Relativistic Vibrissae

Is it just me, or do Watanuki’s whiskers appear to have been designed by M. C. Escher?

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(For the best effect, display the picture full-screen and position your nose approximately three inches from your monitor. That’s the view ‘Nuki prefers to give me when I’m trying to go to sleep.)

Relax!

Want to see something amazing? Check this out:

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Yes, that’s Lefty. Asleep. I actually got close enough to take the picture without waking him up!

Admittedly, I did use the phone’s zoom lens, so I wasn’t quite as close as the picture might suggest.

But even so, the fact that I was able to get that close without putting him on high alert is astounding.

Want to see something even more amazing? Sure you do!

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Left to right, that’s Rhubarb, ‘Nuki, Lefty, and Yuki.

I think it’s safe to say that Lefty is now one of the gang.

But the impressive part is that they’re sharing a bed, all asleep.

This is an event of earth-shaking magnitude, probably on a par with total solar eclipses for rarity.

Okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole.

But it’s nice to see Lefty fitting in and learning to take the presence of bipeds–even bipeds with cameras–as nothing to stress out about.

Kitteh Parteh

Whenever we walk into the kitchen, felines gather in hope of a kitteh parteh. The big rush is in the morning, since that’s when we’re most likely to distribute random treats, but even in the evening, the odds are good that somebody will come in with us.

A typical morning looks like this:
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(Sachiko was a bit late to this particular party, though she did make it before all the goodies were gone.)

The regulars have learned the fine art of prairie-catting.
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Yuki’s hind legs aren’t up to the challenge, but he does stretch his neck upward in a giraffe pose.

‘Nuki is a good prairie-catter, and Sachiko is no slouch either (sorry).
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Lefty is deeply suspicious of the concept. He still insists on receiving his treats with all four feet on the ground as the Ur-Cat intended.
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(That shot makes the kitteh parteh look quite placid and polite. Don’t be fooled: there’s quite a lot of pushing and shoving and demanding of attention. All of which, by the way, Lefty is showing great talent for. He’s got a unique head-bump that involves his full body, and which has been known to send smaller cats flying across the room.)

The true champion of the prairie-catters, however, is Rhubarb, paws up.
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I’m fairly sure that by this time next year, he’ll be levitating to gain extra inches on his competition.

Did You Expect Anything Else?

Even though the iPhone is supplied by and intended for work, there’s nothing that says I can’t use it for my own fell purposes.

It’s been functional for about thirty-six hours at this point. Can you believe I’ve only taken thirty photos of the cats in that time?

I’m still experimenting with the functionality, so I’ll spare you the worst of the blurry*, overly dark, poorly framed, and redundant shots.

* I can already tell I’m going to have a hate/hate relationship with Live Photos. Once I get some basic familiarity with that feature, I’m probably going to turn it off.

Here, forthwith, my first halfway worthwhile iPhone 11 Pro cat photos.

Sachiko, enjoying an evening snooze behind the heat vent in the dining room.
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Modern technology is impressive. We’ve upgraded the staircase to support up to four feline channels, and the amount of fur it collects is just amazing!
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Lefty won’t get on the bed unless there’s already at least one cat present. Yuki seems to be his favorite bed partner at the moment; it’ll be interesting to see what happens if Yuki tries to use Lefty as a pillow, the way he does with Rhubarb.
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Rufus and Lefty hanging out in my entirely-too-cluttered office. The vertical black blob in the middle of the screen is a stuffed octopus; Lefty is the vertical black blob behind the eight-legged critter.
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And, finally, my favorite shot of the batch. Kokoro was sitting on my lap when I took this one. I’m amazed at how well it came out, given the short range. I’m even more amazed that she didn’t stick her muzzle into the camera lens as is her usual mode of operation.
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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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