Unusual

Want to see some of the unusual views of the feline contingent we’ve gotten lately? It’s been that kind of week.

Yuki’s not big on contemplation, so it was a rare treat to find him lost in thought Tuesday morning.
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Mind you, I’m not sure what he’s thinking about. It was probably something deeply profound like “Why isn’t it dinner time yet?” He’s not a dedicated snarfler like some of the others, but I’ve never known him to turn down a meal.

Then we were treated to a unique view of Watanuki. It’s not uncommon for him to leave a limb sticking out of whatever object he’s snoozing on, but he’s always careful to keep his paws pointed at the floor.
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But he slipped up on Wednesday. Just check out those cute toe beans. They wouldn’t be nearly as attractive without those two bits of black to set off the pink.

But I’m sure he’ll be blushing under his fur when he realizes I’ve posted this shot.

Wednesday was really the unusual day. Rufus found his way down to the living room and onto the sofa.
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Curling up and snoozing all day isn’t hugely unusual for him, though more often than not, he’ll drop by my office to see what I’m up to. But he went to the vet Wednesday morning for his annual checkup, and he was feeling a bit under the weather.

So the living room, where felines rarely go seemed ideal. A bit of blanket rearrangement, and he had himself a perfect nest to sleep off the vaccination blues.

Mind you, it wasn’t a day of total strangeness. When we told him it was dinner time…
13-4his reaction was a very typical, “Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?”

Roll Call

Nobody’s done anything particularly cute lately, so how about a simple collection of relaxed cats in their favorite snoozing spots?

I’m putting them in order of seniority. Pecking order might be more useful, but it changes so quickly it would be out of date by the time the post goes live and probably change twice more while you’re reading it.

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Kokoro likes the tangle of wires under my desk. It’s shadowed, convenient for requesting cuddles, and if she gets bored, there’s an ARC of The RagTime Traveler to read.

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Kaja has several favorite hangouts, but Maggie’s office chair is currently the absolute winner. The sheepskin cover means its always at a comfortable temperature, and the seat itself is just the right size.

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Rhubarb is never happier than when he can curl up on the newspaper. If he can prevent me from getting to the sports section, it’s an even bigger win.

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Watanuki moves around a lot, but the hammock in the upstairs hall is a perennial favorite. It conforms to his shape while allowing him to leave limbs dangling (note the right rear paw). And there’s a window right there so he has a perfect excuse to turn his back on us.

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Yuki has long favored the bed, especially my side. Not only is it just the right degree of softness to gratify his sybaritic soul, but the red blanket sets of his fur most elegantly.

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Sachiko has resting places all over the house, but she spends most of her time on one the dining room chairs. “Ize da queen,” she says–and yes, she still speaks Kitten, probably because we spoil her immensely–“and I gotsa have da biggest fwone!”

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Rufus is still exploring the house and trying new possibilities. But at the moment his spot of choice is the floor next to my desk chair. Convenient when he wants pettings; directly in the path of the fan, so he stays nice and cool; and one of the few places ‘Nuki rarely goes.

Boxed

Did you know that rabbits are susceptible to Maru’s Syndrome?
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“If it fits, I sits,” indeed. There were several bunnies at the county fair who had more extreme cases of the disease, but this one was the cutest.

Speaking of boxes, I went to clean the litter boxes a few days ago and discovered that someone had left a message.
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That’s not a casual comment or accident. The scoop normally lies on the artificial grass mat visible at the lower left. Whoever it was had to pick it up and carry it into the box.

And no, I don’t think the message was that the box needed cleaning. Despite what it looks like in this picture, it actually had less mess in it than usual.

Nor has the message been repeated. Maybe it was just “I’m bored and this looks like a toy.”

I don’t know who left the message either, but odds are good that it was one of these guys.
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They may look cute and innocent when they’re curled up on the bed together, but I’m fairly sure that the more innocent they look, the more likely they are to be plotting some fresh deviltry.

And, speaking of deviltry, Sachiko wanted to know when I was going to put her on the blog again.
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Never let it be said that I gave her an excuse to bury the litter box scoop. Not that she’d need an excuse if she thought of it.

Widening Horizons

A couple of weeks ago, Rufus came to visit me in the bedroom. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. In truth, I lured him into exploring with copious quantities of petting.

But the point is, he made it into the bedroom.

Barely.
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As you can see, he was under close observation* by Watanuki, who considers the entire house to be his territory.

* If you’ve never seen cats playing the “I’m not looking at you, so you damn well better not move a muscle” game, I pity you. It’s hilarious.

Eventually Rufus retreated to his familiar territory upstairs, and he hasn’t been back downstairs since. But it’s still progress.

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His new den has been rather more successful. It took him about half a day to decide it was a great hangout.

Mind you, we had intended him to sit on top of it so he could look out the window, but so far he’s not interested.

Which may be a good thing, as someone else is.
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Surprisingly, their interactions have been peaceful.

Mostly.

‘Nuki occasionally tries to figure out what’s going on underneath him.

Fortunately, he’s a bit unclear on the concept.
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I don’t think Rufus even noticed Mr. Knuckles’ investigation.

Topsy Turvy

Everything’s a bit topsy-turvy around here.

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Yes, even Watanuki. (All joking aside, he spends hours in positions like that. I know when they want to be, cats are, for all practical purposes, boneless. But how can he possibly be comfortable?)

It’s all because of the political implications of Rufus joining the gang.

Truth to tell, he’s doing very well. Negotiations rarely come to violence in the halls–at least not of the sort that requires human intervention with leather gloves and/or squirt bottles.

Clashes, yes. But for every moment when somebody gets a paw-slap to the forehead or a cold nose up the ass,14-2

there’s also at least one like this:

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Misnamed?

Those of you who are kept by cats may have noticed that they have favorite spots to hang out, but that those spots change over time.

Rufus’ current favorite:
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Yeah, the back of the futon in his room.
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He seems comfortable, but even so, I think it looks a bit precarious.
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Maybe we should have named him Snoopy.

On a related note, we’re seeing him in places–and in proximity to others–we wouldn’t have dreamed of even a few weeks ago.
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Rufus isn’t fully integrated yet. There’s still a lot of political drama, most of it with Mr. ‘Nuki, no matter what that photo suggests.

And Rufus is still very reluctant to go downstairs–upstairs is his turf; downstairs is the Great Unknown.

But he’s making progress. And that’s all one can ask for, really.

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.

Still a Way to Go

Rufus continues to acclimate to his new life.

Despite the traditional family humiliations heaped on him–see yesterday’s post for an example–and the continued misbehavior of Mr. AssholeWatanuki, Rufus is making longer forays around the house and looking more comfortable while he does it.

‘Nuki’s latest trick is to climb into Rufus’ bed.
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Once firmly in possession, he glares through the holes at the rightful owner.
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Who, for the most part, cheerfully ignores him. Rufus has figured out that if ‘Nuki is in the bed, he’s not in a position to prevent him from exploring.

Lately, he’s been hanging out at the top of the stairs. Yes, the stairs that are the nerve center of the entire house, and the spot where Rhubarb and Yuki generally hang out.
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Now, granted, that top step is roughly four Rufus-lengths from his “safe space”–that’s the door at the left–but it’s unquestionably a sign of progress.

And he does look amazingly relaxed, doesn’t he?
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Well, OK. Maybe not too relaxed.

Integration 2

We’re still working on giving Rufus the freedom of the house. He’s making progress, but it’s slow.

Part of it is on Rufus; he seems to have the idea that we don’t want him to leave his room. When we leave the door open, he waits until we’re not around, and then he sneaks out. As soon as he sees one of us–or even hears us approaching–he retreats to his turf.

We can’t even lure him out of the room to accept cuddles in the hall. He’ll come right up to the door, flop down a careful half-inch inside the room, and roll onto his back for a tummy rub. I’ve started carrying him one Rufus-length outside the door for pettings. He’s accepting it, but it’s too soon to know whether there will be any long-term benefit.

And Rufus is going further on his exploratory expeditions than he did early on. We’ve found him (briefly) in the front hall, two floors away from his safe space. So there’s hope.

The biggest part of Rufus’ failure to integrate, however, is named “Watanuki”. Or, as we’re calling him more and more often, “Mr. Asshole”.

‘Nuki misses no opportunity to steal Rufus’ catnip toys, hunt for scraps of food in his bowls, use his litter box, and generally take every chance he can to invade Rufus’ personal space.

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Note the “Will you get this schmuck out of here?” look on Rufus’ face and ‘Nuki’s “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you.” expression.

We haven’t seen much in the way of violence, barring the occasional nose-bop, but the political slogan shouting has gotten heated at times.

I suspect the eventual outcome will involve somebody taking a claw to the ear or nose, before they both back down and negotiate a settlement.

Changeless

Some things don’t change much at all.

The spider’s had to rebuild her web a couple of times, but she’s still hanging around in front of the house.
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And hiding on days when I have the good camera handy. I presume she’s concerned about having her picture out on the Internet in this age of facial recognition.

Yuki still thinks Rhubarb is the greatest pillow known to felinity.
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And snoring. Not surprising with his head at that angle.

The turkeys are still terrorizing the neighborhood. This shot was taken shortly after they held off the dog next door while stealing everything edible in his yard.
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And they’re beginning the preliminaries to their mating rituals. It is that time of year.

Rufus is still negotiating territorial rights with Watanuki.
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And there is much staring.