Steps in the Right Direction

Lefty is continuing to settle in to his new life. He’s increasingly comfortable around the humans–he even occasionally accepts a patting (he especially enjoys having his neck scratched).

It’s obvious he misses Rufus at least as much as we do. He’s trying to fill the void by cuddling up to the other cats, especially Yuki.

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We’re not sure if Yuki is just more tolerant of Lefty’s attentions, or if it’s a case of “black cats stick together”. Yuki has missed spending time with Rhubarb lately, so he may be predisposed to hang out with whoever wants to spend time with him. Or it may just be that his mobility issues make it harder for him to get away when Lefty hits him with a full-body head bump.

Regardless, they are spending a fair amount of time together. Though that pose is a little unusual: Lefty is usually the one wrapping himself around/across Yuki, but there is a lot of mutual grooming and reciprocal pillowing.

Lefty has also discovered the kitchen window.

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He’s got a fascinating chitter when prey appears outside. It sounds mechanical; combined with the way his head and tail twitch, he almost seems like a feline bobblehead.

He hasn’t joined Ooki Brothers Security. It’s clear that ‘Nuki doesn’t yet trust Lefty to keep proper watch, and has been known to chase him away from the window when he comes on duty.

But, surprisingly, they do manage to spend some time in relatively peaceful coexistence.

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Admittedly, having a barrier between them helps the relationship–and Lefty wasn’t as deeply asleep as this picture suggests.

It’s definite progress, though, and we’re pleased to see it.

Not to Plan

This past week has not gone according to plan.

As some of you know, Yuki has hip and knee problems. Always has. He wobbles when he walks, has trouble with corners, and has his own unique style of movement–very Ministry of Silly Walks at times.

He’s never been so bad off as to need surgery; instead we’ve been giving him glucosamine and other joint-friendly compounds. However, recently he’s been wobblier than usual, and last Friday it was obvious he was having serious difficulty managing his hind legs.

So we took him to the vet.

Of course he took the trip in his usual phlegmatic style. Which is to say, not at all. He complained all the way there. He complained while we were sitting in the waiting room. He complained while being examined by the vet tech.

He finally shut up when he was allowed to take up residence on the floor. In a corner. Under a chair.

Once there, he settled down and displayed great dignity.
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That lasted until Round Two, when the doctor came in, at which point the complaints resumed. They continued until well after we got him home.

Based on the X-rays, there doesn’t seem to be any significant decay in his joints. We’re hoping his current problems are a simple strain, rather than a spinal issue.

He’s currently on a two or three week regimen of painkillers, prescription-strength joint-support medications, and “don’t let him jump or go down stairs.”

This has been a major hardship for Yuki, given his preference for spending most of the day on our bed–a significant leap–with occasional forays out to the staircase to hang out in the center of whatever action is going on.

The first couple of days were especially bad for everyone: we had to confine him to the master bathroom. He complained incessantly, and we were sorely tempted to do likewise.

He’s now in a multi-crate cage in the living room. That’s much better all around. He can maneuver more easily on the carpeted floor, the other cats can–and do–visit, and we can give him pettings without worrying about him making a dash for the bed.

He’s alternating between goofy flop-on-his-back-and-wave-his-paws-around, as a request for tummy rubs
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and giving us the Big, Reproachful Yellow Eyes of Doom.
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It’s still too early to be sure, but I think he’s doing better. He seems a little more stable, and his complaints have more to do with his usual belief that we’re not feeding him enough or in a timely fashion than they do with excessive pain.

Cautious optimism, in other words. But please keep a paw or two crossed on his behalf.

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”.)

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.

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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Fellowship

As we’ve seen, Rhubarb and Yuki often hang out together. Our bed is their usual venue, so Yuki can use Rhubarb as his pillow.

But, since we’ve started giving Lefty and Rufus the run of the upstairs hall, the Bed Boys have made a point of keeping an eye out.

No more bed–but they do stay in touch.
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Yuki must have the best-rested tail in town with a comfy mattress like that.