Snugglepanther!

I believe I’ve mentioned from time to time that Lefty has come a long way from the original raging, fearful bundle of fangs and claws he presented as when we first abdopted him from the yard. He still has his moments of hoomin-suspicion, but for the most part he’s a cheerful, cuddly creature.

His latest favorite pastime is to wait until I lie down on the bed, and then snuggle into my armpit.

I give him skritches and pettings, he gives me purrs. Works for both of us.

Until my fingers get tired and I stop patting. Then he reminds me that he’s still got those claws.

It’s a slow motion slap, taking a good five seconds or more, so I have plenty of time to resume the active cuddling before he makes contact. And even if he reaches me, he doesn’t dig the claws in, just rests them on my cheek–or tangles them into my beard.

The Damp Isn’t the Worst of It

You may have heard that it’s been wet in California lately. I’m here to confirm that the rumors are true.

We’ve had rainfall of biblical proportions*.

* Overstatement. It hasn’t rained continuously for forty days and forty nights (though it does feel like it). But there have been record-setting quantities of precipitation, and I suspect that more than a few residents of the Bay Area wish they had built arks.

Yesterday was the worst so far. Not in the quantity so much as in the special effects department. There was just a tiny bit of thunder and lightning* to go along with the rain and hail.

* Understatement. Multiple thunderstorms with massive, multi-second, literally house-shaking rolls of thunder.

We’ve been fortunate (picture me knocking on wood at this point). No flooding (other than a leak in the garage roof, directly over the spot where our phone line comes in), the foundations are still solid, the storm drains in our area are keeping up with the precipitation, and we haven’t lost power.

But I can say with no fear of contradiction that Bay Area felines aren’t used to thunder and don’t have a clue what to do about it.

Hiding seems to be a popular choice. Sachiko and Lefty disappeared into the master bedroom closet the first time the house shook and didn’t reappear until nearly dinnertime. Emeraldas vanished into an undisclosed location and wasn’t seen until this morning.

G’aw curled up in the Rose Cottage in the back yard, tucked his ears under his stomach and appeared to sleep through the afternoon storm.

‘Nuki, self-proclaimed master of the universe, slunk into my office making pitiful meepling noises and required a good fifteen minutes of snuggles before he calmed down enough to sink a couple of claws into my leg.

Kokoro’s been around long enough to have seen and heard it all; she woke up when the thunder hit, looked around, and went back to napping. Smart lady.

To be fair, Bay Area humans aren’t all that great with thunder either. My reaction has been to hold my breath, waiting for the lights to go out. Hypoxia was a real risk.

Reports say we’ve got at least another week of rain. Here’s hoping it doesn’t include thunder.

Was It Something I Said?

I’m not sure how they wound up like this. Less than half an hour earlier, all four cats were snuggled together–the weather has definitely turned colder, and feline snuggling levels have gone way, way up.

Did Em get stroppy? Maybe, though I didn’t hear any feline politics.

It’s probably not a “she who smelt it, dealt it” situation: none of the cats seems particularly bothered when someone emits an unpleasant odor.

It can’t have been a male bonding ritual, because nobody had a drum.

Just one of those “you’re a hoomin, you wouldn’t understand” things, I suppose.

Quirks

We all have our little quirks, felines as much as us two-legged sorts.

For example, Kokoro has a habit of complaining loudly before drinking.

Sachiko bunny-hops down stairs.

Watanuki burrows under any blanket handy (all the better to lurk in hiding until a vulnerable set of toes arrives).

Lefty, on the other forepaw, detests being covered. Even the tiniest corner of a thin cloth settling on his haunches will trigger a rapid leap away from the offending article.

None of which, of course, prevents him from creating a warm nest amidst the blankets, especially when it’s been pre-warmed by a biped butt.

Such an Elegant Gentleman

It’s been four and a half years since Lefty took up residency–highly involuntary residency–in the catio.

At that time, I said “And if we thought MM was unhappy in the catio, Lefty took matters to previously unconsidered depths. He complained. He prowled around, shoving shelters out of his way, and generally created chaos. Nor, to be blunt, did he get along with MM. She wanted him in the catio even less than he wanted to be there.” And I also said “If he’s still relatively chill, we’ll see if we can persuade him to adopt an indoor lifestyle. It’ll be a long haul, and an awkward one … But it’s worth a try.”

And here we are. Much less awkward and certainly much less quicker than we expected, that scarred and scared bundle of teeth and claws has become an elegant, cultured panther-about-the-house.

Don’t let that solemn look fool you. He’s not pondering the whichness of what, he’s considering the best approach to extorting another chunk of fish from our dinner.

Feline Polyamory

Emeraldas’ relationship with Yuki and Lefty is complicated.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. To be honest, we’re not sure if she realizes that they’re two separate cats.

It’s an easy mistake to make, I suppose. They are similarly sized and colored. One is floofy and the other isn’t, but maybe Her Majesty isn’t particularly texture-oriented. Whatever the explanation, she does sometimes seem confused when her boys are hanging out together.

But in the normal course of affairs, she’s happy to accept grooming from Yuki.

(I love that paw across the back of her neck. So sweet!)

And she’s just as pleased to be groomed by Lefty.

Not all is sunshine and rainbows, though. Disagreements do arise.

I can neither confirm nor refute rumors that Lefty tasted Yuki’s saliva on Emeraldas’ forehead. But he definitely got a tongue-full of something he didn’t care for–and this is the guy who’ll eat almost anything except feta cheese.

BFFs?

Watanuki can be–often is–an asshole of epic proportions. He’s earned the nickname “Thugbutt” many times over. He’ll slap anyone he thinks isn’t paying him enough attention. Or paying him too much attention. Stealing “his” food*. Sitting in his spot.

* Never mind that the food is served in common bowls.

But then again, when the moon is in the seventh house andstars align, he’ll drift into Friendly Fellow territory.

Snuggles with the panther? Sure, why not? Pose for a picture? Might as well.

The mood swings do keep the bipeds guessing.

But BFFs? No. Sooner or later, the thug always reappears.