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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Changing Times

People change over time. They develop new interests, try new things, and find new ways to avoid terminal boredom.

Case in point: Way, way back in 2013, I said that Watanuki isn’t “aggressive about sitting on newspapers…doesn’t have much interest in chewing on books…doesn’t unroll the toilet paper…and given his choice of dens, he’s more likely to hole up in a plastic cat carrier than a cardboard box.”

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‘Nuki didn’t just stroll into the box and sit down. He had to knock it on its side first. That took several tries. Then there was a period of cautious sniffage, followed by multiple changes of position before he was comfortable.

Perhaps Watanuki has outgrown his early “reverse Maru’s syndrome”. He has taken to sitting on the recycle pile–which is primarily newspaper–and has been seen droolingnibbling on the corner of Maggie’s ebook reader (call it meta-paper).

Or maybe he’s just doing it to mess with our minds. I wouldn’t put it past our house-thug.

Regardless, Rhubarb wants to make it clear that he had nothing to do with ‘Nuki’s behavioral change, has never met Watanuki, and in fact, doesn’t even see the cat to his right.

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While it’s true that times and people change, some things remain the same.

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No matter how lazy a cat may get (Garfield notwithstanding), mice remain a hunter’s favorite target.

Pillowed

Watanuki has some strange ideas about the proper role of a pillow.

Actually, he has a lot of strange ideas. But a detailed discussion of them all would take us far beyond the space allotted to today’s post, so we’ll stick with pillows.

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Most people put their head on a pillow. Not Mr. Knuckles.

I’d think he was trying to keep his butt warm, but the temperature was in the nineties the day that picture was taken. Cold buns (not that he really has buns–but I digress) were not the issue.

Meanwhile, Yuki took the usurpation of his favorite head-and-tail-rest in stride.

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He often finds Maggie’s pillow to be an acceptable alternate Rhubarb. Though it has to be said that I’ve never seen him twist his hindquarters into that position with any other pillow.

Meanwhile, I found the funniest part of the episode to be the way Sachiko completely ignored the boys’ antics.

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That Brightness Ain’t the Sunrise

Yes, I know yesterday’s post was a bit dark. For the record, no I’m not particularly depressed. No need to alert Facebook’s algorithms.

And, speaking of records, the Mariners did set that record–15 games at the beginning of the season with at least one home run–they did win yesterday in a very thrilling come-from-behind fashion, and they now return home bearing the best record in baseball and a four game division lead over the Astros. Who are, coincidentally, the team they’ll be playing for the next three days and who, historically speaking, the Mariners have always had trouble beating. As I said before, it can’t last. But it’s a great ride while it does.

Anyway, how about something cheerful as an antidote to yesterday’s doom and gloom?

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Hang on, let me enhance that a little. Or at least brighten it up a bit.

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Why, look! It’s Lefty, out of the room he shares with Rufus!

Yes, we’ve begun giving him opportunities to explore the upstairs hall. He’s been very cautious about it, not spending much time off his familiar turf, and certainly not letting us close (hence the low resolution of the pictures–they were cropped out of shots taken from halfway across the house).

But he’s taking steps in the right direction. Not only is he broadening his horizons, but he’s also had a couple of opportunities to exchange less-than-flattering personal observations with ‘Nuki.

Now that is a rite of passage!

Finally, lest you think I’ve merely exchanged dark words for dark pictures, here’s something bright and cheerful.

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It’s not often we see these three hanging out together. Enjoy.

Reputation

‘Nuki has a tough life. It’s his own fault, though.

He spends all his time working on his rep. “Mr. Murder Mittens.” “Knuckles Malloy, Notorious Mobster Feline.” Those are names with capital-P Power. Oompj. Even “Mr. Thugbutt,” for all its superficial silliness, has a touch of that menacing edge.

It’s exhausting to keep it up, all day, every day.

You gotta give the guy props, though. He’s in there doing the work and reaping the rewards.

24/7/365.

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Okay, okay. He slips occasionally.

But notice that right front paw. Even at his inadvertent cutest, ‘Nuki still stays on message. There may only be one claw exposed, but it’s a darn sharp one.

Then there’s his little sister, Sachiko.

She’s got a rep of her own, and she’s far less prone to slip than Big Brudder Nookles. And that’s a Really Good Thing, because she’s the current holder of the “Ms. Otter Girl” title. Has been for more than four years now.

That’s “otter” as in “always going where she otter not be.”

Case in point.

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She’s also been known to climb over the fence you see behind her. It would be beneath her dignity to simply go down a couple of steps and come back on the other side of the fence. Such sedentary behavior might be appropriate for old fogies like her siblings, but not for a young lady with athletic inclinations.

She wishes it known that, should she decide to go to Stanford, she will earn her scholarship. No need to bribe her way onto the rock climbing team.

Still the Best of Friends

Five years and eleven months ago, I wrote about how, two years before, we had become a five cat household, blowing right through all sensible limits regarding proper human to feline ratios.

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Yuki and Watanuki, I said then, had been hanging out together at the shelter, and it seemed far too great a sin to break up such a promising friendship. Now, here we are, more than eight years after the Ookis graced us with their presence in our lives, and they’re still great friends.

To the extent that ‘Nuki has friends, anyway. But leave his thuggery for another day.

They can often, as you see here, be found hanging out on the bed together.

They share common interests. Home security (“Ooki Brothers’ Security is on the case!”). Treats. Drooling.

Mutual grooming is far from unheard of.

And they have similar reactions to being photographed. “You get one shot. After that, I’m going to shift to a less photogenic pose.”

So it was an exciting day when I not only got the shot of the two of them sharing out the pillows, but even persuaded them to hold still long enough to get individual images.

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Mr. Floof isn’t actually gazing into your soul. I don’t think so, anyway. More likely, he’s assessing the odds that you’ve got a cat treat in your pocket.

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Mr. Knuckles, on the other paw, is definitely sizing up your soul and finding it lacking. He’s not using his eyes, though. Those whiskers of his are multipurpose implements whose utility goes far beyond mundane navigation. They weigh souls, field dress prey, and tune in FM radio.

For the Fancier

By my count, we’ve had three straight weeks of the Fabulous Formerly Feral Felines, so it’s time to give some attention to the rest of the gang again.

Unfortunately, feline cuteness and/or silliness have been in short supply lately. Or maybe I’ve just been oblivious to it. Either way, my supply of photos is a little light at the moment.

I do have this charming shot of Watanuki.
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Note the corner of the blanket neatly folded across his abdomen. He’s always been a burrower, and we take great care in checking any lumps in the blankets when we come into the bedroom.

Lately, he hasn’t been digging deep under the covers–perhaps a sign of warmer weather approaching. Instead, we find scenes like the one above, or on days when the temperature drops again, something more like:
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Devoted students of the toe bean are welcome to requests higher resolution images.

Yes, that is a bit of his leg visible toward the left of the picture, but it didn’t stay in sight long. Shortly after I took the shot, ‘Nuki twitched the covers down over his leg.

We still don’t know what the purpose of the exposed paw was. It might have been a form of temperature regulation or, since this is ‘Nuki–who’s forever leaving body parts lying around–it could just as easily have been an oversight or an artistic statement.

Blankie

Watanuki’s love affair with Maggie’s new blanket–or rather, plural blankets–continues.

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I don’t know if the colder weather we’ve been getting lately, with overnight lows in the lower forties, or just a desire for snuggles when there are no humans around.

Certainly, he has been snugglier than usual lately, which is suggestive, but not conclusive.

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Regardless of the reason, it’s quite common these days to walk into the bedroom and find a thuggish head poking out from under the blankets.

Oddly, he seems to be the only feline* so enthralled.

* Maggie is nearly as fond of the blankets as ‘Nuki. Nearly.

Rhubarb spends nearly as much time on the bed, but he’s quite content to stick with my familiar slightly fuzzy red blanket.

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Maybe he likes the way it feels. Maybe he thinks it complements his own fur. Or maybe he’s just a creature of habit. Like me.