the occasional “private” breakout session. When it comes to Yuki, Em is an enthusiastic proponent of the full-body head bump.

So enthusiastic, in fact, that we can occasionally manage to pat her. While she still takes off if she sees us reaching toward her, she has–to bring the post full-circle–reached the point where she doesn’t flee in terror when she belatedly realizes a human is touching her.

Who Else?

Black cats are notoriously hard to photograph*. So who else could I use as the subject of my first experiment with the Pixel 6 Pro’s camera?

* Beth, your royalty check is in the mail.

I guess I could have gone with Lefty, but he’s an easier target. Just for starters, he usually hangs out in well-lit spaces. And his sleek fur doesn’t tend to introduce artifacts.

So it had to be Yuki.

Just hanging out in his favorite cave late one night.

His floof all a-bristle as he waits for me to get out of his face so he can go to sleep.

I love his white, curvy wild whisker.

And the camera did quite well, I’d say. These shots were taken without flash and I didn’t compose the shots or allow time for the autofocus to do its job. Just point, select the zoom level (1x, 2x, and 4x), and shoot.

Obviously, more testing is necessary, but I’m encouraged.

Sometimes You Control the Story…

Every writer knows that you don’t always get to tell the story you planned. Stuff happens. And the story takes control and heads off in its own direction.

This was going to be a story about Yuki.

That elegant plume of a tail, that imperial demeanor, those curiously marbled toe beans.

And then I looked behind him.

‘Nuki does have a way of taking over every story. Something about the way he muscles in, plops himself down, and starts tapping your arm with his murder mitts.

And he glares.

Even when he’s relaxed.

Happy? Glare.

Suspicious? Glare.

Writing poetry? Serious glare.

Incipient Ears of Disapproval*

Kaja has been enjoying her recent freedom to explore the house, but she has been running into a bit of a relearning curve.

Cats are allowed on the table, as long as no food is present. Kaja has apparently forgotten that rule during her years of restriction to Maggie’s office.

So when she thought we were going to forcefully remove her from her latest perch…


…we got “The Look”.

* Photo and title credit to Maggie

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.