Snugglepanther!

I believe I’ve mentioned from time to time that Lefty has come a long way from the original raging, fearful bundle of fangs and claws he presented as when we first abdopted him from the yard. He still has his moments of hoomin-suspicion, but for the most part he’s a cheerful, cuddly creature.

His latest favorite pastime is to wait until I lie down on the bed, and then snuggle into my armpit.

I give him skritches and pettings, he gives me purrs. Works for both of us.

Until my fingers get tired and I stop patting. Then he reminds me that he’s still got those claws.

It’s a slow motion slap, taking a good five seconds or more, so I have plenty of time to resume the active cuddling before he makes contact. And even if he reaches me, he doesn’t dig the claws in, just rests them on my cheek–or tangles them into my beard.

Such an Elegant Gentleman

It’s been four and a half years since Lefty took up residency–highly involuntary residency–in the catio.

At that time, I said “And if we thought MM was unhappy in the catio, Lefty took matters to previously unconsidered depths. He complained. He prowled around, shoving shelters out of his way, and generally created chaos. Nor, to be blunt, did he get along with MM. She wanted him in the catio even less than he wanted to be there.” And I also said “If he’s still relatively chill, we’ll see if we can persuade him to adopt an indoor lifestyle. It’ll be a long haul, and an awkward one … But it’s worth a try.”

And here we are. Much less awkward and certainly much less quicker than we expected, that scarred and scared bundle of teeth and claws has become an elegant, cultured panther-about-the-house.

Don’t let that solemn look fool you. He’s not pondering the whichness of what, he’s considering the best approach to extorting another chunk of fish from our dinner.

Moving Forward While Sitting Still

Queen Emeraldas has taken a huge step forward.

Yes, those are my legs she’s curled up between.

We’re not entirely sure she recognizes legs and feet as being part of reclining bipeds. And she definitely didn’t jump up on the bed to hang out with me.

She’s been showing up in the late evening recently, hopping up on the bed to snuggle with Yuki. Interestingly, she’s allowing him to wash her ears, which is often a submissive signal. It’s hard to picture Em as submissive with anyone, but there it is.

Anyway, on this particular day, Yuki happened to be sprawled between my knees, so Em had no real choice but to curl up where she did.

Every time I so much as twitched, she looked up in alarm, so I wound up holding as still as I could for about half an hour. Naturally, my legs went to sleep, so I did eventually have to restore circulation by moving. At which point, she leapt off the bed and sulked on the floor.

But the truly wonderful thing is that she apparently decided the bed is a comfy place to hang out, even when Mr. Floof isn’t present.

Witness the scene a few days later when I went into the bedroom:

Rather than disturbing her more than I already had by taking the picture, I decided to read elsewhere.

Double-Decker

The microwave/TV condo in the upstairs hall goes through waves of popularity and disinterest.

Until about a week ago, nobody had been much into it, literally or figuratively. Kokoro would sit on top, but neither for very long or very often.

Then, magic:

Emeraldas and Lefty have taken it over.

They seem to like the two-level aspect. Meezers are typically climbers, so being on the upper level may be appealing to Em’s deeper instincts; as for Lefty, few indeed are the cats who don’t like a cave of their own.

(Note, by the way, that Lefty is still–at least as of this writing–wearing his bling.)

As for us, we’re pleased to see Em hanging around parts of the house that aren’t the downstairs.

A Rite of Passage

It took a lot longer than we expected, but Lefty may have confirmed the “Formerly” in his title of “Formerly Feral Fellow”.

Mind you, he’s not exactly happy about it.

Downright grumpy, in fact.

But an apparently incongruous emotional reaction to a life-changing event is far from uncommon.

It’s been more than a year since I wrote “someday soon he will wear it again“. I’m pretty sure that fourteen months isn’t “soon” by the standards of anyone with a lifespan shorter than your average sequoia.

But, yes.

He is once again wearing a collar.

As of this writing, he’s had it on for four days–it helps that this was intended to be his permanent collar, rather than an extremely weak “test collar”–but after a few unsuccessful attempts to persuade Emeraldas to help him take it off, he hasn’t mustered any strong objections.

And, yes, it does have bling.

I’ll skip the jokes about him being the star of our family and/or the bell [sic] of the ball.

He is Awesome Kitty, though, and we’re delighted that he seems to have accepted that the Well-Dressed Cat-About-the-House wears bling.

Welcome home, Lefty, welcome home.

Details, Details

Due to a scheduling misdemeanor a couple of days ago, I wasn’t able to have dinner with Maggie. Fortunately, there’s a very dapper gentleman who was happy to keep her company while she ate.

In truth, Lefty often keeps both of us company during meals–but usually from the floor. Since my chair was vacant, however, he decided to move a little closer to the action*.

* He wishes it to be known that he was not responsible for my placemat’s slow glide toward the floor. In all likelihood, that was Sachiko’s doing: dumping placemats is one of her favorite pastimes.

Lefty is well aware of the house rule regarding cats on the table: not during mealtimes.

He’s not as dialed in on the other table-related rule: Cats do not get to share meals until they demonstrate minimum proficiency with standard tableware. We’d accept proper usage of a fork and knife, a spoon, or even chopsticks.

Nobody, including Lefty, has managed the feat yet, but that doesn’t stop him from sitting between our chairs, looking hopeful.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but he’s often successful in extorting some goodies. And he’s approved of darn near everything he’s tasted: chicken (prepared several ways), tilapia, salmon, steak, burgers (both beef and lamb), cheese (cheddar, naturally), Cheetos®, and even pasta (red sauce only–we’re not going to imperil his tummy with pesto).

So far the only thing he’s turned up his nose at is feta. He took one sniff, declared it “Decidedly not cheese,” and stalked off, radiating offended dignity.

[photo credit to Maggie, naturally]

Approaching Em

Queen Emeraldas is still skittish when it comes to humans. However, plenty of bribes in the form of treats have reduced the distance at which her flight reflex kicks in. So we occasionally get treated to near visits:

Contrary to what her location and posture might suggest, she was not waiting for the food bowl to be filled. Her bowl is downstairs (though that doesn’t stop her from occasionally raiding this one) and she knows that the bowls get filled in the late evening, not mid-morning.

So this visit was just “Trying to peer around the doorframe to check up on what the bipeds were up to.”

Timing aside, she also knows that dinner is preceded by a meet-and-greet session. (I’d call it a cocktail hour, but no drinks are served.)

(Top to bottom: Sachiko, Kokoro, Watanuki, Emeraldas, and Lefty*.)

* For those newcomers who may be wondering, no, not all of the cats have Japanese names. It just seems like it sometimes. Not visible in this picture (though present): Kaja, Rhubarb, and Yuki.)

Even though no booze is on offer, we still get the occasional “private” breakout session. When it comes to Yuki, Em is an enthusiastic proponent of the full-body head bump.

So enthusiastic, in fact, that we can occasionally manage to pat her. While she still takes off if she sees us reaching toward her, she has–to bring the post full-circle–reached the point where she doesn’t flee in terror when she belatedly realizes a human is touching her.