Sidewalk Supervisor

We’re well into an ongoing project to clean out the garage because, well, reasons. It’s going well, and we’re finding some amazing stuff. Things we’d totally forgotten we owned or have been saying “where the heck did we put…” about.

To give us room to work, we’ve been moving the car out and leaving the door open. Which means we get some curious looks from the neighbors.

And an occasional supervisor.

Tuxie seems very interested in the process, no matter how often we point out that the garage is not and will not be his turf.

He’s not impressed with that argument.

His attitude seems to be “If I can see it, I ownz it.”

We’re bribing him with extra krunchiez to leave–we don’t want him settling down in a box and getting trapped, after all–and so far it’s working.

So far.

Lounging About

Well, it took more than half a year, but someone has finally decided the roof of Cape Odd is a good lounging spot.

Yes, Tuxie has adopted it with great enthusiasm. Perhaps too great. It’s been rainy lately, but he’s still sprawling on the roof most afternoons. I’m not sure whether it’s a sign that he’s a couple of leaves short of a catnip plant, or a clever ploy to keep his paws out of the mud.

Mind you, he could go inside and stay dry without going any further away from the food bowl. But that’s Tuxie.

That was not an easy picture to take, by the way. Sachiko was in full-on “Look at me!” mode.

The second anniversary of her abdoption is rapidly approaching, making her the equivalent of a human teenager, but she still frequently behaves more like a young child.

At least we don’t have to worry about her dating.

Holiday Photos

Thanksgiving is, or should be, among other things, a time to share with those less fortunate. This year, we elected to give something a little special to the Backyard Bunch. Several things, actually.

First, while preparing our turkey, we donated the bird’s liver to the gang. Surprisingly, the cats don’t seem to care much for liver. The raccoons and possums, however, appear quite fond of it. Enjoy!

We also saw that MM was after a bird of her own, though she is sensible enough not to try for a turkey. She had a couple of unsuccessful stalks, but did manage to bring down one unwary avian.
27-2 Apparently it was more feather than meat, as she gave up on the idea of eating it after partially plucking it.

So instead of the usual bowls of cheap kitty krunchies*, they got cans of gooshy fud. Turkey, of course.

* Costco’s house brand, actually. Unlike many of the low-priced foods, it actually has meat as the major ingredient. Obligate carnivores, remember. Their fuzzy little tummies don’t do well on a diet of rice or corn.

As usual, they queued up in an orderly fashion to enter the yard when we approached.
27-1 For local values of “orderly”.

MM was a bit skittish. She, even more than most cats, takes comfort in a set routine, and not only did we both go out with the food instead of just one of us, but we also went out somewhat earlier than usual.

But once the food was in the bowls and we left the yard, everyone settled in for their Thanksgiving turkey.

I’m particularly taken by the sight of MM and GT sitting butt-to-butt, tails almost entwined as they nommed away, so here’s a closer look.

And, in the interest of equal broadcast time, a closer look at Tuxie with his face buried in his bowl.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as peaceful and pleasant as ours.

The Amazing Color Changing Cat

Hurry, hurry, step right this way! See the Amazing Color Changing Cat!

Tuxie is a feline of many talents. One of his most impressive tricks is his ability to change color. It’s not a unique skill: many Siamese lighten and darken as the ambient temperature changes.

But Tuxie takes the whole process to impressive levels, especially considering that he’s not a meezer.

Check it out. Here’s what he looked like in February.
05 - ccc1

And here’s a similar shot from last night.
05 - ccc2

Impressive, isn’t it?

Yes, some of the difference has to do with the amount of light shining on him, but not all. Not by a long shot. Note how much more pronounced the stripes on his tail are in the second picture–to say nothing of the stripes on his side. As for the back of his neck, it’s hard to believe it’s the same cat. (It is.)

What’s behind the shift? Some of it is clearly age-related. It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but in person it’s clear that much of the difference on his face and neck is the due to the appearance of gray hairs.

Some of the difference may be due to the temperature. But that seems unlikely to be a major contributor: the average temperature in May was less than ten degrees higher than in February. And he’s not spending any more time sunbathing now than he did then.

I think the answer is that Tuxie just got bored with his old look, and decided to try something new. If he shows up next month sporting green and purple polka-dots, I won’t be a bit surprised.

Meet the Neighbors 14

I’m sure it’s no surprise that the feline politics continue apace in our backyard.

More often than not, all three of the regulars show up early and wait for us to bring the Kitty Krunchies out.

ff2ff3Tuxie and Grey Tabby have become quite friendly with us. They’re quite willing to delay the food for a few minutes while we scratch behind their ears. GT has even been known to roll over and ask us to rub his tummy.

Meezer Mommy, however, is exceedingly unhappy whenever there’s a delay in the krunchie delivery. Any halt, even a brief pause to avoid tripping over one of the boys, provokes her to a storm of verbal abuse. Yes, she’s become quite the little chatterbox, demanding that we fill the bowls and get the hell out of her yard. She’s even hissed at me a couple of times when I haven’t moved fast enough.

Needless to say, her attitude–and her apparent belief that all three bowls are for her–doesn’t sit well with the boys. There isn’t much they can do, though. She hisses, growls, and swats at them. Not ladylike pats, either. Full force, claws extended swats. GT is terrorized to the point that he sometimes won’t come into the yard until she leaves.

Interestingly, despite his earlier timidity, Tuxie stands up to MM much better than his colleague. He gets his share of swats, but his normal response is to stroll across the yard to a different bowl.

We hope Meezer Mommy will eventually figure out that there’s always more food than she can eat herself and lighten up a bit. I know, I know. But if we don’t have our dreams, what do we have?

Trick or Treat! Lick My Feet! Give Me Something Good To Eat!

Happy Halloween!

Can you imagine our surprise and delight when this crew of junior trick-or-treaters showed up last Sunday?

Now we know why Meezer Girl has been gobbling so much of the kitty krunchies. Added bonus: we can set aside any question of whether “Girl” is appropriate in her name–although for obvious reasons, we’ve renamed her Meezer Mommy.

We don’t know if Faux Tux is the (or even a) daddy, although I’d swear he’s concealing a blush under his fur in that photo. Certainly the evidence of the kids’ markings suggests that he was involved in some capacity.

I think Meezer Mommy was a bit embarrassed about getting the date wrong. She showed up very late for Monday’s feeding–without the kids–and, which she showed up on time Tuesday, she left the kids home again.

She didn’t let embarrassment spoil their Sunday, however. They hung around most of the afternoon, including taking nap time in the sunlight. I think we startled Little Black when we walked through the yard. Not enough to bother getting up from his nest in the abandoned fountain, but enough to get us a bleary-eyed once-over.

And Meezer Mommy did bring the kids along Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, the little gray guy hasn’t been seen since Sunday. We fear foul play–or, given the number of raptors in this area, perhaps fowl play. We’ll put out a Día de Muertos offering for him/her tomorrow.

Black cats have an unfortunate reputation, and it’s never more awkward than this time of year. If Meezer Mommy brings Little Black and Tiny Tux out again today, we hope she’ll make them wear costumes that hide most of their fur.

Of course, if they’re in costume, we might not recognize them. Since chocolate is bad for cats, we’ve decided to play it safe. We will not give out candy to trick-or-treaters this year. Instead, all costumed extortionists, regardless of size and apparent lack of fur, will get Fun Size packages of Kitten Chow. Hopefully Zillow will appreciate the lengths we’re willing to go to in protecting our neighbors’ health.

PS: Yes, we’re aware of various TNR organizations in our area. We’re already discussing our options and responsibilities. I’d prefer not to have that discussion in the comments. Thanks!

Meet the Neighbors 13

We continue to have problems with Meezer Girl slapping Faux Tux away from the food bowl so she can gobble down all of the krunchies.

Fortunately, Tuxie and GT have decided that Maggie and I are sufficiently safe bipeds that they no longer flee our presence, and are quite willing to eat with us standing nearby. Filling the water bowl can be a bit of an adventure: one of the bowls sits near the hose, and we often have to uncoil the hose from under GT’s paws.

In fact, they’re so happy to have a regular source of food that they rub against our legs when we come down to fill the bowls.

Meezer Girl, however, still wants nothing to do with us. So we’ve started waiting near the bowls while GT and Tuxie eat. Meezer Girl keeps her distance.

Of course, that just means she needs to resort to distance weapons to encourage us to go away and let her take the bowl away from Tuxie.

I’m happy to report that when she’s hungry, her eye lasers don’t have enough power to do more than singe our pant cuffs.

Meet the Neighbors 12

Early in July, I mentioned that the ongoing power struggle between Grey Tabby and Meezer Girl was forcing Faux Tux to the end of the line at the backyard bowl.

Meezer Girl has clearly won the war–well, clearly to everyone except Grey Tabby, but even he’s starting to get a glimmer of the truth–but the problem continues. The combatants have continued to block each other from the bowl, and poor Faux Tux has been caught in the fallout.

mb2So we tried putting out a second bowl. Same amount of food, just spread out more. The result was predictable.

Fortunately, the bowls are far enough apart that Faux Tux can sneak up to one when the superpowers are squabbling over the other.

mb3Sometimes Meezer Girl doesn’t show up immediately after we put the food out and Faux Tux can eat as much as he wants.

But that doesn’t happen often. We can’t keep multiplying bowls indefinitely, and Faux Tux is so unassertive that even putting out a third bowl might not get him regular munchies. We don’t really have an obligation to feed him, but we do feel a certain amount of responsibility and we worry about him.

So far, our best tactic has been aerial bombardment with treats. We toss them out the window and lure the Big Two away from the bowls. While they’re distracted, Faux Tux sometimes goes to a bowl. More often, though, he joins the chase for the treats. Sigh.