Fringe Benefit

If recent posts have given you the impression that Watanuki is being more of an asshole than usual, you’ve gotten the right message.

Unfortunately, Rufus has been the main recipient of Mr. Knuckles’s counter-social behavior. As a result, he’s been spending time in Maggie’s office.

See, that’s Kaja’s territory.
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She rules the room with an iron paw and steel claws, only barely hidden beneath the velvet fur. More importantly, ‘Nuki isn’t allowed in there.

There’s been some hissing and some aggrieved looks, but by and large, it’s been peaceful.
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Not all catnip and sunlight, but relatively peaceful. From Rufus’ perspective, it’s much quieter than the rest of the house.

As a fringe benefit, Rufus has also been establishing better relations with Kokoro, who’s been spending time in Maggie’s office for much longer than he has.
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They’re not best buddies, but they’re coexisting nicely.

And cutely.
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SAST 10: Feline Edition

It’s been a busy week in the feline world, so we’ll hit the highlights in a Very Special Edition of Short Attention Span Theater.

20-1For those among us who love toe beans, there are fewer cuter than ‘Nuki’s. They’re amazingly soft and delicate looking; quite the contrast to his thuggish personality.

20-2Kokoro and Sachiko are far from the closest of friends, but when the weather turns unexpectedly cold, they manage to share a heat vent in relative tranquility. Note that Sachiko is kind enough to place a paw on the dome to ensure it doesn’t slip out of place. Kokoro, as is her wont, returns the favor by not alerting her junior to the fact that it’s warmer in front of the dome than behind it.

20-3Rufus has been in one of his exploratory moods this week. And he’s slowly getting more comfortable being around the other cats. Except ‘Nuki, of course. The Two Roos spent an hour or so hanging out on the stairs together–a definite first.

20-4And there’s action outside as well. Only a meezer would choose to sleep on a piece of old school, hard plastic Astroturf. Maybe MM was guarding the water bowl. Maybe she just didn’t want to get dirt on her fur. Regardless, it’s more proof–not that any was needed–that meezers are weird.

Ups and Downs

Lately we’ve been experiencing double-decker cats.
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Which is not to say Rufus and ‘Nuki are getting along. There’s still a lot of wariness and the occasional verbal disagreement. Not much in the way of actual combat, however, much to our relief.

My apologies for the lousy picture. Let me move in closer and see if I can get a better–
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Thanks a lot, Buddy.

Anyway, we tend to think of cats as being creatures of habit. We expect them to stake out some turf, and return to it over and over again.

Oddly, that’s not the case with these sleeping tubes. Twenty-four hours later, I got this shot.
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Rufus upstairs, Watanuki down below. Not that you can see much more of the latter than those glowing, yellow eyes. Let me–
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Oh, come on, Rufus!

You know what? Screw it.

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Sachiko’s quite the cutey, isn’t she?

New Hangout

Rufus has a new cave.
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Well, okay, new to him, anyway.

He’s been hanging out in Maggie’s office lately. He likes it in there. It’s usually warmer than the rest of the house. His chief antagonist, Watanuki, isn’t allowed in there. And it’s got the cave.

Mind you, the room does have its downside from his perspective.
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Kaja lives in Maggie’s office, thanks to irreconcilable personality differences.

And, by and large, Kaja doesn’t much care for intruders on her turf. She tolerates Maggie, thanks to frequent pettings. She’ll put up with Kokoro in recognition of her status as eldest female and queen of the crew.

But boys?
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There are many wary looks. Peeking, peerings, and porings over. Glares, glowers, and gawkings.

Occasionally relations break down into hissing.

But for the most part, Kaja seems to recognize that Rufus is an amiable fellow.

And so the room remains largely at peace, and Rufus can enjoy his new cave. At least until Kokoro comes in and wants it back.

Polite Cohabitation

By and large, we’ve given up on promoting feline friendships. If we can manage peaceful coexistence, we figure that’s good enough.

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Although, to be honest, “peaceful” is a word capable of displaying endless gradations. Rufus is much more relaxed around Kokoro than she is around him. But they usually average out to “wary acceptance”. That’s close enough.

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Sachiko alternates between “I finks I opposta hiss nao” and “Oh, it you again. Okays.” Either way, Rufus usually lands on “cautious ignoring.” But then, that’s pretty good, considering he’s used to black and white cats–Tuxie and Watanuki–who are in his weight class and far more aggressive than he is.

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When Yuki and Rhubarb aren’t feuding, they’re the best of buddies. And they’ve both developed a policy of mutual neutrality toward Rufus. “You don’t hit me, I won’t hit you.” And Rufus is fine with that.

One Step…

We had an unprecedented event last weekend.
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Rufus jumped up onto the bed without encouragement, and while it was already occupied by cats and humans. He’s been on the bed before, but only when it was empty or when one of us put him there for easier pettings.

So this was a big step forward.

He stayed there for several hours, using my leg as a pillow while he slept.

Even more impressively, he hung around after I got up.
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And went back to sleep, despite Mr. Thugbutt’s presence.
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Of course, he hasn’t returned since, preferring to return to his usual haunt:
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That’s the back of the futon in his room (formerly known as the library).

But overall, we’re pleased. It’s nice to see him try something new from time to time.

Thugbutt

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Yes, that is Sachiko’s box seat. (No, it’s not a permanent installation, but we’re in no particular hurry to get rid of it.)

Lately Watanuki has been waiting for her to settle down in the box before he walks up and looms threateningly over her until she leaves. Then he settles in and gives her a mock-innocent look.

All very 1930s gangsterish. It’s not by accident that one of his nicknames is “Thugbutt”.

Dancing

The dance of feline politics continues.

Three cats on the bed–usually Rhubarb, Yuki, and ‘Nuki–isn’t uncommon. Lately, however, Sachiko has been hanging out on the bed as well. I suspect it has to do with the weather cooling off, but that’s (a) conjecture and (b) beside the point.

The actual point is that her presence disturbs the normal alignments. Instead of Rhubarb and Yuki cuddling in one corner and Watanuki monopolizing another, we get something of a feline compass rose:
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Mind you, cats have their own sense of direction. They’re marking out East-SouthNuki, West-SouthSachiko, West-NorthYuki, and East-NorthRhubarb.

Not so great for geocaching.

Rather awkward for humans trying to lie down as well.

But what can one do? We all know who’s really running this joint.

Consolation

Something to cheer Jackie up in the face of her Orioles’ less than stellar performance this year.

Rufus continues to settle in. He still spends most of the day in “his” room–but why shouldn’t he? That’s where his food bowls are, that’s where the green pod/bed is, and that’s where the comfy futon is.
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I believe the officially-sanctioned descriptive phrase these days is “totes adorbs”. But don’t quote me on that.

Yes, that is a Hello Kitty pillow at the upper right and a Kliban blanket under his head. Nothing but the finest in feline-themed sleep gear for our crew.

Anyway, he does come downstairs occasionally, when the spirit moves him. And recently he not only joined the communal “sprawl on Casey” ritual for the first time, but he was actually the one who started it.
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Kokoro is usually the one to kick it off, but she didn’t seem too put out that he had gotten there first. Probably because he was smart enough to leave her favorite nest vacant.

And Rufus handled the arrival of the remaining participants with aplomb.
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Of course, it’s not all “Hail fellow, well met!”

There are still territorial disputes. Rufus is willing to defend his turf
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To a point.
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But, by and large, he’s fitting in better every day. Even the disputes are becoming more familial.