Silver Lining

I mentioned last week that until Yuki builds up more strength and regains more control over his hind legs, we’re restricting his movements. He’s occupying the master suite: plenty of places to hang out, a favored locale for several of the gang, and frequently occupied by bipeds to give him snuggles. And, most importantly, no stairs. He’s definitely not ready for stair-climbing–no matter what he thinks.

He’s mostly putting up with it, but he dearly misses his favorite afternoon pastime: sprawling on the floor outside Maggie’s office and teasing the inhabitants, Kaja in particular.

We’ve never understood the root of their mutual antagonism, but it goes way back. In fact, the last time Yuki had to wear a Cone o’ Shame, it was because he’d incited Kaja to assault.

Since that attack, Kaja has been living in Maggie’s office, along with her littermate, Rhubarb. It was a joint decision: she largely refused to ignore Yuki’s attempts to tick her off, and he couldn’t resist teasing her, but wasn’t nimble enough to get out of her way. So when Kaja stopped roaming the house, we mostly stopped opening the office door except when we were actually walking in and out of the room.

But now, with Yuki confined to quarters, we’ve been leaving the door open in the evenings, so the Flying Monkeys can go exploring. And it’s working. Somewhat.

They’re not hugely brave about it, and oddly enough, Rhubarb has been more adventurous than Kaja. He’s made it down to the dining room and kitchen a couple of times, while she hasn’t even made it to the foot of the stairs.

But they’ve been doing the meet-and-greet with Lefty and Emeraldas, both of whom joined the crew long after Kaja gave up on the world outside Maggie’s office. Largely amicable meets, I might add–for local values of “amicable”.

The result:

Top to bottom and left to right: Kokoro, Rhubarb, Kaja, Sachiko, and Emeraldas.

Yes, five cats in one photo.

Even more impressively, Lefty and ‘Nuki were by my feet, well within sight and smell of the stairs, just ill-placed for photographic documentation.

We’ve been hopeful about reintegrating Kaja before, only to be disappointed. But this is an excellent sign.

Looking Back

Another in a highly irregular, totally unscheduled series of looks back at the furry crew in their younger days.

Meet Rhubarb and Kaja, age approximately five months.

This is a rare shot: Kaja is asleep, but Rhubarb is awake. The other way around was (and–even though both are much more sedentary these days–is) much more common.

Catching Up with Kaja

According to my notes, it’s been more than half a year since Kaja had a post to herself, and a couple of months since she’s appeared at all.

Note the reflective expression. History suggests that she’s not reflecting on ways to attain world peace, reduce climate change, or anything else that might benefit someone other than her.

Indeed, most likely she’s pondering the whereabouts of dinner, whether she can still swing from the chandelier, or whose hide she should render porous to liquids.

See?

Sisterly Affection

Kokoro and Kaja have a fraught relationship.

In Kokoro’s opinion, Kaja is a late-arriving interloper on her turf. Contrarily, Kaja considers Kokoro to be an old fuddy-duddy, blocking her ascent to rulership of the household.

At least, that’s the way it has been for years. Recently, however, we’ve bee seeing signs of moderation. Maybe it’s because they’re getting more accepting as they age. Maybe they’re banding together against all the new arrivals. Or perhaps it’s just that in order to make sure Kokoro gets her meds and plenty of nutritions, we’re making her spend more time in Kaja’s presence.

Regardless, we’re pleased to see moments like this:

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.

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.

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.

Sound Off!

The weird lighting and rapidly changing temperatures have everyone in the household a bit unbalanced and prone to hiding in caves and/or under the covers*. The result is a notable lack of entertainingly cute pictures this week.

* I include the two-legged inhabitants in that assessment.

So, instead, how about a Rogues’ Gallery of all of the quadrupeds with a minimum of commentary?

In order of increasing seniority:

MM

Lefty

Sachiko

The Ookis came into the house at the same time, but ‘Nuki is clearly the senior of the two.
Yuki

Watanuki (three months older and far more dominant than his shelter-brother)

The Flying Monkeys don’t fly as much as they used to when they were kittens. But again, Kaja is the obvious senior.
Rhubarb

Kaja (a born leader and much more aggressive than her littermate)

And the grande dame, Ms. Kokoro

It’s a Question of Style

Kaja has laid claim to Maggie’s office. She spends much of her time surveying her domain from the highest available spot.

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She brooks no trespass on her domain. Anyone attempting to join her on the shelf is soundly cuffed, and non-resident felines entering the room are resoundingly cussed.

By contrast, Watanuki rules a much smaller territory. The foot of the bed is his and he only grudgingly shares it with bipeds.

As for other felines, one can tell how much favor they’re in by how close he allows them to settle.

For example, he’s generally on good terms with Sachiko, and they frequently hang out near the kitchen window together. But when it comes to the bed…

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Enough said.

Yuki, however, is another matter. ‘Nuki isn’t much of a snuggler, at least with other cats–he’s a master drooler upon biped legs–but he’ll generally make an exception for Yuki.

They’ve been together since late kittenhood, and the Knucklehead watches out for his less agile brother.

Cuddles are common.

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