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.

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.

Happy Cat, Frustrated Photographer

Her Majesty, Queen Emeraldas, has fallen under the spell of Maggie’s sewing area.

Like so many cats before her, she’s discovered that the space just to the right of the sewing machine is the perfect size for a cat to snooze. It’s got a nice view of the back yard; it’s elevated, away from other cats; and gets plenty of sunlight in the afternoon.

I’ve been trying to get a picture of her on the table for weeks now.

Either the sees me coming and hides or the backlighting from the window is too bright for the camera. Even the much-vaunted iPhone 12 camera can’t work miracles of that magnitude.

Fortunately, Maggie’s sewing chair is almost as attractive a feline hangout as the table.

This shot, taken from across the room–with the aforementioned iPhone 12–has been tweaked a bit to improve the contrast enough to make her eyes visible. But at least it’s recognizably a picture of a cat. A specific cat, even.

Even at such extreme distances, she was distinctly dubious about the whole venture.

But I’m declaring victory. Because sometimes you have to shoot the arrow and then draw the target.

A Rare Sight

This was originally going to be titled “Birds of a Feather” but second thoughts prevailed.

I’ve long held the opinion that every home requires a meezer.

We are currently blessed–if that’s the word–with two. Kokoro is, naturally, the undisputed* empress of the household and queen of all she surveys.

* In her own mind, at least

Emeraldas, on the other forepaw, is the most recent addition to the clowder, and by far the least integrated. She spars vigorously with Lefty, stares at Sachiko with deep suspicion, and retreats precipitously from humans. (Contrarily, of course, she snuggles vigorously with Yuki, and..um…nevermind.)

So the Meezer Ladies don’t spend much time together. Kokoro stays in Maggie’s office, with occasional forays to the bedroom to hang out on my lap, and the kitchen to raid the empty gooshie fud cans. Emeraldas has recently relocated herself from the library upstairs to the living room downstairs–physically a journey of a mere couple of dozen stairs, but far more distant psychologically.

And yet, the twain do meet. And even pose for an occasional photo op.

Victory!

I finally got a picture of Emeraldas enjoying the morning sun from the back of the futon.

Emeraldas on the futon

Okay, so it’s not the greatest picture ever. Even the iPhone 12’s much-hyped camera can only do so much with a backlit subject.

But given her aversion to being photographed, I’ll take it.

She has been interacting more with the rest of the gang, and we’ve actually discovered something she dislikes even more than having her picture taken.

Watanuki sniffing Emeraldas' rear

Like many of us, she does not like having her butt sniffed.

Post-slap

Watanuki took her slap to the side of his head surprisingly well–I think he realized a reprimand was in order for violating her royal dignity.

Her Majesty’s a Pretty Nice Girl

Perhaps some of you are wondering how Emeraldas is doing.

Last I updated y’all, we’d given her limited freedom of movement: restricted to the upstairs hall–with occasional forays into Maggie’s office–and only during daylight hours.

Interestingly, despite her meezer fascination for heights and climbing, she never made an attempt to climb the fence, even when the other cats started jumping over it to harass her.

Inter-feline relationships are still a work in progress for Queen Em, but they have progressed far enough that we’ve removed most of the restrictions. The fence is down and we only lock her in her room for a few hours at night–and that’s only so she can eat in peace.

Her Majesty still stays mostly in her room, though she has been seen in the bedroom closet, down in the living room, and in the kitchen–briefly.

Other than at dinner time, she remains cautious about bipeds. However, her love of Yuki continues strong, enough so that she’s jumped up on the bed to cuddle with him a couple of times.

If she’s cautious about humans, she’s downright paranoid about cameras. I’ve been trying for weeks to get a shot of her in her latest hangout: the back of the futon in her room–it’s a favorite of every cat who’s spent time in that room, thanks to its combination of comfort, a view, and morning sunlight. Every time she sees me coming with a camera or phone, she hides under the futon.

So for now, make do with this telephoto shot of Emeraldas and Yuki hanging out on the stairs.


 

Or is that “stares”?

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.