High Drama

The drama and excitement is non-stop around here, folks. Consider this scene Maggie captured a few days ago.

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Something has Yuki fascinated. So fascinated he hasn’t even noticed the stray hair on his nose. The stray hair that will shortly cause him to sneeze so violently that his tail, normally curled at the end, unwinds to lie straight for nearly four seconds!

But who’s that lurking in the background?

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Why, it’s Rhubarb, carefully disclaiming all knowledge of where that orange hair came from, much less how it found its way to Yuki’s nose…

Meanwhile, out in the backyard,

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MM continues to prove that Carroll’s Alice was a remarkably unobservant young lady.

They’re Here!

I didn’t remember ordering anything, but there the box was. Being no fool, I let the security detail check it out. Once they assured me there was nothing in it that required their attention (translation: no catnip), I opened it.
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Yup. Author’s copies of The RagTime Traveler arrived safely before the release date.

Naturally, I needed a couple of pictures for posterity.

Rhubarb and Yuki were properly awed.
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Balance

I try to keep my posts fair and balanced. In that spirit, here’s a shot of Tuxie doing his fence-walking act.
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The really impressive part–which I entirely failed to photograph–was him walking across the gate a couple of body lengths behind him.

In a different sort of balance, here’s a shot of Rhubarb, who hasn’t gotten much coverage lately.
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The quizzical expression on his face is the result of me, Maggie, Kokoro, and Yuki all coming into the room at the same time. Rhubarb is wondering exactly what he did that warranted so much attention.

(And yes, this post is late. No excuses: I just plain forgot to prepare it last night. My apologies.)

Caution

We began the year with the tale of Watanuki’s unauthorized experiment in outdoor living, so let’s go back to the feline contingent to close out 2016 with a cautionary tale.

As I’ve mentioned, the dining room heat vent has been very popular lately.
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Although some people seem a trifle unclear on the basic concept.
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Joint use is possible.
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But sometimes…
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conflicts arise.
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And when limited resources are the subject of a fight, there can be at most one winner.
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A lesson we should all keep in mind as the Western US draws ever closer to the inevitable water wars.


On a cheerier note, Rufus is doing well. He enjoyed a Christmas treat of salmon gooshy fud, and he’s rocking his new bling. No heat vents in his catio, but he’s got a warm lap every evening, and seems quite happy with that.
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Happiness

Right now, Rhubarb is the happiest kitty in the house.

He had his stitches removed Wednesday, and the Cone o’ Shame came off too. He indulged in a mild frenzy of grooming, catching up on two week’s worth of missed washing, and since then he’s split his time between snoring on his favorite stair and hogging the heat vent under the Christmas tree.
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Sachiko, however, is probably the most annoyed feline in the joint.

We figured that it would be safest for Rhubarb to travel to the vet’s office in our largest carrier, so he’d be able to move around with the collar. The last time we used that carrier was to take Rufus to the vet, and then we put in the garage. That being the case, we thought it would be a good idea to put it inside the house so Rhubarb could investigate it and get used to the scent.

He sniffed it briefly, gave a dismissive toss of his head, and knocked it on its side before walking off.

At which point, Sachiko came to investigate. More precisely, she claimed it as her latest den.
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She was not at all amused when we dumped her out of it, loaded Big Brudder Rhubarb, and carried it away.

Worse yet, when we brought Rhubarb back, her den vanished back into the garage!

Forty-eight hours later, she’s still poking around the bedroom looking for it.

At least we know what to get her for Christmas–and it won’t cost a cent!

Pity Kitty

Poor Rhubarb had a health scare last week.

He’s had a small lump on his forehead for the past month or so. Not growing, but not going away either. So, since he was due for his vaccination anyway, we all went down to the vet’s office.

The doc removed it, sent it off for analysis, gave Rhubarb his shots, and sent him home that afternoon.

We were all delighted to learn that the lump was a follicular cyst, but Rhubarb was not happy about wearing the Cone o’ Shame.
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Just look at that piteous expression. He’s been getting a larger-than-usual number of cuddles this week.

Follicular cysts are, we’re given to understand, not life-threatening, not prone to recurrence, and not communicable. Hooray for that.

But Rhubarb still has another week or so wearing the Cone, and he’s got quite the decoration on the top of his head.
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We’re still not sure if we should be calling him “Rubanstein” or “Frankenbarb”.

Equal Time

The last two Friday posts were devoted to Kaja. Since Rhubarb is her littermate, it seems only fair to give him some attention this week.

When Rhubarb is awake, he has two modes of operation.

Pensive
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I believe he’s thinking “I wish I could read clocks, so I’d know how long it is until dinner time.”

Alert
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He’s definitely thinking “Is it dinner time?”

Unfortunately for him, no, it wasn’t. Just time for me to shine bright lights in his eyes. Maybe someday he’ll figure out that Maggie is the person who feeds him.

Hang In There

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I noticed something odd about the way Rhubarb sits the other day. Or, more precisely, something I’ve noticed many times without thinking about it finally registered on me.

Do you see it? No? Here, try a different angle.

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Now do you see it?

Look at his tail. See how he’s got it carefully curled around the step? He often wraps his tail around something. It’s as though he feels the need for extra security.

It’s particularly odd because Kaja, his littermate, is an old-school daredevil. Her favorite trick was to slide between the steps and curl her body around until she was half upside-down.

We’re actually a little surprised–and very relieved–that she never slid all the way through and tried walking up and down the underside of the stairs, Escher-style. Knowing her determination, she might very well have succeeded, but I wouldn’t want to watch.

Come to think of it, maybe that explains Rhubarb’s habit. Maybe Kaja did take a stroll under the stairs, and the sight so unnerved Rhubarb that even now, years later, he feels the need for a little extra reassurance that gravity still likes him.

Teamwork

So many of my posts only show one of the cats, you all must be getting a false impression. Yes, I’ve shown you several of them using each other as pillows, but beyond that, not much.

But they really do hang out together when they’re awake, too.
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Case in point.

Mid-afternoon. The mail had already been delivered, which meant there was no reason to hide in the closet, so several of them decided to sprawl on the stairs and watch the world go by.

That’s Sachiko on the lowest step, by the way.
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As you can see, she’s not nearly as relaxed as that first shot would suggest. Even when she does relax, she’s still usually on alert; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her sleeping, at least not so soundly that anything larger than a moth could sneak up on her.

Which is, of course, part of the reason she gets along so well with ‘Nuki, our self-appointed Chief of Security.
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Naturally, any time we open the sliding door, it calls for a two-member security team to ensure that nothing gets through the screen door. They’ll stay on duty for hours until we come to our senses and lock the house down again.

Such dedication! Such comradeship! Such gratuitous self-indulgence!

Responsibility

I write about the cats’ battles, political and physical, quite a lot. That’s because those are what people find interesting. How many historians recorded the great battles of antiquity–and how many bothered to devote more than a few words to daily life between those battles? Same theory.

And it’s true that they do spend a major chunk of time jockeying for position and boxing each others’ ears.

But there’s another side to their interactions.

A case in point. Several days ago, I found Rhubarb sleeping on the stairs, paw over nose, looking disgustingly cute. So I did what any sensible person would do, and grabbed the camera.
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And it could have ended there, and you all would have enjoyed a cute cat snoozing.

But Kokoro heard me taking the picture, and she takes her role as Alpha Kitty seriously.

Sure, she’ll box Rhubarb’s ears if he gets out of line–or stick her nose up his butt if that’s what he needs.

Because she knows that with power comes responsibility, and it’s her job to make sure that everyone in the pride behaves correctly.

So she came out to make sure that nothing untoward was going on.
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As, of course, there wasn’t. Because she knows that she’s responsible for every one of her juniors.

Even the benighted bipedal ones.