Census

Why, yes, my schedule is a bit confused this week. What gave me away?

Here’s Friday’s post, only twenty-four hours late.

Four fine, feline fellows.

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Okay, three and a half–that’s Yuki’s hindquarters off to the right there.

(To be totally honest, there were actually five cats present, but I couldn’t frame a picture that included Kokoro at the bottom of the stairs while still keeping Lefty even partially visible. Perhaps it’s just as well. She would indignantly deny being a “fellow”.)

Who’s Keeping Watch?

Yes, the turkeys are still hanging around the neighborhood. If decades of Thanksgivings haven’t scared them off, a few coyotes aren’t going to do the trick.

And besides, there’s safety in numbers. That is, after all, why birds flock and herbivores herd.

And the turkeys have it down to a science: we’ll often see a few birds hanging out away from the main flock, keeping watch. Human miscreants do the same thing, assigning a member of the group to keep an eye out for the authorities while the rest of them get on with their anti-social activities.

That made this seem like just another day in the neighborhood.
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Until I looked again.
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No sign of the rest of the flock. No other lookouts.

This lone turkey seems awfully well positioned to watch our house. Was he casing the joint in preparation for a future prank? We have had mass turkey landings on the roof before (they’re not graceful fliers or landers; it sounds like a box of bowling balls being dropped on the shingles). And Halloween is coming: the traditional time for tricks.

Still, the bird was on public ground–or, more precisely, public tree–so it’s not like I could chase him away.

And it’s probably just as well I didn’t, because a little later, I found this charming little scene.
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That’s Watanuki, head of our internal security force, trying out a new role as an in-home recycling adviser.

I’m still not sure if ‘Nuki is having a mid-life crisis and trying out a new career or if he’s just bored and looking for new challenges.

But either way, it seems he’s more responsible than we thought. During this time of transition, he’s obviously contracted with the turkeys to keep a skywatch on the house.

Now that’s security done right.

Back to Normal

And after last week’s digression, here we are again, back with the usual crew.

Maggie took a short business trip earlier this week. She didn’t pack until the last minute, so ‘Nuki didn’t have a chance to hang out on his favorite temporary perch.

When she got back, he was taking no chances on missing out again. Less than five minutes after she walked in the door…
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Moving on.

Lefty and Rufus are big on togetherness–though Rufus does sometimes seem a bit relieved when Lefty goes exploring around the house. Most of the time, though, they can be found in tandem.

Naturally, the usual dynamic is that Lefty keeps watch while Rufus sleeps. Wouldn’t do for a hoomin to sneak up and pat his buddy, after all…
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Inconvenient Sleepers

My apologies for the late post. I’m blaming it on the schedule change, so it’ll probably happen occasionally until I settle into the new Wednesday/Friday reality.

It’s a well-known fact that cats cannot sleep unless they’re in a location that inconveniences a human.

Rhubarb is a master of the technique.
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My pillow is a comfy perch, but the fact that it’s my pillow is what makes it possible for him to sleep so soundly.

Yuki hasn’t attained Rhubarb’s level of mastery, but he makes up for it with creativity.

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Not only has he blocked access to the entire width of Maggie’s pillow, but he’s done it in a way that emphasizes his cuteness. Who could bear to disturb him? Well, anybody who finds the chance to rub a fuzzy kitty tummy irresistible. But that’s fine with Yuki. He’ll enjoy the cuddles and then go back to sleep. Win/win!

Parenthetically, Rhubarb doesn’t believe he knows all there is to be known about inconvenient sleeping. He’ll steal a good trick from time to time.

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Which doesn’t mean he fully masters the techniques on his first attempt. Maggie’s pillow? Check. Full length? Check. Inverted and asleep? Oops.

Our household Grand Master of Inconvenient Sleeping, however, is ‘Nuki.

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That rug scrap hadn’t been in the house for more than a day before he proclaimed it his favorite sleeping spot. It’s got a comfy deep pile, sunlight for most of the afternoon, and a convenient water bowl.

But its main attraction is that it’s directly in front of the kitchen sink. Now that’s inconvenience! ‘Nuki sleeps more deeply there than anywhere else–I’d never have gotten a shot of him with both eyes closed on a mere pillow.

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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