High Drama

The drama and excitement is non-stop around here, folks. Consider this scene Maggie captured a few days ago.

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Something has Yuki fascinated. So fascinated he hasn’t even noticed the stray hair on his nose. The stray hair that will shortly cause him to sneeze so violently that his tail, normally curled at the end, unwinds to lie straight for nearly four seconds!

But who’s that lurking in the background?

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Why, it’s Rhubarb, carefully disclaiming all knowledge of where that orange hair came from, much less how it found its way to Yuki’s nose…

Meanwhile, out in the backyard,

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MM continues to prove that Carroll’s Alice was a remarkably unobservant young lady.

They’re Here!

I didn’t remember ordering anything, but there the box was. Being no fool, I let the security detail check it out. Once they assured me there was nothing in it that required their attention (translation: no catnip), I opened it.
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Yup. Author’s copies of The RagTime Traveler arrived safely before the release date.

Naturally, I needed a couple of pictures for posterity.

Rhubarb and Yuki were properly awed.
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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.

Teamwork

So many of my posts only show one of the cats, you all must be getting a false impression. Yes, I’ve shown you several of them using each other as pillows, but beyond that, not much.

But they really do hang out together when they’re awake, too.
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Case in point.

Mid-afternoon. The mail had already been delivered, which meant there was no reason to hide in the closet, so several of them decided to sprawl on the stairs and watch the world go by.

That’s Sachiko on the lowest step, by the way.
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As you can see, she’s not nearly as relaxed as that first shot would suggest. Even when she does relax, she’s still usually on alert; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her sleeping, at least not so soundly that anything larger than a moth could sneak up on her.

Which is, of course, part of the reason she gets along so well with ‘Nuki, our self-appointed Chief of Security.
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Naturally, any time we open the sliding door, it calls for a two-member security team to ensure that nothing gets through the screen door. They’ll stay on duty for hours until we come to our senses and lock the house down again.

Such dedication! Such comradeship! Such gratuitous self-indulgence!

Feline Doings

GT is doing about as well as can be hoped. I haven’t take a lot of pictures of him, because I don’t want to subject him to the stress of bright, flashing lights.

But I thought he could handle one photo.
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Yeah, the poor guy has to wear the Cone o’ Shame for a while. He’s got a drain installed (carefully not included in the picture–you’re welcome) and it wouldn’t be good to have him scratching at it.

(No, we weren’t happy about how little space he had in the cage. A new, larger one arrived today and he’s got quite a bit more elbow room now.)

Not only does the cone prevent him from grooming himself–thus the unusually-mussed fur–but it also keeps him from getting his mouth close to a bowl of food on the floor. Wall-mounted bowls should arrive today, but for the past couple of days we’ve been helping him eat. Wednesday we spoon fed him. None of us enjoyed that. Since Thursday, we’ve been holding the bowl inside his cone.

And if you don’t believe that holding a bowl for a cat while he eats isn’t an exercise in patience, I suggest you go to your local zoo and watch them feed the big cats. A tiger will happily spend hours licking a slab of beef.

Fortunately for everyone, GT is determined to move the food from bowl to stomach as quickly as possible, but even so, licking is a slow transfer mechanism. Those wall-mount bowls can’t arrive fast enough!

If all goes well, he’ll have the drain removed on Sunday and, we’re hoping, he’ll be allowed to remove the cone at the same time.

He continues to be remarkably cooperative. He sits quietly, uncaged, for his twice-daily warm compress, and he didn’t squirm or wiggle when I picked him up to move him to the new cage. He’s not happy. As best we can tell, he’s alternating between grumpy and bored, but he’s bright enough to not make this experience any harder on himself than it has to be.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Yuki got wind* of the fact that the Giants have lost five straight games and six of their last ten. It seems he thought a show of support was in order.

* I assume he read it in the sports section of the newspaper. He certainly spends enough time sitting on the paper while I’m trying to read it, and we all know cats read with their butts.
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Note that the flattened ear has nothing to do with his disgust at the Giants’ performance. It’s a combination of the feline equivalent of “helmet hair” and dismay at the number of typos and grammatical goofs in the magazine he’s reading.

At any rate, Yuki prevailed on ‘Nuki to join him in supporting the Giants.
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I think the theory is that if┬áthe players see the look on ‘Nuki’s face, they’ll be too terrorized to lose again.

Their effort is admirable. Too bad the boys are wearing San Jose Giants caps.

Exercise

Exercise is important, certainly.

And we provide the cats with a variety of toys to encourage them to romp and frolic.
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Yes, a variety. It’s not all balls, really.
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But, to update an old saying, you can lead a cat to exercise, but you can’t make him work out.
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We’ve learned that some days the most exercise you can convince them to get is shaking a ball free when it gets snagged on a claw.
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It may not be much in the way of caloric expenditure, but at least it teaches a valuable lesson in claw control.

Spill!

We had an industrial accident yesterday.
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A chemical spill. Kitty Krunchiez all over the kitchen floor.

This isn’t the first time that’s happened; we keep an Environmental Protection Agency crew on speed dial for just this sort of emergency.

To be strictly honest, the team are subcontractors–Ooki Brothers Security won the bid. And they’re good at what they do. The first responder–‘Nuki–arrived on the scene almost before the last kernel hit the floor.

I think he was startled by the extent of the spill. A half-dozen kernels is much more typical.

But after taking a moment to assess the damage, he dived in and started clean-up operations. A few seconds later, the junior trainee arrived and lent a paw.
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Or, more precisely, a set of fangs.

Even with the two of them on the job, they still seemed a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately, the third member of the squad showed up as well.
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And with the three of them working together, the spill was quickly contained. In fact, I think that part of the floor is the cleanest it’s been since we moved in.

Togetherness

We’ve been having an unusual amount of feline togetherness lately.

Last week, we had both of the Tuxedoed Terrors snoozing on the bed, mere body-lengths apart.
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Earlier this week, I found quite the cute trio on the bed.
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Not only do we have Rhubarb doing his namesake pose and Kokoro doing the devastatingly sweet “paw over the nose” routine, but we’ve even got Yuki doing “curled forepaws in the air.”

And then, just a couple of days ago, there was this scene of brotherly love.
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Despite what it looks like at first, this is not an outtake from a WWF bout or MMA steel cage match.

It’s more in the nature of snuggling an especially floofy, exceedingly wiggly stuffed animal.
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See?

You’re not buying it, are you?

Pillows

I’m continuing the theme of last Friday’s post (cats on the bed) today.

We’ve had a rash of semi-willing snuggles lately.

19-0My apologies for the odd colors on this one. Black cats, smartphone cameras, and low light make for photos that need a lot of manipulation to be intelligible. But it’s an interesting threesome. In the foreground, Rhubarb is apparently trying to warm his front paws by tucking them into Yuki’s fur. Meanwhile, Sachiko has fallen asleep with her head nicely pillowed on Yuki’s tail.

Normally, Yuki would be chasing Rhubarb up and down the stairs while Sachiko ran after them both, trying to sink a tooth or two into Yuki’s neck. I conclude that this episode was shortly after a bout of exercise.

And then there’s this peaceful scene.

19-1Watanuki has himself a very snuggly pillow. Just look at his blissed-out expression! Granted, Kokoro doesn’t seem very pleased about the situation; after all, ‘Nuki has been trying to assert his dominance over the rest of the crew lately. This is clearly just another ploy in his ongoing campaign. But she’s grudgingly willing to put up with it, since at least this approach doesn’t involve teeth and claws.

Check It Out

Here’s something we don’t see every day:
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Yes, that’s Rhubarb, Kokoro, and Sachiko all snuggled together on the bed. There is a fold of blanket between Sachiko and her older siblings, but just getting them all on the bed peacefully is a rare event. Having them that close together with no politics is unheard of.

What’s even more unusual, however, is what happened a few minutes later. Allow me a moment to reposition the camera…there:
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Five, count ’em, five flaked-out felines sharing a bed. Kokoro has moved away from her annoying little sister, Yuki is a black blob in the far corner, and ‘Nuki has, as usual, commandeered one entire side of the bed, but they are still sharing it.

Enjoy the scene, folks, this may be the only time it happens all year.