More Exploration

Lefty’s investigation of the house continues. A couple of evenings ago he wandered down to the kitchen to watch me prepare his gooshy fud, then led me up the stairs to his room.

He’s also discovered the joys of the condo outside our bedroom.
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It’s perfectly placed to let him keep an eye on what those strange hoomin creatures are doing, and where the other cats are sleeping.

He’s still uncertain how much protection the condo gives him. Sometimes Lefty will pull back and hide inside the condo when a hoomin walks past; other times he’ll leap out and dash upstairs.

But still, it’s progress. Even a few weeks ago he would have run upstairs the instant we saw him in the condo. We’re delighted.

More Inconvenient Sleepers

Continuing our occasional series of posts of cats who choose where to sleep so as to cause the greatest inconvenience to humans.

Rhubarb, as we’ve noted, is one of the leading experts in the field. A couple of days ago, he came up with a new wrinkle.

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The weather has been toasty around here lately, hitting three digits, so he’s clearly not under the covers for warmth. Although he, like many cats, is prone to developing cold toes; perhaps he’s trying to warm up his toe beans. If so, I imagine we’ll find him further under the covers come November.

While I was taking Rhubarb’s picture, somebody else showed up to see what was going on.

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Lefty is definitely curious about the actions of the other cats. He’s also getting much more comfortable around us humans; this photo was taken with no zoom.

Despite his interest and increasing comfort, he’s still not ready to explore the bed. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play the game.

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Snoozing in the bedroom doorway? Big inconvenience points for Sir Lefty.

When he decides to expand his horizons to the bed and the kitchen, he’s going to be a major challenger to ‘Nuki’s domination of the sport.

Back to Normal

And after last week’s digression, here we are again, back with the usual crew.

Maggie took a short business trip earlier this week. She didn’t pack until the last minute, so ‘Nuki didn’t have a chance to hang out on his favorite temporary perch.

When she got back, he was taking no chances on missing out again. Less than five minutes after she walked in the door…
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Moving on.

Lefty and Rufus are big on togetherness–though Rufus does sometimes seem a bit relieved when Lefty goes exploring around the house. Most of the time, though, they can be found in tandem.

Naturally, the usual dynamic is that Lefty keeps watch while Rufus sleeps. Wouldn’t do for a hoomin to sneak up and pat his buddy, after all…
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Further Changes

No Rufus today. Sorry, Jackie.

But I got a new picture of Lefty that I just had to share. Unquestionably my newest and favoritist photo of the Formerly Feral Fellow so far.

Observe:

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He’s still a little nervous about the camera, but he really did let me get within arm’s reach while I was pointing it at him. And better, he looks almost relaxed about it.

No, seriously. Take a closer look; I ask you, is this the face of a worried cat?

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And since you’re not here, I answer for you, “No”.

Cautious, yes. Worried, no.

Makes me want to rub his nose and scritch behind his ears.

We’re not at that point yet, if ever. But we’re a heck of a lot closer than we were even a week ago.

That’s our Lefty: putting the “Formerly” in the “FFF”.

More Introductions

While we are allowing the Formerly Feral Fellows more freedom, we do keep the fence up across the stairs for most of the day.

Neither of them has made any effort to jump or climb over it, so we presume they’re not bothered by the restriction. Though they are spending more time hanging around near the top of the stairs.

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Rufus especially likes the top of that box. It’s a well-padded place to sleep, with plenty of slightly filtered sunlight from the window over the stairs.

Lefty still prefers dark, enclosed spaces, so the lower bunk suits him perfectly.

When we take the fence down and let him wander freely, Lefty frequently comes down as far as the main landing. It’s not just the food bowls that catch his attention.

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After a few through-the-fence interactions, ‘Nuki seems to have figured out that Lefty is not as easygoing as his mentor. He’s not a fighter, but he will take a swing at anything he thinks might be threatening him.

I don’t think Lefty wants to be an alpha-kitty, but he does seem to believe in keeping his options open.

As a result, we’ve had several near-interactions like this one, with the two settling down on opposite sides of the floor and elaborately ignoring each other.

Of course, it doesn’t harm the developing relationship any that Rufus casually hangs out nearby, keeping an eye on his protege.

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Possession is Nine-Tenths…

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A not uncommon sight in recent days.

Lefty likes the upper of the two portable caves (though I suspect he’d be less enamored of it if he knew it could theoretically be moved).

Rufus, meanwhile, quite enjoys the condo in the afternoon. There’s enough sunlight to warm his flanks, and the carpeted surface is soft enough for comfort, but solid enough for support.

But not all is peace and tranquility in the upper hall.

A few minutes after I took the photo above, I heard the sound of minor feline politics.

When I peeked around the corner, I found Lefty sitting on the floor looking somewhat confused, and Rufus firmly in possession of the cave.

While we think of Rufus as a mild-mannered fellow, he doesn’t hesitate to make his wishes known.

However, as soon as Rufus realized I was looking (and getting the camera ready)–

–he came running over to me for some attentions. Clearly, tummy rubs are a higher priority than maintaining ownership of the best cave.

And yes, Lefty did reclaim his turf while Rufus was otherwise occupied.

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?

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.