That’s How They Make Diamonds

A quick note on yesterday’s Mariners’ game: apparently the kid, better known as Andrew Moore, doesn’t have a problem with pressure. Seven innings, six hits, three runs, four strikeouts, and no walks. Not bad. Not bad at all. Welcome to the big leagues.

Not so much so for Max Povse who also made his MLB debut last night, coming on in relief for Moore: two-thirds of an inning, four hits, three runs, one strikeout. At least he didn’t walk anyone either. Hopefully he’s got that out of his system and he’ll settle down in his next appearance.

Anyway, the Ms are a game over .500 for the first time this season, in sole possession of second place in the AL West–12.5 games behind Houston.

The Mariners had excellent baseball weather. Really. IMNSO, a high in the low seventies and clear skies is just about perfect.

It wasn’t that nice here. Our high was 99. That was outside. Inside, upstairs where I hang out–because that’s where my computer is–it was hotter.

You know who else hangs out upstairs? Rufus.

Do you know what happens to cats when it’s hot?

Their bones turn into jelly, and you wind up with furry puddles of feline scattered around the floor.

Rufus, he’s no dummy. He found a spot directly in front of the air conditioner, and he spent the day like this:
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Yes, I made sure he was breathing before I took the picture. Just to be certain.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler. I can’t wait.

Neither can Rufus.

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.

Hard Luck Lady

Poor Sachiko’s had a rough time of it lately.

In recent weeks, she’s been assaulted by the vicious spinning thing…
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Pummeled by the evil pile of boxes…
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And eaten alive by the the dreadful green monster.
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Fortunately, as the smallest cat in the house, she’s well-practiced in being put-upon. She’s kept it all in perspective.
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A short nap later, no more than three or four hours long, she emerged from the belly of the beast, none the worse for the experience, and ready to face whatever fresh disasters the world has in store for her.

Quota

One of the main reasons why the ASPCA and other animal welfare groups recommend Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) over euthanasia in reducing feral feline populations is that feral colonies are rarely isolated.

As with any wild animals, population will increase to roughly that of the environment’s carrying capacity. Removing cats from the colony, rather than fixing and returning them, simply lowers the population to the point where the local habitat has a surplus of resources. And then cats from surrounding areas will typically move in, and the population will rise back to the local maximum.

Since we’ve adopted Rufus, we’ve begun to see this phenomenon playing out.

Meet Bunter.
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Maggie named him, not for his prowess in wielding a bat, but for the character in Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey stories. As Wikipedia puts it, “Bunter conveys an air of awesome solemn dignity lightened at rare intervals by an icy sarcasm and an understated but biting criticism.” That sounds about right.

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Our Bunter has been showing up intermittently for a couple of months–and the expression he* turns on us when we interrupt him at the food bowl is the most eloquent icy sarcasm laced with biting criticism I’ve ever seen.

* As usual, in the absence of evidence, I’ve assigned pronouns via coin flip.

MM, of course, has been keeping a close eye on Bunter.
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As queen of the local chaos of cats, it’s her responsibility to pass judgment on the suitability of any would-be immigrants. She’s also drawing on the talents of Ooki Brothers Security in monitoring Bunter’s behavior.
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They naturally take a special interest in tuxedo-clad cats.

Nor is Bunter the only feline who’s been dropping by.

During the February rains, we spotted a new arrival.
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He slipped into the yard when MM and Tuxie weren’t around and checked the food bowls for goodies. After a couple of days, he vanished, and we decided he must have found fault with the environment and moved on.

Until a couple of days ago, when it started raining heavily. Sure enough, as soon as it got wet out, there he was.
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He hasn’t been around long enough to acquire a name. For the moment, we’re using our usual fallback of naming based on appearance. So he’s known as “Somewhat Bedraggled Meezer.” If he sticks around, we’ll need to replace that–or at least shorten it.

MM is on the job, keeping an eye on SBM, though as yet she hasn’t called in the Ooki brothers or their assistant.
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It’s too soon to say whether either of our visitors will become regulars–though we do have another bowl ready for deployment if it’s needed–but the queen seems to have given tentative approval to both of them. Or, to be more precise, we haven’t heard any debates in the yard, nor have we seen any pointy politics.

Still a Way to Go

Rufus continues to acclimate to his new life.

Despite the traditional family humiliations heaped on him–see yesterday’s post for an example–and the continued misbehavior of Mr. AssholeWatanuki, Rufus is making longer forays around the house and looking more comfortable while he does it.

‘Nuki’s latest trick is to climb into Rufus’ bed.
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Once firmly in possession, he glares through the holes at the rightful owner.
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Who, for the most part, cheerfully ignores him. Rufus has figured out that if ‘Nuki is in the bed, he’s not in a position to prevent him from exploring.

Lately, he’s been hanging out at the top of the stairs. Yes, the stairs that are the nerve center of the entire house, and the spot where Rhubarb and Yuki generally hang out.
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Now, granted, that top step is roughly four Rufus-lengths from his “safe space”–that’s the door at the left–but it’s unquestionably a sign of progress.

And he does look amazingly relaxed, doesn’t he?
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Well, OK. Maybe not too relaxed.

Integration 2

We’re still working on giving Rufus the freedom of the house. He’s making progress, but it’s slow.

Part of it is on Rufus; he seems to have the idea that we don’t want him to leave his room. When we leave the door open, he waits until we’re not around, and then he sneaks out. As soon as he sees one of us–or even hears us approaching–he retreats to his turf.

We can’t even lure him out of the room to accept cuddles in the hall. He’ll come right up to the door, flop down a careful half-inch inside the room, and roll onto his back for a tummy rub. I’ve started carrying him one Rufus-length outside the door for pettings. He’s accepting it, but it’s too soon to know whether there will be any long-term benefit.

And Rufus is going further on his exploratory expeditions than he did early on. We’ve found him (briefly) in the front hall, two floors away from his safe space. So there’s hope.

The biggest part of Rufus’ failure to integrate, however, is named “Watanuki”. Or, as we’re calling him more and more often, “Mr. Asshole”.

‘Nuki misses no opportunity to steal Rufus’ catnip toys, hunt for scraps of food in his bowls, use his litter box, and generally take every chance he can to invade Rufus’ personal space.

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Note the “Will you get this schmuck out of here?” look on Rufus’ face and ‘Nuki’s “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you.” expression.

We haven’t seen much in the way of violence, barring the occasional nose-bop, but the political slogan shouting has gotten heated at times.

I suspect the eventual outcome will involve somebody taking a claw to the ear or nose, before they both back down and negotiate a settlement.

And You Thought Herding Them Was Hard

03-1The weather is warming and, far more important, drying out. And that means that Tuxie is once again spending most afternoons flaked out on top of Cape Odd.

03-2Uh…

Have you noticed that even when MM is taking it easy, she never really sleeps? She’s always on the alert, defending her territory against all invaders.

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Oh, for crying out loud, guys!

Make up your minds, already! I’m trying to write a blog post here.

Look, our deal is that we supply the krunchiez, and you pose for the pictures, right? Right.

So–

What?

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Now you’re just doing it to annoy me.

Cats.

Wait’ll you see what I add to the food bowl tonight!

(Note to blog readers: It’s probably going to be some scraps of leftover cheese. What kind of lunatic did you think I was?)

My Hat’s Off To You

For reasons she’s unable to explain coherently–“It seemed like a good idea at the time” figures prominently–Maggie recently purchased a cat bonnet.

No, not a bonnet made of cat-printed fabric. One of these. Yes, a bonnet for a cat.

‘Nuki is not amused.
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Neither is Sachiko.
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Perhaps it’s because we haven’t quite figured out how to put it on them. Clearly it doesn’t fit the same way as the one on the box fits the model.

Sachiko has her own ideas about the best way to make use of it.
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But then, as we’ve noted in the past, everything is a cat toy. Including apparel.

Happiness

Right now, Rhubarb is the happiest kitty in the house.

He had his stitches removed Wednesday, and the Cone o’ Shame came off too. He indulged in a mild frenzy of grooming, catching up on two week’s worth of missed washing, and since then he’s split his time between snoring on his favorite stair and hogging the heat vent under the Christmas tree.
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Sachiko, however, is probably the most annoyed feline in the joint.

We figured that it would be safest for Rhubarb to travel to the vet’s office in our largest carrier, so he’d be able to move around with the collar. The last time we used that carrier was to take Rufus to the vet, and then we put in the garage. That being the case, we thought it would be a good idea to put it inside the house so Rhubarb could investigate it and get used to the scent.

He sniffed it briefly, gave a dismissive toss of his head, and knocked it on its side before walking off.

At which point, Sachiko came to investigate. More precisely, she claimed it as her latest den.
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She was not at all amused when we dumped her out of it, loaded Big Brudder Rhubarb, and carried it away.

Worse yet, when we brought Rhubarb back, her den vanished back into the garage!

Forty-eight hours later, she’s still poking around the bedroom looking for it.

At least we know what to get her for Christmas–and it won’t cost a cent!