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.

Fringe Benefit

If recent posts have given you the impression that Watanuki is being more of an asshole than usual, you’ve gotten the right message.

Unfortunately, Rufus has been the main recipient of Mr. Knuckles’s counter-social behavior. As a result, he’s been spending time in Maggie’s office.

See, that’s Kaja’s territory.
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She rules the room with an iron paw and steel claws, only barely hidden beneath the velvet fur. More importantly, ‘Nuki isn’t allowed in there.

There’s been some hissing and some aggrieved looks, but by and large, it’s been peaceful.
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Not all catnip and sunlight, but relatively peaceful. From Rufus’ perspective, it’s much quieter than the rest of the house.

As a fringe benefit, Rufus has also been establishing better relations with Kokoro, who’s been spending time in Maggie’s office for much longer than he has.
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They’re not best buddies, but they’re coexisting nicely.

And cutely.
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Patience

Those don’t look like Rufus’ toes…
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It appears that somebody has staged an invasion. But who would be so dastardly?

Silly question.
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Who but Mr. Thugbutt would be so evil as to take over Rufus’ mushroom? Nobody, of course.

To be fair, it’s not really Rufus‘ mushroom. After all, the mushroom not only predates his arrival in the household, it’s been here longer than Sachiko.

But since it’s in the room Rufus considers his, the mushroom must also be his. (Which means Rufus also owns a computer, a printer, and several thousand books. None of which he’s ever shown any interest in, fortunately.)

No, of course Rufus didn’t fight for the mushroom. He’s a Mellow Fellow, and a pacifist of almost Gandhian proportions.

He knows ‘Nuki will vacate the ‘shroom eventually. And until then?
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What cat can resist a sun-warmed spot on a comfortable cushion in front of the window? Certainly not Rufus.

Stuffed

Rufus has a new hangout.
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Well, okay, it’s actually an old one. Just about the first place he went when we started letting him explore the space outside his transitional cage.

But we’ve recently rearranged the room and made the mushroom more accessible, and he’s taking full advantage.

And yes, we realize it’s probably supposed to be a tree stump, but really, with that domed cap, it looks more like a mushroom.

And besides, mushrooms are funnier. Especially when they’re cat-stuffed mushrooms.

Anyway, that dubious look is rather atypical for the normally mellow Mr. Alexander. But at the time I took the picture, he’d just finished a round of territorial negotiation with ‘Nuki, so any unusual activity was cause for suspicion.

Normally, Rufus is considerably more relaxed when acting as mushroom filler.
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Yes, he was snoring. And the mushroom acts as a resonator. I won’t say the walls were shaking–but they may have quivered a bit.

Not Insomniac

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” ― Joseph Wood Krutch

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Proper sleep habits are, of course, of vital importance in the feline world. Mind you, the rules of proper sleep can be summarized as “There’s no such thing as too much sleep” without losing any important details.

Kokoro is the most dedicated sleeper in the house. Perhaps it’s natural inclination, or maybe just that, being the oldest, she’s had more time to develop her sleep skills. Certainly, a proper nose-tuck takes both natural talent and dedicated practice.

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‘Nuki, on the other paw, is rather careless about how he sleeps. He frequently leaves body parts dangling.

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Much, it should be noted, to Rufus’ complete lack of interest. “Not my problem if he wakes up with his tail all pins and needles.”

But the results can be entertaining to other onlookers.

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In this household, though, uninterrupted sleep is a rare luxury. And ‘Nuki, bless his thuggish little heart, is often the cause of others’ rude awakenings.

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Check It Out

I was going to call this a minor note, but I know several of you will consider it more important than the main post.

Agent Extraordinaire Janet Reid is taking a vacation. Unlike me, she makes sure to leave some content for her blog readers. And so, today’s hiatus post features the very handsome Rufus. Drop by and say hello.

(And if you have any interest in the business side of writing novels–or long-form non-fiction–you really should be reading her blog.)

Plug over. (But if you don’t care about the business of writing, you may want to skip the rest of this post.)

Tor Books–one of the big name publishers in Science Fiction and Fantasy is taking a lot of heat in the publishing world over what they’re calling an experiment.

According to their press release, Tor–or possibly their parent company, Macmillan–believes making e-books available through public libraries lowers retail sales. Consequently, they’ve decided to hold all e-books out of libraries until four months after publication.

They’ve released no specific information to back up their claim, so it’s impossible to know what they’re thinking. Are they of the opinion that libraries are a bigger source of piracy than booksellers? Do they think libraries are buying one copy and lending it to multiple clients at once? We don’t know, and we may never know. But either way, it’s a pretty nonsensical call.

I don’t know about the library vendor who handles Tor’s e-books, but the ones I’m familiar with have interfaces to the libraries’ circulation system and only allow simultaneous check-outs up to the number of copies the library has purchased. My local library, for example, outsources their e-books to Overdrive, and I’ve had to wait for check-outs often enough to be sure they don’t lend more simultaneous copies than the library bought.

And libraries as a source of pirate copies? It is to laugh. As I’ve noted in the past, pirate copies often show up the day books are released, sometimes even before. In order to do that through a library, your hypothetical pirate would have to be first on the reserve list, not just for one book, but for every title they intend to steal. To get, say, six books on release day, User OX* would probably have to check several out, remove the copy protection, and check them back in before he could grab the next batch. Because most library e-book vendors limit the number of books users can check out simultaneously.

* That’s supposed to be a skull and cross-bones. Thus we see the limits of my ASCII art skills.

Maybe OX’s library won’t notice he has a habit of checking multiple books out for five minutes, but you better believe the vendors are watching for that sort of pattern.

So what’s Tor thinking?

Several articles suggest they may be hoping to beef up their First Day sales numbers, potentially helping their position on various best-seller lists. Which is, I suppose, a possibility, but it strikes me as unlikely.

Or maybe Phase Two is introducing a higher cost to libraries, “for expedited access”. Remember, we have no data to support Tor’s claims. If they come back in a few months and say, “Hey, sales did go up, so if libraries want books on Launch Day, they can damn well pay us for the income we’ll lose,” nobody can contradict them.

In any case, the embargo began with Tor’s July titles. It’ll be interesting to see what happens come December, when those titles are due to reach libraries. Will libraries bother to buy them, four months after their clients have presumably either bought the e-books themselves or borrowed the paper editions?

And, let’s not forget that libraries make their buying decisions when books are reviewed in library-oriented journals. That can be six months or more before publication. For well-known authors, the decision may even be made when the book is announced, and that can be a year or more before publication. So we may not see the effect on library purchases until late 2019.

Interesting times we live in, folks.

Eternal Verity

In trying times like these, when everything seems unsettled, it’s a good idea to take a step back and remind yourself that some things don’t change.

A sleeping cat is, by definition, cute.
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Yuki needs a pillow to sleep soundly, and Rhubarb needs to be used as a pillow before he can doze off.
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Synergy!

So when you’re stressed, when you need a break from the insanity, go pat a cat.

Better yet, take a nap with one. Your psyche will thank you.

Rufus Beans

And so we come at last to the final stop on our tour of the local toe beans. It might have been longer, but MM adamantly declined to participate.

So, instead of ending as we began, with a feral foot, we’ll close it out with a formerly-feral foot.

Rufus is of the single-color school. But he eschews plebeian pinks and blacks. His handsome silver-gray coat demands something a little out of the ordinary for proper contrast.

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Note the subtle, yet elegant, lavender tones, which elevate Sir Rufus’ toe beans to a realm most cats can only dream of attaining.

Nesting

Rufus has a new nest.
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Actually, he’s been zonking out on the bathmat intermittently since we first started letting him explore the house without supervision.

And why not? It’s certainly no less comfortable than the grass he slept on for many years. It’s in a room that stays at a comfortable temperature, even when the rest of upstairs is too hot or too cold. There’s a water bowl a few steps away. And ‘Nuki hardly ever goes in there.

The only downside is that his nest gets too wet to be comfortable when the bipeds use the shower. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of alternative sleeping nooks.

SAST 10: Feline Edition

It’s been a busy week in the feline world, so we’ll hit the highlights in a Very Special Edition of Short Attention Span Theater.

20-1For those among us who love toe beans, there are fewer cuter than ‘Nuki’s. They’re amazingly soft and delicate looking; quite the contrast to his thuggish personality.

20-2Kokoro and Sachiko are far from the closest of friends, but when the weather turns unexpectedly cold, they manage to share a heat vent in relative tranquility. Note that Sachiko is kind enough to place a paw on the dome to ensure it doesn’t slip out of place. Kokoro, as is her wont, returns the favor by not alerting her junior to the fact that it’s warmer in front of the dome than behind it.

20-3Rufus has been in one of his exploratory moods this week. And he’s slowly getting more comfortable being around the other cats. Except ‘Nuki, of course. The Two Roos spent an hour or so hanging out on the stairs together–a definite first.

20-4And there’s action outside as well. Only a meezer would choose to sleep on a piece of old school, hard plastic Astroturf. Maybe MM was guarding the water bowl. Maybe she just didn’t want to get dirt on her fur. Regardless, it’s more proof–not that any was needed–that meezers are weird.