New Hangout

Rufus has a new cave.
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Well, okay, new to him, anyway.

He’s been hanging out in Maggie’s office lately. He likes it in there. It’s usually warmer than the rest of the house. His chief antagonist, Watanuki, isn’t allowed in there. And it’s got the cave.

Mind you, the room does have its downside from his perspective.
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Kaja lives in Maggie’s office, thanks to irreconcilable personality differences.

And, by and large, Kaja doesn’t much care for intruders on her turf. She tolerates Maggie, thanks to frequent pettings. She’ll put up with Kokoro in recognition of her status as eldest female and queen of the crew.

But boys?
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There are many wary looks. Peeking, peerings, and porings over. Glares, glowers, and gawkings.

Occasionally relations break down into hissing.

But for the most part, Kaja seems to recognize that Rufus is an amiable fellow.

And so the room remains largely at peace, and Rufus can enjoy his new cave. At least until Kokoro comes in and wants it back.

Polite Cohabitation

By and large, we’ve given up on promoting feline friendships. If we can manage peaceful coexistence, we figure that’s good enough.

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Although, to be honest, “peaceful” is a word capable of displaying endless gradations. Rufus is much more relaxed around Kokoro than she is around him. But they usually average out to “wary acceptance”. That’s close enough.

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Sachiko alternates between “I finks I opposta hiss nao” and “Oh, it you again. Okays.” Either way, Rufus usually lands on “cautious ignoring.” But then, that’s pretty good, considering he’s used to black and white cats–Tuxie and Watanuki–who are in his weight class and far more aggressive than he is.

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When Yuki and Rhubarb aren’t feuding, they’re the best of buddies. And they’ve both developed a policy of mutual neutrality toward Rufus. “You don’t hit me, I won’t hit you.” And Rufus is fine with that.

Christmas Gift

A couple of weeks ago we got home late after a games night.

Rufus had gotten tired of waiting for his dinner, and came down to the kitchen to see what the delay was. In our absence, he investigated the empty cans from the previous couple of nights’ feedings.
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That wasn’t the first time he’s spent time in the kitchen and dining room, but it was almost certainly the longest sojourn, and the first in which he didn’t slink around under the furniture trying to avoid notice.

Once he saw us start preparing his food, he returned to his usual haunts upstairs. But apparently he’s reached a new plateau in his general comfort level.

He visited the kitchen and dining room a couple of times over the following week, and then while Maggie and I were exchanging gifts Christmas morning, he strolled downstairs again and took possession of the catnip rug.
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That’s the designated stoner zone: there are catnip toys all over the house, but the bare herb gets distributed on that rug.

Anyway, Rufus hung out on the rug for the better part of an hour before an opportunity arose. Or rather, before I arose.
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A well-cushioned chair, nicely warmed by a biped’s rear end: what’s not to like?

I’m not sure how long he stayed in my chair, because I left the room first, but it was a significant length of time.

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Upstairs is still Rufus’ home turf, but the staircase doesn’t seem quite so long and forbidding as it once did. I forsee a new era of exploration, colonization, and diplomacy of the “swift paw to the top of the head” variety.

One Step…

We had an unprecedented event last weekend.
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Rufus jumped up onto the bed without encouragement, and while it was already occupied by cats and humans. He’s been on the bed before, but only when it was empty or when one of us put him there for easier pettings.

So this was a big step forward.

He stayed there for several hours, using my leg as a pillow while he slept.

Even more impressively, he hung around after I got up.
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And went back to sleep, despite Mr. Thugbutt’s presence.
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Of course, he hasn’t returned since, preferring to return to his usual haunt:
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That’s the back of the futon in his room (formerly known as the library).

But overall, we’re pleased. It’s nice to see him try something new from time to time.

House Work

We’re having a little pre-Winter work done on the house. It involves the usual construction noises: hammering, sawing, and the occasional random crash/thud.
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Most of the cats have been conspicuous by their absence.

Watanuki takes his position as Head of Security seriously. He may look a little crazed, but by Bast, he’s on the job.
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A little more crazed than usual, that is.

There’s always one weirdo in the bunch, though.
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Somebody who shrugs and says, “Wake me up when it’s dinner time.”

Expressions

Rhubarb may be the house champion at loxing out, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. But Yuki’s no novice at relaxation either.

Ever see a puddle of floof?
03-1If he was any more relaxed, we’d need to squeegee him out of the carpet.

That wasn’t an easy picture to take, by the way. Somebody has decided that if pictures are going to be taken, there’s only one possible subject.

So I got a lot of shots like this:
03-2And that’s actually one of the best shots of Yuki.  Most of them have a substantial portion of his body hidden by Rufus’ butt.

Don’t believe me when I say he’s doing it on purpose?

Is there any other interpretation of this expression than “how can you cheat on me with another cat?”
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Unusual

Want to see some of the unusual views of the feline contingent we’ve gotten lately? It’s been that kind of week.

Yuki’s not big on contemplation, so it was a rare treat to find him lost in thought Tuesday morning.
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Mind you, I’m not sure what he’s thinking about. It was probably something deeply profound like “Why isn’t it dinner time yet?” He’s not a dedicated snarfler like some of the others, but I’ve never known him to turn down a meal.

Then we were treated to a unique view of Watanuki. It’s not uncommon for him to leave a limb sticking out of whatever object he’s snoozing on, but he’s always careful to keep his paws pointed at the floor.
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But he slipped up on Wednesday. Just check out those cute toe beans. They wouldn’t be nearly as attractive without those two bits of black to set off the pink.

But I’m sure he’ll be blushing under his fur when he realizes I’ve posted this shot.

Wednesday was really the unusual day. Rufus found his way down to the living room and onto the sofa.
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Curling up and snoozing all day isn’t hugely unusual for him, though more often than not, he’ll drop by my office to see what I’m up to. But he went to the vet Wednesday morning for his annual checkup, and he was feeling a bit under the weather.

So the living room, where felines rarely go seemed ideal. A bit of blanket rearrangement, and he had himself a perfect nest to sleep off the vaccination blues.

Mind you, it wasn’t a day of total strangeness. When we told him it was dinner time…
13-4his reaction was a very typical, “Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?”

Consolation

Something to cheer Jackie up in the face of her Orioles’ less than stellar performance this year.

Rufus continues to settle in. He still spends most of the day in “his” room–but why shouldn’t he? That’s where his food bowls are, that’s where the green pod/bed is, and that’s where the comfy futon is.
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I believe the officially-sanctioned descriptive phrase these days is “totes adorbs”. But don’t quote me on that.

Yes, that is a Hello Kitty pillow at the upper right and a Kliban blanket under his head. Nothing but the finest in feline-themed sleep gear for our crew.

Anyway, he does come downstairs occasionally, when the spirit moves him. And recently he not only joined the communal “sprawl on Casey” ritual for the first time, but he was actually the one who started it.
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Kokoro is usually the one to kick it off, but she didn’t seem too put out that he had gotten there first. Probably because he was smart enough to leave her favorite nest vacant.

And Rufus handled the arrival of the remaining participants with aplomb.
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Of course, it’s not all “Hail fellow, well met!”

There are still territorial disputes. Rufus is willing to defend his turf
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To a point.
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But, by and large, he’s fitting in better every day. Even the disputes are becoming more familial.

Roll Call

Nobody’s done anything particularly cute lately, so how about a simple collection of relaxed cats in their favorite snoozing spots?

I’m putting them in order of seniority. Pecking order might be more useful, but it changes so quickly it would be out of date by the time the post goes live and probably change twice more while you’re reading it.

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Kokoro likes the tangle of wires under my desk. It’s shadowed, convenient for requesting cuddles, and if she gets bored, there’s an ARC of The RagTime Traveler to read.

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Kaja has several favorite hangouts, but Maggie’s office chair is currently the absolute winner. The sheepskin cover means its always at a comfortable temperature, and the seat itself is just the right size.

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Rhubarb is never happier than when he can curl up on the newspaper. If he can prevent me from getting to the sports section, it’s an even bigger win.

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Watanuki moves around a lot, but the hammock in the upstairs hall is a perennial favorite. It conforms to his shape while allowing him to leave limbs dangling (note the right rear paw). And there’s a window right there so he has a perfect excuse to turn his back on us.

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Yuki has long favored the bed, especially my side. Not only is it just the right degree of softness to gratify his sybaritic soul, but the red blanket sets of his fur most elegantly.

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Sachiko has resting places all over the house, but she spends most of her time on one the dining room chairs. “Ize da queen,” she says–and yes, she still speaks Kitten, probably because we spoil her immensely–“and I gotsa have da biggest fwone!”

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Rufus is still exploring the house and trying new possibilities. But at the moment his spot of choice is the floor next to my desk chair. Convenient when he wants pettings; directly in the path of the fan, so he stays nice and cool; and one of the few places ‘Nuki rarely goes.

Quantum Leap

Rufus’ horizons continue to expand.

He’s begun making solo forays downstairs. He’s visited the kitchen and dining room a couple of times–he quite enjoyed spending time on the rug where Maggie sprinkles catnip.

He’s come into the bedroom a few times. On two of those visits, I’ve put him on the bed and given him cuddles. Both times he seemed nervous and left as quickly as he politely could. He is, as I’ve noted before, a very polite creature.

Last week he dropped by the other cats’ food bowls and was quite miffed to discover there was no food in them.
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We explained that it’s extremely rare to find food in the bowls in the evening, because we fill them shortly before bedtime. He listened, nodded, and then said “But there’s no food in the bowls.” Well, actually he said “Growp, gwack,” but we’re fairly sure about the translation.

The real breakthrough came this Wednesday. I had been upstairs working, and came down to flop on the bed to read for a while, only to discover that my spot had been usurped. Yes, that’s my pillow he’s leaning against.
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I don’t know how long he’d been there, but he seemed quite comfortable.

Even more impressively, he wasn’t alone.
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Yuki and Rufus shared the bed for at least two hours–I wound up reading elsewhere–and parted amicably.