Chillin’

Rhubarb and Sachiko hope you’ve had as good a week as they have.

Rhubarb’s spent most of it chilling on his favorite chair.
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It’s also my favorite chair, which has made for a few awkward moments, but since he gets it for approximately twenty-two hours a day, I don’t feel too guilty about dispossessing him for the other two hours.

Sachiko, on the other paw, has resumed her on again/off again love affair with the spare chair on the other side of the table.
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It’s got a nice, comfy cushion, but more importantly, it’s conveniently placed for her to stare at Rhubarb for hours on end.

It doesn’t bother him much, as far as we can tell. But when I take over the chair, her staring sure makes me nervous.

Hard Luck Lady

Poor Sachiko’s had a rough time of it lately.

In recent weeks, she’s been assaulted by the vicious spinning thing…
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Pummeled by the evil pile of boxes…
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And eaten alive by the the dreadful green monster.
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Fortunately, as the smallest cat in the house, she’s well-practiced in being put-upon. She’s kept it all in perspective.
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A short nap later, no more than three or four hours long, she emerged from the belly of the beast, none the worse for the experience, and ready to face whatever fresh disasters the world has in store for her.

Lifestyles of the Furry Set

Rufus’ socialization and integration continue.
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He’s still not really comfortable with any of the other cats, but as long as they’re not openly antagonistic, he’s willing to live, let live, and sniff butts.

* Yes, my office floor does need vacuuming. That’s one bit of auctorial procrastination I’ve been procrastinating on.

Which means he’s mostly getting along with everyone but Watanuki, who continues to earn the epithet “Mr. Thunk”* every day. Even there, however, relations are improving. ‘Nuki mostly confines himself to chasing Rufus up the stairs and then polishing the already-empty food bowl. Rufus, for his part, regards ‘Nuki with caution, but little fear.

* A portmanteau of “thug” and “punk”.

And not everything is going ‘Nuki’s way. Sachiko has taken over his traditional role as “Lurker Under the Covers”.
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She’s been remarkably resistant to his efforts to chase her off the bed. But then, she’s never been especially intimidated by him. She’s been trying to chew his ears off since she was a kitten.

Watanuki’s response to the disarrangement of his routine has been to declare his intention to run away to sea and become a pirate.

I pointed out that cats aboard ship are expected to work. His response, delivered with impressively lofty tones and deep snottiness?
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“Nonsense. I shall be a figurehead.”

I had to admit that he’d be a good one. He’s got the attitude and the pose down. I asked him how he felt about the ship’s bow smashing into a wave while he was on duty.

His answer was largely unprintable, but hinted that he doesn’t believe the ocean would dare drench him.

Flap

Whenever Maggie fills the bird feeders (affectionately known as the Cat Entertainment Devices), we get swarms of the feathered noisemakers.

I’m not a bird person, so I only recognize three types:
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Jays

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Doves
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Little Twitter Birds

Life is even simpler for Sachiko.
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She calls them all “ek-ek-ek-ek [tail swish]”. As best I can tell–and why doesn’t Google Translate handle Cat/English?–that means “Lemme outta here, Daddy! I’ll moidelize da bums!” ¬†Approximately.

You might think that MM and Tuxie would spend most of their time in the yard, watching and drooling. You would be half right.
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To be fair, MM does spend time keeping an eye on the avian activity.
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It’s not a very aggressive eye, but it is an eye.
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Note the orange little twitter bird at the silver feeder and the gray one at the red feeder, which is almost directly above MM’s head.

Based on our observations of MM’s interactions with the birds, we’re fairly sure that she, like me, has three names for them. About three-quarters of them are “Meh. Too much work.” Two-thirds of the remainder are “Missed it by that much.” And the remaining eight percent?

“See? I don’t need hoomins to feed me.”

Integration

“Separate but equal” is not an acceptable option.

Accordingly, we’ve been continuing to introduce Rufus to the rest of the gang with increasing levels of interaction and self-guided exploration.

Thursday evening, we opened the door to Rufus’ space*, and then sat back to watch what happened and intercede if the political negotiations got out of paw.

* Which is also the space where Sachiko lived until she was sufficiently socialized to join the “big kitties”. As such, she takes a certain proprietary interest in that room.

Rufus spent a few minutes sniffing around the bathroom.
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Not finding much to interest him, he headed down the hall in the other direction. Kokoro, ‘Nuki, and Yuki were much more interesting than the bathroom.
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And, of course, they found Rufus quite intriguing as well.

Approximately three seconds after that picture was taken, ‘Nuki and Rufus exchanged a few paw swats, none of which made contact.

Discretion being the better part, Rufus returned to his room, to discover that somebody had taken advantage of his absence to explore.
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Shortly thereafter, Yuki decided to join the party.
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As you can see, Rufus wasn’t amused. He returned to the hall, sending Yuki into a precipitous retreat–so naturally Kokoro and Sachiko took advantage of his absence to explore.

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When he came back, Kokoro made a successful escape, but Sachiko panicked, and tried to hide under the futon. She realized it was a mistake almost as soon as she stopped moving, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave past Rufus. Nor could we lure her out–even her favorite treat–licking the fork that we mix Rufus’ food with–couldn’t tempt her out.

The poor Skittercritter stayed under the futon, growling at nothing (or perhaps herself) until we gave Rufus his dinner. As soon as Sachiko realized he was distracted, she hurled herself across the room, out the door, and down the stairs at the end of the hall. She didn’t quite crack the sound barrier, but I think she exceeded the freeway speed limit.

That was all more excitement than we had planned for one day. So the next few days we’ll step back and limit interactions to what they can do through a just-barely-ajar door.

Once everyone’s chilled out, we’ll let them mingle again.

My Hat’s Off To You

For reasons she’s unable to explain coherently–“It seemed like a good idea at the time” figures prominently–Maggie recently purchased a cat bonnet.

No, not a bonnet made of cat-printed fabric. One of these. Yes, a bonnet for a cat.

‘Nuki is not amused.
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Neither is Sachiko.
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Perhaps it’s because we haven’t quite figured out how to put it on them. Clearly it doesn’t fit the same way as the one on the box fits the model.

Sachiko has her own ideas about the best way to make use of it.
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But then, as we’ve noted in the past, everything is a cat toy. Including apparel.

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!

There Are Two Kinds of Toys

Rufus is a simple cat. He likes simple pleasures: a bowl of gooshy fud, a warm lap on a cold night, a bit of catnip now and then.

And he likes his toys simple, too. We’ve given him several weatherproof cat toys, mostly variations on balls and tracks. He ignores ’em.

Ah, but wave a piece of straw in his direction…
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He’ll study it carefully, wait for it to stop moving, even if only for an instant, then he transforms into a blur of motion, more often than not sinking his claws into the dangerous opponent before gumming it into soggy oblivion.

Sachiko, on the other paw, was raised in a geek household. She’s been surrounded by high-tech toys her entire life.

Straw is beneath her notice.

Her favorite toy?
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Yup. Partially-cut up soda bottle rings. Now them’s good eats!

Fwozen

It’s winter here, at least for local values of “winter”. High temperatures in the low sixties isn’t bad, but overnight lows in the low forties is a bit cooler than I like. And for natives, it’s downright frigid.

That means Sachiko is spending an unusual amount of time curled up in bed.
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Which is not to say that she’s asleep. The Skittercritter is still young enough that she hasn’t quite mastered the fine art of sleeping soundly.

Any little noise–such as a finger tapping a phone’s onscreen camera button–will bring her to full alertness.
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“Oh, dere you iz. Make wif da heats. I fweezing.”

“It’s sixty-eight in here.”

“Kelbin?”

“Right. Fine. I’ll turn it up a little.” ¬†I figure any sign of science literacy should be rewarded.