A Mixed Blessing

Watanuki has been more snuggly than usual lately. Where his usual pattern tends to be to flop on the bed next to one of us (usually Maggie) and demand cuddles, of late he’s been draping himself across our hips or stomachs.

Which is kind of cute, really.

But then there’s that cuddle-demanding thing. He has a very…direct…way of requesting attention.

A quick swat with the paw–claws extended, of course–followed by a soulful gaze…

In fairness to Mr. Knuckles, I should note that some of those holes in my hand are the result of cold weather, frequent handwashing, and even more frequent immersions in various sanitizing fluids. But the longer, more painful ones? Those are all his doing.

The other downside of his cuddliness? Much as it pains me to reveal one of his secret vices, honesty compels me to state that ‘Nuki is a drooler.

Not a demure little drip of happiness.

Oh, no.

Rivers of drool. A downpouring from his lip that could put Victoria Falls to shame.

Fortunately, Maggie has found a solution.

Watanuckles is not amused, but he tolerates the bibs in the interest of attention.

A Rare Moment

We don’t get a whole lot of Emeraldas/Sachiko mother/daughter bonding moments. To be brutally honest, there’s often hissing when they meet.

Which isn’t really surprising. They’re both dominant types with strong personalities, so a bit of pecking order negotiation is the expected norm.

But every so often…

We get a peaceful encounter.

In this particular case, Sachiko had been sleeping when Em leapt up on the condo. A bit of mutual staring occurred–I suspect it was the feline equivalent of “Make sure you wash behind your ears” / “Mom!”–and then they both got distracted by a passing moth and took off in pursuit.

It’s nice to see them sharing a passion for sports.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One rule for living right I didn’t mention, mostly because I couldn’t find an appropriately illustrative song: recognize you’ll never be perfect, but never give up trying.

Kokoro is a case in point.

One could certainly forgive her if she stopped her pursuit of the perfect body curl. She is, after all, a lady of a certain age–arguably a certain age and a half–and her curl has been developed with daily practice.

And yet, it’s still not quite perfect.

Note the tail: it’s neither aligned with the feet or crossed over them to parallel the upper ear. Any judge would agree it’s a quarter-point deduction.

So, she continues to practice. This particular practice session lasted a good three hours.

One can only admire her dedication to her craft. And give her pettings when she wakes up.

Double-Decker

The microwave/TV condo in the upstairs hall goes through waves of popularity and disinterest.

Until about a week ago, nobody had been much into it, literally or figuratively. Kokoro would sit on top, but neither for very long or very often.

Then, magic:

Emeraldas and Lefty have taken it over.

They seem to like the two-level aspect. Meezers are typically climbers, so being on the upper level may be appealing to Em’s deeper instincts; as for Lefty, few indeed are the cats who don’t like a cave of their own.

(Note, by the way, that Lefty is still–at least as of this writing–wearing his bling.)

As for us, we’re pleased to see Em hanging around parts of the house that aren’t the downstairs.

Happy Tidings

Recent posts have, I’ll admit, been somewhat on the negative–if not outright depressing–side.

I mean, really. We’ve had posts about an entirely inadequate substitute for fireworks, persistent non-vaccination, software incomprehensible to a significant portion of its users, and the ongoing Hall of Fame controversies. And that’s just this year!

So I’ll cop to negativity. But I’ll deny any suggestion that I like the blog that way. I’m just editorializing on the news, after all, and there’s only so much one can do with the state of the world right now.

So, with the start of a new month, I’m delighted to have a story to talk about that’s nothing but good news, even if it is old news for many of you.

For the first time in over a decade, America has a First Cat. No, not a King of the Cats. This is still–barely–a democracy. Sorry, trying to stay positive.

Yes, the Bidens have brought a cat into the White House. Willow, by name.

Better news: she’s not some pampered show cat from a high-end breeder; instead, she’s a now-former working class cat–a farm cat, to be precise–from Pennsylvania. One hopes that her mousing skills will be unnecessary in her new home, but it’s good to know that, should the President be faced with an invasion of rodents*, he’s got a defense in depth.

* Am I the only one who thinks Mitch McConnell looks distinctly rodential? Wouldn’t you like to be the proverbial fly on the wall the first time he meets Willow?

But the best news of all?

Our new #COTUS is named for Willow Grove, Pennsylvania–Jill Biden’s home town. Thank all that’s holy for that. Imagine the horror if “Willow” had been short for “Pussy Willow”. The sugar overdose would have rotted teeth across the entire breadth of the country!

Lacking Ambition

I am currently filled with a lack of ambition so great that it can easily fail to conquer the world. Or even New Jersey, assuming one could find a reason to want to conquer that state.

I did manage to scrounge enough get up and go to climb the stairs to my office, however, so I can bring you this entirely backstory-free portrait of Kaja, smugly ensconced on Kokoro’s heat pad.

Clearly, she has far more ambition than I at this juncture.

A Rite of Passage

It took a lot longer than we expected, but Lefty may have confirmed the “Formerly” in his title of “Formerly Feral Fellow”.

Mind you, he’s not exactly happy about it.

Downright grumpy, in fact.

But an apparently incongruous emotional reaction to a life-changing event is far from uncommon.

It’s been more than a year since I wrote “someday soon he will wear it again“. I’m pretty sure that fourteen months isn’t “soon” by the standards of anyone with a lifespan shorter than your average sequoia.

But, yes.

He is once again wearing a collar.

As of this writing, he’s had it on for four days–it helps that this was intended to be his permanent collar, rather than an extremely weak “test collar”–but after a few unsuccessful attempts to persuade Emeraldas to help him take it off, he hasn’t mustered any strong objections.

And, yes, it does have bling.

I’ll skip the jokes about him being the star of our family and/or the bell [sic] of the ball.

He is Awesome Kitty, though, and we’re delighted that he seems to have accepted that the Well-Dressed Cat-About-the-House wears bling.

Welcome home, Lefty, welcome home.

Pairings

Feline pairings are volatile.

Lefty and Rhubarb, for example. They rarely fight–both are generally mellow fellows–but neither do they seek out each other’s company.

And yet, sometimes they find themselves thrown together by circumstances.

Circumstances such as “This stair has the best view in the house.”

It was an amicable meeting, and lasted about five minutes before they were both called away on urgent business elsewhere, Rhubarb to check his food bowl and Lefty to collect some lap time.

Other pairings are longer term.

(Ignore that thuggish photobomber in the background.)

Emeraldas and Lefty are frequently found in proximity.

Unsurprising, really. They started along the path to Indoor Cathood together–though Lefty made the transition indoors well before Em–and neither is entirely convinced they’ve been fixed.

Like many couples, they bicker: who gets to sit on which chair in the dining room, who gets first dibs on the gooshy fud, or who is going to wash who’s ears first.

Nevertheless, they’re more often found together than apart, and intertwined tails are not uncommon.

Too Much of a Good Thing

A couple of weeks ago, I was commending Kokoro for her generosity.

Let it be noted that one can be too generous.

Case in point:

Sure, it was a friendly gesture to share her heat pad with Rhubarb. But when Watanuki got involved…

Let’s just say that ‘Nuki hasn’t internalized the meaning of the word “share”.

No heat for Rhubarb, and Kokoro is so far away, she’s teetering on the brink of falling off the futon.

But at least the crew is being amicable about the whole thing. The futon has, it seems, been unanimously declared “neutral territory: open to all” in the same way our bed has.

Still, Kokoro needs the heat on her joints more than anyone else.