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.

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.