Unhappiness

Yes, we are still hosting MM in involuntary protective custody.

The weather has been changeable lately, going from somewhat too warm to a bit too cold and back over the course of a couple of hours–and lately we’ve had rain in the mix as well.

MM has been coping by sleeping in one of the shelters.
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Don’t let that peaceful scene fool you. She’s still not happy about her confinement. A few moments after I took this picture, she woke up and realized I was looking at her. That clearly was beyond the pale and she immediately claimed the high ground, climbing to the highest shelf on the catio. Safely above the intruder, she then launched a series of hisses to let me know not to come any closer than was necessary to clean her litter box.

Meanwhile, Rufus and Lefty were also unhappy for a while. They picked up a nasty upper respiratory infection. Lefty’s more robust immune system limited the trouble to bouts of sneezing. He just needed a little help, and he was quite happy to take his antibiotics wrapped in pill pockets.

Rufus, on the other paw, was hit much harder. He had the sneezes as well, but he also had a very runny nose and drippy eyes. He hated the eye-drops and loathed having pills forced down his throat (because of his lack of teeth, pill pockets are too much for him to swallow. It was obvious that nothing tasted right, and even with the bowls elevated, he still dripped snot onto his food, which just compounded the problem.

Yes, he does seem to have made a full recovery, but he didn’t have any qualms about telling everybody just how he felt about the multiple visits to the vet.
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Fortunately for everybody involved, she didn’t take it personally. She was, in fact, quite amused and insisted on getting a picture for his permanent record in their computer system.

Comfort Zone

I know I’ve posted a lot about the Formerly Feral Fellows lately, but I couldn’t resist today’s pictures. I promise I’ll give the rest of the crew some screen time soon.

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This is, by far, the best picture of Lefty I’ve taken. Admittedly, using a real camera with an actual zoom helped a lot. But even so, Lefty’s growing comfort with allowing us to look at him and point weird boxy things at him helped even more.

He did retreat into his safe space under the futon when I came closer, but I’m fine with that. One paw’s worth of gain at a time is better than we had hoped for.

The reason I stepped beyond Lefty’s comfort zone was to see what Rufus was up to. And the answer was adorable.

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Telephoto helped with this one as well. I couldn’t have gotten close enough to take this shot with my phone; Rufus would certainly have woken up.

Note the obligatory blep–silly pink tongue–and the handsome lavender toe beans.

Yes, he does look a bit bedraggled. The nap came squarely between grooming sessions, I think. By late afternoon, he was his usual dapper self.

Mind you, I’d prefer he not sleep in front of the computer. I’d rather he didn’t make it so easy for fur to get into the case. But there are tradeoffs in everything, and if he’s happy, I’m willing to open the machine and clean it out periodically.

Meet and Greet

Lefty continues to keep his distance from the bipeds, but his distance is getting smaller.

Case in point:
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Quite the change from two weeks ago, when the best shot we could get made him look like a little black blob with one glowing eye.

He spent several hours Wednesday exploring the upstairs hall. In addition to hanging out in proximity to the Tuxedos, he also exchanged a few mildly disparaging remarks with Rhubarb, and set aside time to sleep in the orange condo/footstool.

Six feet seems to be the edge of his comfort zone when food isn’t involved. Which seems highly appropriate, now that I think about it. After all, there are six feet involved here: his four and my or Maggie’s two.

Mix a few treats into the equation, and the boundary gets smaller. We’re not ready to hand-feed him, nor is he ready to be hand-fed, much less patted, but we’ve had limbs as close as a foot away from him without any bloodshed.

Excellent progress–though after a big gain like this, we’re fully expecting a plateau or even a partial retreat in his acceptance of attention.

Rufus, by the way, declined to participate in Wednesday’s meet-and-greet. The other cats, after all, are old news, and he had far more important things to do.
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In our current mini-heat wave (upper 80s, lower 90s), the upstairs bathroom is the perfect place for an extended snooze.

Fellowship

Contrary to what you might have thought after watching last week’s video, Lefty and Rufus actually get along well most of the time.

Even dinnertime is generally peaceful, now that they’ve arrived at a regular routine. Granted, the routine is “Rufus chows down on Lefty’s gooshy food,” but as long as they’re okay with it, we’re not going to interfere.

Oddly, Rufus seems to prefer Lefty’s gooshy to his own, but much as he loves his own krunchiez, he rarely touches Lefty’s. To be perfectly clear, they both get the same dry food, and the only difference between the wet food bowls is a little added water in Rufus’.

But I digress.

Despite the occasional spat, they hang out together and watch out for each other. Rufus guards Lefty when the horrible cat-eating monster (i.e. the vacuum cleaner) visits. In return, Lefty keeps an eye out when they’re sleeping.

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Take a closer look at Lefty’s face:

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Have you ever seen a better example of “Mess with my buddy and I’ll mess you up”?

Cuddle Buddies

Just a brief post today, for reasons.

But I had promised to try and post video of Lefty and Rufus indulging in mutual grooming. And I do keep my promises.

One has to admire Rufus’ patience with his companion.

The Fellows are a bit distant, I’m afraid. No zoom on the camera. So, to make up for that, here’s a snippet of them sharing the mushroom condo, at the other end of the camera’s range.

For some value of “sharing” anyway.

How to Handle Change

Some people never change.

Take MM, for example.
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This is not a cat who’s happy to see me. Even though I’d just filled her food bowl, exactly as Maggie and I have done for the past seven months or so. Cleaning the litter box is often performed with a soundtrack of hisses.

She’s mellowed enough to take cover in one of the shelters when it’s particularly wet or cold, but that’s not much a shift.

Then there are those who try something new, give it up, and come back to it.
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After an extended period of terrestrialism–completely voluntary, I assure you–Sachiko has resumed her acrobatic ways.

It’s probably a misperception, but I tend to believe she’s spending more time balanced on one of the banisters than on the ground.

We’re hoping it’s a phase. Not that we begrudge her indulgence of her aerialist tendencies, but the truth is, she’s not as svelte as she was the last time around, and we’re concerned about the ramifications of a misstep.

And then there are those who revel in change.
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After something of a slow start, Lefty seems to be turning into quite the fan of indoor living. He adjusted to a mixed gooshy/krunchie diet rather quickly and picked up the art of the litter box faster than MM. After that, though, progress was slow for several months.

But ever since we let him out of the cage, he’s been enthusiastically trying out new things. As in the picture above, he’s finding great joy in nesting in the blankets on the futon. Curiously, however, he’s still not at all interested in having a cushion in any of his caves–we often find one or another condo pillow in the middle of the floor. (Not yet available: video of Lefty and Rufus sharing the futon and exchanging ear-washings. Hopefully I can pull it off the camera in time for next week’s post.)

And, speaking of the middle of the floor, the other thing we often find there is Lefty himself. Sometimes by himself, keeping a watchful eye (sorry) on the activity outside the room, but more often in company with his buddy Rufus.
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(Mostly) Quiet Moments

A few quick updates on the gang.

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Kokoro will take any opportunity to sprawl on my lap, even if it means sharing with Rhubarb. Since the weather turned colder and wetter, she’s been even more enthusiastic. The weird thing, though, is that the colder the weather, the more she melts.

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‘Nuki needs his toenails clipped and he’s got no qualms about using that fact when he demands attention. He hasn’t quite figured out that his threats would have more gravitas if they didn’t include those cute pink toebeans.

Lefty continues to be cautious about bipeds. He spends most of the time in his condo, and if we catch him outside, usually retreats immediately.


However, he’s realized that once we turn off the light, we rarely come back into the room. So he’s often at the food bowl before we even finish closing the door. His fastest time from light off to nose-in-bowl is three seconds, although the average is closer to six.

When humans aren’t involved, Lefty seems to be a rather mellow fellow.  At this point, he’s met most of the others, at least briefly, and Rufus spends every night and most of the days with him.  And so far, all the encounters have been peaceful.  No threats issued from between the bars in either direction.

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But Lefty takes relaxation almost to Rufusian levels.  Most cats I know would be uncomfortable in this situation. Not Lefty. He glanced out of the condo when Rufus climbed on top of the cage, then went back to sleep.

Two formerly feral fellows sharing a peaceful moment. What could be better?

(Lefty does love that poor catnip lemon, by the way. He’s all but disemboweled it and keeps it close to the condo at all times. But oddly, the pumpkin doesn’t get much love. He’ll play with it occasionally, but he always comes back to the lemon.)

New Cave

The fuzzies have a new lair. To nobody’s surprise, Watanuki tried it out as soon as it was unpacked.
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He must have found it satisfactory because he didn’t waste any time getting back inside when we put it in its permanent location.
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No, he didn’t ride upstairs in it, but I think he might have tried if we hadn’t waited until he was distracted by food.

‘Nuki’s infatuation with it lasted all of a day and half before he went back to sleeping on the bed.

Which just gave others a chance to try it out.
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Yes, the TV Cave has the Rufus Seal of Approval.