Enthusiasm Is a Variable Quantity

The cats got their Christmas present a couple of days early.

As one would expect, reactions are mixed. Nor, for that matter, has everyone expressed an opinion. But early returns are encouraging.

Yuki is neutral. He knows it’s there, but hasn’t shown much interest.

Watanuki, on the other forepaw, is enthusiastic.

Very enthusiastic.

Lefty is interested. Cautiously interested.

Especially cautious with Mr. Knuckles watching him. Lefty needs a certain amount of reassurance that he’s allowed to use it.

However, there’s no question about who’s most enthralled by the new playground. That’s Sachiko, paws–and all other body parts–down.

Well, okay, toe beans up, even if the other parts are down. But it’s hard to beat a twenty-beans-up rating.

Kaja, Reflective

Back in the day, Kaja was our little otter girl, going everywhere she shouldn’ta-otter.

These days, well, she’s slower and more inclined to reflection.

Granted, in her case, “more inclined” doesn’t mean a whole lot. When you’re starting from zero, anything is “more”.

But she’s not the svelte go-getter she once was. And she’s got her fleece-lined nest. Especially in the cold months, she just doesn’t see the benefit of getting up and going.

Well, except to the litter box and the food bowl. Those are at least as important as her nest.

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.

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.

Sitting Handsome

Lefty has a new hangout.

He’s discovered…

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The Condo at the End of the Hall (bum-bum-bummmmmm)

Joking aside, it’s interesting that he’s hanging out there.

That level of the condo has an outside view, but I’ve never seen him facing that way.

The view the house isn’t significantly different than what can be seen from The Cat Carrier at the End of the Hall (which is just barely visible at the lower right of the picture), and the condo offers far less shelter.

The Condo isn’t particularly padded. The Carrier has a cushion, which should make it considerably comfier.

And yet Lefty’s been sitting in the condo lately.

I’d think it’s because he knows how well the white fake fur sets off his coloration, but Lefty is still rather camera shy–I’m amazed he held still long enough for me to get this picture.

The mystery may never be solved–but I’m okay with that. We all need a few unsolved mysteries of no significance whatsoever in our lives to keep us from getting too complacent.

A Bad Fit

Lefty shares some of ‘Nuki’s size and shape issues.

Not that they have bad body images or anything like that. I’m talking about their ability to fold themselves comfortably into caves.

Lefty has been hanging out in a condo in my office lately. Mostly in. Over the past week or so, I’ve seen him leave a leg outside.

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A tail.

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And, on one memorable occasion, two paws and a tail.

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Kind of makes you wonder why he bothers with the condo at all, doesn’t it?

Dotty

A little while ago, I decided to introduce Lefty to the Little Red Dot. It didn’t go as expected.

He was definitely interested and made some tentative moves toward chasing it.

Then Sachiko showed up, and, well…

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Lefty was baffled by her performance and has studiously avoided the LRD since then.

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.

Continued Progress

Lefty continues to become more comfortable as a house cat.

He’ll occasionally indulge in some relaxed bonelessness.

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He always shows up at mealtimes to propose himself as the official can licker. To his credit, if the job goes to someone else, he’s content to sit nearby and wait for them to finish before checking the can for overlooked scraps. Would that the rest of the gang were so well-mannered!

When he takes up residence in one of the condos, it’s because he feels like it, not because he needs a hiding place.

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And he’s decided that hanging out on the bed with the rest of the gang is a darn good way to spend an evening.

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He even gets along with Watanuki. In fact, the only household member who refuses to associate with him is Sachiko. We’re not sure what’s behind her aversion to him. Perhaps it’s something to do with licking the gooshy fud fork: that used to be Sachiko’s exclusive job, but now Lefty gets to do it about half the time.

And, most impressively–but as yet unphotographed–he’s starting to come around to the idea that there might be something to the whole “patting” business.

He’s not enthusiastic, but he no longer takes a swipe at any hand that brushes against his back. He’s even been known to purr while being patted, at least for ten or fifteen seconds.

Progress has been slow, but have no doubt: he is making progress.