On Trial

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Despite appearances, Lefty is not actually on trial for his life.

Yes, he is on trial, but that’s just the way Kokoro is with anything or anyone new and different.

Lefty has been making great progress lately. He no longer flees when we approach, though he still retreats. Just much more slowly and not as far. And he will take treats from our hands if we’re patient and let him go at his own pace.

So we’ve started giving him the run of the upstairs hall during the day. That means he’s had a chance to make the acquaintance of almost everyone. He’s only seen Kaja from a distance, and hasn’t gotten closer to ‘Nuki than a couple of feet, with the fence between them.

But he’s had nose-to-nose (and nose-to-butt) meetings with Yuki, Kokoro, and Sachiko without anyone getting violent. As I said, great progress.

Awesome feline.

Settling In, Settling Down

Lefty is definitely relaxing around us. Which is not to say he’s comfortable; we’re nowhere near the point of giving him pettings. But when he retreats from our presence, he no longer does it at high velocity. He’s sniffed our fingers a few times. And he’s decided that the camera might not be his enemy.
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Note the calm-but-cautious expression. A considerable improvement over last month’s “alert” to say nothing of the even earlier “get thou away from me, oh evil biped!”

Rufus, of course, has no trouble relaxing.
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The computer desk is one of his current favorite spots. I’m not crazy about having a fur-bearing creature right in front of the computer’s cooling vents, but he does seem to be making an effort to leave an air gap, so I haven’t made an issue of it.

And, while he’s always been a very mellow fellow, amiable and eager to please, he does have some firm opinions.

Currently, his firmest opinion is that the desk is his spot.

I was working at the computer earlier this week, upgrading the OS, when Rufus decided it was time for a nap. He strolled up the back of the futon (just visible to the left side of the picture), shoved the mouse off the desk, and flaked out.
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Bets on whether that’s an innocent blep or a message aimed at anyone who would try to usurp Rufus’ computer desk?

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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