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.

Changeless

Some things don’t change much at all.

The spider’s had to rebuild her web a couple of times, but she’s still hanging around in front of the house.
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And hiding on days when I have the good camera handy. I presume she’s concerned about having her picture out on the Internet in this age of facial recognition.

Yuki still thinks Rhubarb is the greatest pillow known to felinity.
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And snoring. Not surprising with his head at that angle.

The turkeys are still terrorizing the neighborhood. This shot was taken shortly after they held off the dog next door while stealing everything edible in his yard.
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And they’re beginning the preliminaries to their mating rituals. It is that time of year.

Rufus is still negotiating territorial rights with Watanuki.
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And there is much staring.

Integration

“Separate but equal” is not an acceptable option.

Accordingly, we’ve been continuing to introduce Rufus to the rest of the gang with increasing levels of interaction and self-guided exploration.

Thursday evening, we opened the door to Rufus’ space*, and then sat back to watch what happened and intercede if the political negotiations got out of paw.

* Which is also the space where Sachiko lived until she was sufficiently socialized to join the “big kitties”. As such, she takes a certain proprietary interest in that room.

Rufus spent a few minutes sniffing around the bathroom.
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Not finding much to interest him, he headed down the hall in the other direction. Kokoro, ‘Nuki, and Yuki were much more interesting than the bathroom.
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And, of course, they found Rufus quite intriguing as well.

Approximately three seconds after that picture was taken, ‘Nuki and Rufus exchanged a few paw swats, none of which made contact.

Discretion being the better part, Rufus returned to his room, to discover that somebody had taken advantage of his absence to explore.
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Shortly thereafter, Yuki decided to join the party.
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As you can see, Rufus wasn’t amused. He returned to the hall, sending Yuki into a precipitous retreat–so naturally Kokoro and Sachiko took advantage of his absence to explore.

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When he came back, Kokoro made a successful escape, but Sachiko panicked, and tried to hide under the futon. She realized it was a mistake almost as soon as she stopped moving, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave past Rufus. Nor could we lure her out–even her favorite treat–licking the fork that we mix Rufus’ food with–couldn’t tempt her out.

The poor Skittercritter stayed under the futon, growling at nothing (or perhaps herself) until we gave Rufus his dinner. As soon as Sachiko realized he was distracted, she hurled herself across the room, out the door, and down the stairs at the end of the hall. She didn’t quite crack the sound barrier, but I think she exceeded the freeway speed limit.

That was all more excitement than we had planned for one day. So the next few days we’ll step back and limit interactions to what they can do through a just-barely-ajar door.

Once everyone’s chilled out, we’ll let them mingle again.

Upon and Within

For your appreciation at the end of this busy week: a quiet scene of domestic bliss. MM and Tuxie took advantage of a dry spell early in the week to soak up some sunlight before the rains returned Thursday.
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Which is not to say that everything was sunlight and fuzzies the whole time. On Wednesday, MM decided to invade Tuxie’s turf.
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We’d never seen her on Cape Odd before, and she looks incredibly smug, as only a meezer can. Mind you, her victory was somewhat muted in that Tuxie wasn’t around to quail before her.

Which probably explains why she returned to the fence between showers on Thursday.
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I believe she was keeping an eye on a band of marauding turkeys on the far side of the fence.

Meanwhile, the “Inside the House Crew” have been exploring a new addition to their collection of condos.
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‘Nuki, as one would expect, was the first to explore the interior, despite the fact that it’s much too small for him.

Inconvenience

Tuxie’s sojourn in the Rose Cottage didn’t last very long. Somebody else asserted a more pointed argument and took possession.
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Actually, we don’t know if MM had to resort to claws and teeth to come out on top in the negotiations, but it wouldn’t surprise us. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s sharply asserted dominance.

Anyway, she’s been sleeping in the cottage for most of the past week, even now that the rain has stopped. That’s unusual, even unprecedented. Until the recent downpours began, she’s shown no interest in the shelters. I suppose even furry residents can be concerned about flooding.

Tuxie doesn’t lack for dry places to hang out, even with the Rose Cottage off the list. Cape Odd is too leaky–fixing that is on our to-do list–but there’s still the Hillside Shack.
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That’s been his favorite sleeping place since around the time Rufus moved into the catio. The Shack is actually under the deck, so it’s sheltered by both its own roof and the catio floor. And it was very convenient for him to stop by and solicit snacks when we went out to visit Mr. Alexander.

We haven’t seen him in the Hillside Shack since MM kicked him out of the Rose Cottage, but we have seen him approaching the food bowl from that direction a couple of times, so we’re reasonably sure he’s resumed his old habits.

MM, by the way, is apparently a devotee of making life difficult for others. In addition to asserting her ownership of any object she fancies, regardless of who might have a prior claim, she also has very firm opinions about the proper way to guide us to the food bowl at dinner time.

We haven’t actually tripped over her–yet–but we have stepped on her toes a few times. And if you’ve never heard a meezer whose felines have been hurt, consider yourself lucky.

Caution

We began the year with the tale of Watanuki’s unauthorized experiment in outdoor living, so let’s go back to the feline contingent to close out 2016 with a cautionary tale.

As I’ve mentioned, the dining room heat vent has been very popular lately.
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Although some people seem a trifle unclear on the basic concept.
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Joint use is possible.
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But sometimes…
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conflicts arise.
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And when limited resources are the subject of a fight, there can be at most one winner.
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A lesson we should all keep in mind as the Western US draws ever closer to the inevitable water wars.


On a cheerier note, Rufus is doing well. He enjoyed a Christmas treat of salmon gooshy fud, and he’s rocking his new bling. No heat vents in his catio, but he’s got a warm lap every evening, and seems quite happy with that.
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More Togetherness

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Togetherness?

Yeah. Hang on a second while I get closer.

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That’s better.

What better way to lead into the weekend than with a shot of Kokoro taking some time out of her busy schedule of sleeping on my pillow to hang out with Kaja?

(To be honest, this post is something of a defensive measure. Kaja’s been complaining about her lack of appearances on the blog and threatening to do something about it. Since she has unmonitored access to Maggie’s computer, we thought it best to remove her incentive to post on her own. Nobody needs hourly rants on the future of computing. Especially from a devout Apple-head)

It’s a highly unusual scene. I’d even go so far as to say “unique”.

While Kokoro does frequently hang out in Maggie’s office*, it much more common for one of the ladies to stake out Maggie’s desk chair while the other one relaxes in this footstool/condo. Until now, the only space we’ve seen them sharing is the heat vent.

* It’s actually Kaja’s den, but Maggie has acquired the naming rights.

I’m guessing that the air conditioner came on and they decided to move their snugglefest someplace where they wouldn’t have cold air blowing up their asses.

The Green Thing

In the spirit of “Everything is a cat toy” and “If it fits, I sits” I bring you “Everything is a cat bed”.

There’s a disused downspout splash block in our backyard–colloquially known as “The Green Thing”. Being made of plastic and designed to channel water, it dries more quickly than almost anything else in the yard.

In the current wet weather, it’s become quite popular with the Backyard Bunch.
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I’m sure the fact that it’s almost perfectly positioned to catch the afternoon sun has nothing to do with its popularity.
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Of course, cats being cats, politics comes into play.
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Fortunately, the art of compromise is not lost.
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Though I think GT won that round of negotiations. Not only does he have The Green Thing, but he’s also got a butt warmer. MM just has a warm, dry spot for her left cheek.

Pillows

I’m continuing the theme of last Friday’s post (cats on the bed) today.

We’ve had a rash of semi-willing snuggles lately.

19-0My apologies for the odd colors on this one. Black cats, smartphone cameras, and low light make for photos that need a lot of manipulation to be intelligible. But it’s an interesting threesome. In the foreground, Rhubarb is apparently trying to warm his front paws by tucking them into Yuki’s fur. Meanwhile, Sachiko has fallen asleep with her head nicely pillowed on Yuki’s tail.

Normally, Yuki would be chasing Rhubarb up and down the stairs while Sachiko ran after them both, trying to sink a tooth or two into Yuki’s neck. I conclude that this episode was shortly after a bout of exercise.

And then there’s this peaceful scene.

19-1Watanuki has himself a very snuggly pillow. Just look at his blissed-out expression! Granted, Kokoro doesn’t seem very pleased about the situation; after all, ‘Nuki has been trying to assert his dominance over the rest of the crew lately. This is clearly just another ploy in his ongoing campaign. But she’s grudgingly willing to put up with it, since at least this approach doesn’t involve teeth and claws.