Lifestyles of the Furry Set

Rufus’ socialization and integration continue.
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He’s still not really comfortable with any of the other cats, but as long as they’re not openly antagonistic, he’s willing to live, let live, and sniff butts.

* Yes, my office floor does need vacuuming. That’s one bit of auctorial procrastination I’ve been procrastinating on.

Which means he’s mostly getting along with everyone but Watanuki, who continues to earn the epithet “Mr. Thunk”* every day. Even there, however, relations are improving. ‘Nuki mostly confines himself to chasing Rufus up the stairs and then polishing the already-empty food bowl. Rufus, for his part, regards ‘Nuki with caution, but little fear.

* A portmanteau of “thug” and “punk”.

And not everything is going ‘Nuki’s way. Sachiko has taken over his traditional role as “Lurker Under the Covers”.
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She’s been remarkably resistant to his efforts to chase her off the bed. But then, she’s never been especially intimidated by him. She’s been trying to chew his ears off since she was a kitten.

Watanuki’s response to the disarrangement of his routine has been to declare his intention to run away to sea and become a pirate.

I pointed out that cats aboard ship are expected to work. His response, delivered with impressively lofty tones and deep snottiness?
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“Nonsense. I shall be a figurehead.”

I had to admit that he’d be a good one. He’s got the attitude and the pose down. I asked him how he felt about the ship’s bow smashing into a wave while he was on duty.

His answer was largely unprintable, but hinted that he doesn’t believe the ocean would dare drench him.

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.

Highs and Lows

A few quickies to wrap up October. The last few days have been a strange mix of good news/bad news and excitement/terror.


It rained on Halloween. The rain started around 9:00 and stopped about 2:00. Naturally, Sunday’s newspaper was full of bad puns about the “reign” on the Giants’ parade.

Other than puns, the only significant effect of the rain was to discourage trick-or-treaters. We had about ten, considerably below last year’s high water mark (sorry) of three dozen or more.

No pumpkin spice costumes* and no broken bolts. Superheros predominated, but there was at least one ballerina/fairy princess. That’s a tough distinction to make when you can’t see if she has wings, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by asking.

* Now that Halloween is over, can all of the pumpkin spice foods please just go away? No, really. No need to wait until after Thanksgiving. Honest!

The Kitten Chow was popular. We had a mixed assortment of Reese’s Pieces, Almond Joys, Reese’s Miniatures, and Hershey Bars. Most of the kids were young enough that being told to take a handful of candy was so mind-blowing they didn’t even care what kind it was. So, no statistics on popularity, just some very happy faces.


Did I say there were around ten young bandits? Actually, there were two who didn’t show up in costume. Meezer Mommy showed up shortly before sundown with Little Black and Tiny Tux in tow. They all shared a bowl of kitty krunchies and a few cat treats we tossed from the window.

More happy faces.


The sad news arrived Saturday when MM showed up with only Tiny Tux. As promised, we had put out an offering for the little grey critter (gooshy food, which was quite enthusiastically devoured by Faux Tux and Grey Tabby) both Friday and Saturday. But when Little Black didn’t show up, our tenuous grip on our willpower failed.

Tiny Tux, aka Little Bit, aka TBD is now living in our spare bedroom. Yes, we went out and snagged her* Saturday afternoon. She had her first vet visit yesterday, and will remain in isolation until we’re sure she’s healthy. She’s getting antibiotics for an eye infection and she’s sufficiently undernourished and dehydrated that we don’t want to give her vaccinations or flea medications quite yet. Nor, at her age (estimated at 6-8 weeks), are the tests for FeLV and FIV accurate. So, isolation for her, multitudinous hand-washings for us.

* She’s still at an age where sex is a matter of opinion. We think “she” is the genetically correct pronoun, and will work on that basis unless proven incorrect. And if she has a different gender identity when she grows up, we’ll support her completely.

Taking on another kitty, especially one who’s going to need special care and attention to civilize, is a bit of a scary prospect, but, well… Let me put it this way: Sunday night we gave her a bowl of food, tucked her in (figuratively speaking), and went to bed ourselves. Five minutes later, a coyote started howling just beyond our back fence. I can’t think that bringing Little Bit inside was the wrong decision, though I suppose the coyote would beg to differ with me.


Meanwhile, Meezer Mommy is now temporarily residing in our garage. Or rather, around the time this post goes live, she’s at Fix Our Ferals to ensure that she doesn’t gift the neighborhood–or risk her own health–with another litter of kittens.

We suspect she’s a stray, rather than a lifelong feral, and she’s such a beautiful lady that we wish we could (re?)socialize her and find her a new home. Unfortunately, that’s just not going to be possible at this point. Perhaps she’ll forgive us for the indignity of her current incarceration and non-consensual surgery, and continue to hang around the backyard bowl. If so, well, who knows about the future?