Certain Things

In times of uncertainty–and really, when is it not a time of uncertainty–it’s helpful to focus on whatever reliable things you can find.

One can, for example, count on Rufus to find a cozy place to curl up.
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(It should be noted, by the way, that despite the label on the cave, he routinely snoozes for far longer than thirty minutes at a time. That’s also a certainty.)

And, no matter how deeply asleep he may seem, Rufus can be counted upon to notice when a camera is deployed in his vicinity.
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Notice and demand the the photographer get his best side. And his worst side. And every other side he’s got.
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Strange to think that being able to count on someone’s personal vanity should be a good thing.

Year End Reminders

In this, the final blog post of 2019, I want to remind you of a couple of things.

First, change is inevitable.
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I believe the subject Lefty is discussing with Rhubarb is “If this is the dining room, why aren’t the hoomins giving us food?”

Second, technology advances.
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This shot of Lefty was taken with my work iPhone 11 Pro. Over my shoulder. Without being able to see the subject. (I’ll note that the photo is heavily cropped. Lefty was nowhere near the center of the frame. But it still came out rather nicely.)

And third, some truths are eternal.
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Just as the mound is sixty feet, six inches from the plate, the dining room heat vent is exclusively owned by Sachiko from November to May.

A very happy New Year to one and all. May 2020 be better for you and yours than 2019. See you when the arbitrary astronomical odometer kicks over the tens place.

Nesting Behavior

A quiet, if chilly, morning with the Formerly Feral Fellows.

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Lefty’s fur is thicker than Rufus’, so he doesn’t feel the chill as intensely. Still, he finds the blankets cozy and highly relevant to his interests.

Rufus, as is his wont, has found himself a cave to help him retain heat. That it’s actually got an electric heater is an unanticipated bonus.

The cave is the space under the computer desk and the heater is the UPS. Needless to say, we’d really prefer that he not spend time in there. We wage an endless battle, rearranging the pillows to block access, only to find he’s shoved them aside or sculpted them into a comfortable nest.

Bed Riding

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Why, yes, that is Lefty on the bed.

He’s become quite brave and exploratory of late. He has several times joined the scrum in the kitchen, jostling for a chance to lick the gooshy fud cans.

And he’s decided the bed is a good place to hang out in the evening.
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I don’t think he’s quite figured out that the lumps under the covers that he leans against are my legs, but he’s quite happy to sprawl across them.

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Or even snuggle between them. And purr.

It’s not a very audible purr. Not yet, anyway. But I can unquestionably feel it vibrating through my shins and down to my phalanges.

Nor, and let’s be quite clear about this, does he limit his visits to times when I’m alone in bed.

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Granted, the other cats have a tendency to depart when Lefty arrives. But that has more to do with his uncertainty about how to establish his position on the totem pole than anything else. He’s not sure if he should be licking ears, sniffing rears, or instilling fears. And so he swings rapidly from one approach to another. Once he settles into a consistent form of interaction, I expect matters to settle nicely.

And the more time he spends with the rest of the crew, the faster that settling will take place. Or so I presume. One can but hope.

Regardless, he does look good on the bed–that black fur against the red blanket is very attractive, as Yuki knows well–and he seems to be an excellent furry hot water bottle.

Winter Weather

We’ve had a bit of a cold snap of late. Overnight temperatures are dropping into the forties and upper thirties. Even though we keep it significantly warmer in the house, the weather does have a predictable effect on the cats.

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Kokoro and Kaja are roommates of long standing, and as roomies often do, they tend to hang around together. Kaja is definitely taking it to unusual levels of closeness, though. It’s rare to see Kokoro actually snuggle up with someone who doesn’t walk on two feet.

Rufus and Lefty, of course, have been sharing living space for a comparatively short time–less than a year! They’re still working out the parameters of closeness. Lefty is more inclined to exploration–Rufus seems to have a “been downstairs, didn’t like it” attitude–but they still spend most of their time in reasonable proximity.

Lefty likes to keep an eye on Rufus, to better protect him from those perplexing bipeds.

Even so, they’ve been unusually close the past few days.

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Cuteness reigns throughout the house.

Settling In

Lefty has definitely gotten past his fear of humans. He’s still cautious, yes, but not afraid.

Case in point: while I get the gooshy fud ready–mixing in the Fellows’ medications and adding water to keep their kidneys well-lubricated–Maggie goes upstairs to play with them and distribute a few treats.

Time was, Lefty would hide under the futon as soon as she approached, emerging only grudgingly after he was sure we’d both left the room.

Now? Not so much.
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Yep, that black blob at the top of the photo is Mr. Lefty himself, sprawled bonelessly on the carpet, waiting for Maggie to put down the camera and pick up the feathers-on-a-stick toy.

Can’t get much more settled in than eagerly awaiting a chance to attack a fake bird.

More Exploration

Lefty’s investigation of the house continues. A couple of evenings ago he wandered down to the kitchen to watch me prepare his gooshy fud, then led me up the stairs to his room.

He’s also discovered the joys of the condo outside our bedroom.
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It’s perfectly placed to let him keep an eye on what those strange hoomin creatures are doing, and where the other cats are sleeping.

He’s still uncertain how much protection the condo gives him. Sometimes Lefty will pull back and hide inside the condo when a hoomin walks past; other times he’ll leap out and dash upstairs.

But still, it’s progress. Even a few weeks ago he would have run upstairs the instant we saw him in the condo. We’re delighted.

With Age Comes…

Sachiko is no longer the twenty-four hour nuclear-propelled hellion she was when she was a kitten.

She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s a big kitty now. And she is–goodness, I just realized she’s approaching her fifth birthday!

Not a huge kitteh, but a bit on the plump side, and a significant armload.

With increasing age comes an increased desire to snooze.

Of course, as a cat, she’s required to pick a spot that will inconvenience the bipeds.

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The bathroom doorway is a fine choice. Convenient to the litter box, handy to the food bowls come dinner time, and a high traffic area for the hoomins.

More Introductions

While we are allowing the Formerly Feral Fellows more freedom, we do keep the fence up across the stairs for most of the day.

Neither of them has made any effort to jump or climb over it, so we presume they’re not bothered by the restriction. Though they are spending more time hanging around near the top of the stairs.

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Rufus especially likes the top of that box. It’s a well-padded place to sleep, with plenty of slightly filtered sunlight from the window over the stairs.

Lefty still prefers dark, enclosed spaces, so the lower bunk suits him perfectly.

When we take the fence down and let him wander freely, Lefty frequently comes down as far as the main landing. It’s not just the food bowls that catch his attention.

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After a few through-the-fence interactions, ‘Nuki seems to have figured out that Lefty is not as easygoing as his mentor. He’s not a fighter, but he will take a swing at anything he thinks might be threatening him.

I don’t think Lefty wants to be an alpha-kitty, but he does seem to believe in keeping his options open.

As a result, we’ve had several near-interactions like this one, with the two settling down on opposite sides of the floor and elaborately ignoring each other.

Of course, it doesn’t harm the developing relationship any that Rufus casually hangs out nearby, keeping an eye on his protege.

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Possession is Nine-Tenths…

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A not uncommon sight in recent days.

Lefty likes the upper of the two portable caves (though I suspect he’d be less enamored of it if he knew it could theoretically be moved).

Rufus, meanwhile, quite enjoys the condo in the afternoon. There’s enough sunlight to warm his flanks, and the carpeted surface is soft enough for comfort, but solid enough for support.

But not all is peace and tranquility in the upper hall.

A few minutes after I took the photo above, I heard the sound of minor feline politics.

When I peeked around the corner, I found Lefty sitting on the floor looking somewhat confused, and Rufus firmly in possession of the cave.

While we think of Rufus as a mild-mannered fellow, he doesn’t hesitate to make his wishes known.

However, as soon as Rufus realized I was looking (and getting the camera ready)–

–he came running over to me for some attentions. Clearly, tummy rubs are a higher priority than maintaining ownership of the best cave.

And yes, Lefty did reclaim his turf while Rufus was otherwise occupied.