Happy A Day Early

Sure, Halloween is going to be a bit weird this year. But then, why should it be any different than anything else that’s happened in the last seven or eight months?

And, yes, of course trick or treating is off the table–which hasn’t stopped anyone I know from buying candy.

But none of that means we can’t celebrate the occasion.

Maggie has been working with some of the cats, convincing them to get into the spirit of things.

Kaja is onboard.

Barely.

Rhubarb is Rhubarb. As long as it requires no effort on his part and there’s no pain, he’ll go along with the gag.

And Kokoro is up for any outfit that sets off her eyes.

Doesn’t mean she won’t attack us in our sleep in revenge, but sometimes one has to take one’s chances.

Two Takes

On one paw, we’ve got MM.

She’s getting more comfortable around bipeds. She’ll take a treat from Maggie’s fingers–as long as nothing but her fingertips come into the cage. She allows me to put her food bowls in the cage without retreating into her Condo of Safety–as long as I don’t make any sudden motions.

And she’s mostly okay with us admiring her and taking pictures, even with the cage door open. Granted the shot above was taken with a bit of zoom, but I was right outside the open door, and her glare has more to do with my interruption of a grooming session than my proximity.

And then there’s Watanuki.

A charming pose–though it’s probably a trap intended to lure an unwary bystander into rubbing his tummy so ‘Nuki can savage their hand.

But those cute little vampire fangs are just too adorable not to memorialize.

More Baby Pictures

I had fun last week poking through Sachiko’s old pictures, so for no better reason than that I felt like it, here are a few goodies from the Kaja and Rhubarb Archive.

These photos predate the blog. The Flying Monkeys were about four years old when I started this writing gig, so I don’t believe any of these have been published before. (Don’t feel obligated to prove me wrong. I admit the possibility exists; there’s no need to confirm or refute it.)

Even today, the littermates are largely inseparable. At the age of four months, it was rare to see them more than a few feet apart.

Kaja was the leader–still is–but Rhubarb was an enthusiastic follower for the first couple of years of their lives. He got sedate faster than she did, but throughout kittenhood and cattenhood, he almost always shared her adventures.

Almost.

Not to cast aspersions on Kaja, but her curiosity and lack of forethought did land her in a few predicaments that her brother managed to avoid–though whether it was through intelligence, caution, or simple luck I’m not prepared to guess.

Happy–Ooh, Shiny!

I had plans for today’s post. Really, I did. Unfortunately, distractability kicked me in the rear, as it has so often these past few months.

So, instead of the elaborate disquisition I had planned, you get a quick “Then/Now” post. Well, it is–as best we can tell–more or less her birthday.

Sachiko at age (approximately) three months:

In constant motion, fierce to defend her toys, but always eager for a cuddle.

Sachiko at age (approximately) six years:

No longer a model of hyperjettic behavior, much more willing to share toys, and considerably more rotund, but still an enthusiastic snuggler.

Happy Approximate Birthday, oh Pampered Princess Pointy-Bits.

Sound Off!

The weird lighting and rapidly changing temperatures have everyone in the household a bit unbalanced and prone to hiding in caves and/or under the covers*. The result is a notable lack of entertainingly cute pictures this week.

* I include the two-legged inhabitants in that assessment.

So, instead, how about a Rogues’ Gallery of all of the quadrupeds with a minimum of commentary?

In order of increasing seniority:

MM

Lefty

Sachiko

The Ookis came into the house at the same time, but ‘Nuki is clearly the senior of the two.
Yuki

Watanuki (three months older and far more dominant than his shelter-brother)

The Flying Monkeys don’t fly as much as they used to when they were kittens. But again, Kaja is the obvious senior.
Rhubarb

Kaja (a born leader and much more aggressive than her littermate)

And the grande dame, Ms. Kokoro

Everchanging

Sachiko and Watanuki have a peculiarly inconsistent relationship. Sometimes he’s her idol, sometimes her best friend, and sometimes beneath her notice.

Simultaneously, but not synchronously, she’s his favored companion and security consultant, sometimes his chief rival, and sometimes his best chew-toy.

The constantly changing combinations can be dizzying.

Take, for example, the other night. The Tuxedoed Terrors were sitting together at the foot of the bed. Suddenly, ‘Nuki began washing Sachiko’s ears.

By the time I was able to reach the headboard and grab my phone, he was affecting boredom while she washed his ears.

And then, by the time I adjusted the flash settings in hope of getting a better shot, Sachiko had been demoted to “Evil Villain Who Must Be Gnawed Into Submission” and ‘Nuki had been laterally transferred to “I’m Getting Away From Him Before He Eats My Throat”.

I believe Sachiko bounced off of three different walls and the ceiling in making her escape.

Watanuki turned, sprawled across my ankles, and dared me to move.

I knew better.

Another Style

Coincidentally*, at just about the same time last Friday’s post on feline land-ownership styles went live, MM declared herself the owner of the room which she previously shared with Lefty.

* Or perhaps it’s no coincidence at all. There is a computer with unrestricted Internet access in that room. I may need to check the browser history.

The key word in that sentence is, of course, “previously”. MM’s style appears to be both autocratic and intolerant. She rules with a set of iron claws and doesn’t bother hiding them in a velvet mitt.

The immediate result of her declaration was Lefty pounding on the door and demanding to be let out. He has refused to return to the room since then, even though MM retreated to the cage and demanded that we lock her in.

MM, it should be noted, appears to exhibit a certain amount bipolar behavior. Her explorations of the room were during an “up” period, during which she’s curious, calm, and almost charming. Her declaration of ownership and subsequent retreat to her stronghold are typical of the other pole.

In any case, since Lefty won’t go into the library–in fact, he won’t even go upstairs–no matter what treats we offer, he has necessarily become a citizen of the house. There’s a learning curve: he’s still working on the concept that there’s nothing to stop Sachiko from stealing his dinner if he doesn’t eat when it’s served, and he’s still not sure about his right to sit on the dining room chairs (he’s allowed, as long as ‘Nuki doesn’t get there first.)

It’s been less than a week, but he’s seeming more comfortable downstairs than he had been before the change. He’s beginning to request patting and neck scratching. And he’s trying out new experiences.

That has a learning curve as well. His early attempts at condo living all resulted in a dangling tail.

Many had dangling paws as well.

He’s been working on it, though, and has several times succeeded in getting his entire body inside.

As for MM, she is, for now, content to remain in the cage. Since that room is one of the hottest in the house, especially in our current heat wave, we’re willing to let her stay caged and leave the door of the room open for air circulation.

We’ll revisit the situation in a week or two, when temperatures and tempers go down. For now, though, MM is happy in a grumpy sort of way, Lefty is happy in a cautious kind of way, and we’re happy in a no-thud-thud-thud-yowl-thud-hiss-yowl-in-the-middle-of-the-night way.

It’s a Question of Style

Kaja has laid claim to Maggie’s office. She spends much of her time surveying her domain from the highest available spot.

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She brooks no trespass on her domain. Anyone attempting to join her on the shelf is soundly cuffed, and non-resident felines entering the room are resoundingly cussed.

By contrast, Watanuki rules a much smaller territory. The foot of the bed is his and he only grudgingly shares it with bipeds.

As for other felines, one can tell how much favor they’re in by how close he allows them to settle.

For example, he’s generally on good terms with Sachiko, and they frequently hang out near the kitchen window together. But when it comes to the bed…

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Enough said.

Yuki, however, is another matter. ‘Nuki isn’t much of a snuggler, at least with other cats–he’s a master drooler upon biped legs–but he’ll generally make an exception for Yuki.

They’ve been together since late kittenhood, and the Knucklehead watches out for his less agile brother.

Cuddles are common.

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Chillin’

My apologies for the late and short post. Blame the virus for detaching us all from the concept of linear time. (Translation: I forgot what day it was and by the time I remembered, it was too late to put something together.)

I’ll shoot to have something more substantial next Friday, but for now, enjoy this infrared shot of Lefty and MM hanging out last night.

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MM is definitely more nocturnal than the rest of the crew, including Lefty. She’ll come out of the cage and explore the room at night, but once the sun comes up, she returns to the comfort of her caves–the condo and the milk crate–to sleep until dinnertime.

It will be interesting to see if her schedule changes once we start allowing her to roam the rest of the house.

Home Turf

There are at least four deer in our neighborhood.

A few days ago, a small family group–Mom and two spotted* kids–came by. They ambled up the side of the house toward the street. A few seconds later, I heard a car drive by and all three deer came running back down the side of the house and around the corner of the fence.

* Pun intended. Their hides were spotty and I did spot them. Not sorry.

Less than two minutes later, this one showed up.

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We’re calling her “Where’d Everybody Go Dude”, because she looked all around the area, clearly expecting somebody to turn up and hang out.

When nobody put in an appearance, she decided on a solitary breakfast.

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I left her to her meal and went to prepare my own. And then I heard fowl language. (Sorry.)

Sure enough.

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I got to the window just in time to see one of the Turkey Gang peck Where’d Everybody Go Dude’s hind leg, chasing her from the scene.

With the evil intruder vanquished, the newest members were allowed to come out and familiarize themselves with the gang’s turf.

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The lion may lie down with the lamb, but there’s no sign of impending peace between the poult and the fawn.