Trick or Treat! Lick My Feet! Give Me Something Good To Eat!

Happy Halloween!

Can you imagine our surprise and delight when this crew of junior trick-or-treaters showed up last Sunday?

Now we know why Meezer Girl has been gobbling so much of the kitty krunchies. Added bonus: we can set aside any question of whether “Girl” is appropriate in her name–although for obvious reasons, we’ve renamed her Meezer Mommy.

We don’t know if Faux Tux is the (or even a) daddy, although I’d swear he’s concealing a blush under his fur in that photo. Certainly the evidence of the kids’ markings suggests that he was involved in some capacity.

I think Meezer Mommy was a bit embarrassed about getting the date wrong. She showed up very late for Monday’s feeding–without the kids–and, which she showed up on time Tuesday, she left the kids home again.

She didn’t let embarrassment spoil their Sunday, however. They hung around most of the afternoon, including taking nap time in the sunlight. I think we startled Little Black when we walked through the yard. Not enough to bother getting up from his nest in the abandoned fountain, but enough to get us a bleary-eyed once-over.

And Meezer Mommy did bring the kids along Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, the little gray guy hasn’t been seen since Sunday. We fear foul play–or, given the number of raptors in this area, perhaps fowl play. We’ll put out a Día de Muertos offering for him/her tomorrow.

Black cats have an unfortunate reputation, and it’s never more awkward than this time of year. If Meezer Mommy brings Little Black and Tiny Tux out again today, we hope she’ll make them wear costumes that hide most of their fur.

Of course, if they’re in costume, we might not recognize them. Since chocolate is bad for cats, we’ve decided to play it safe. We will not give out candy to trick-or-treaters this year. Instead, all costumed extortionists, regardless of size and apparent lack of fur, will get Fun Size packages of Kitten Chow. Hopefully Zillow will appreciate the lengths we’re willing to go to in protecting our neighbors’ health.

PS: Yes, we’re aware of various TNR organizations in our area. We’re already discussing our options and responsibilities. I’d prefer not to have that discussion in the comments. Thanks!

Meet the Neighbors 13

We continue to have problems with Meezer Girl slapping Faux Tux away from the food bowl so she can gobble down all of the krunchies.

Fortunately, Tuxie and GT have decided that Maggie and I are sufficiently safe bipeds that they no longer flee our presence, and are quite willing to eat with us standing nearby. Filling the water bowl can be a bit of an adventure: one of the bowls sits near the hose, and we often have to uncoil the hose from under GT’s paws.

In fact, they’re so happy to have a regular source of food that they rub against our legs when we come down to fill the bowls.

Meezer Girl, however, still wants nothing to do with us. So we’ve started waiting near the bowls while GT and Tuxie eat. Meezer Girl keeps her distance.

Of course, that just means she needs to resort to distance weapons to encourage us to go away and let her take the bowl away from Tuxie.

I’m happy to report that when she’s hungry, her eye lasers don’t have enough power to do more than singe our pant cuffs.

Meet the Neighbors 12

Early in July, I mentioned that the ongoing power struggle between Grey Tabby and Meezer Girl was forcing Faux Tux to the end of the line at the backyard bowl.

Meezer Girl has clearly won the war–well, clearly to everyone except Grey Tabby, but even he’s starting to get a glimmer of the truth–but the problem continues. The combatants have continued to block each other from the bowl, and poor Faux Tux has been caught in the fallout.

mb2So we tried putting out a second bowl. Same amount of food, just spread out more. The result was predictable.

Fortunately, the bowls are far enough apart that Faux Tux can sneak up to one when the superpowers are squabbling over the other.

mb3Sometimes Meezer Girl doesn’t show up immediately after we put the food out and Faux Tux can eat as much as he wants.

But that doesn’t happen often. We can’t keep multiplying bowls indefinitely, and Faux Tux is so unassertive that even putting out a third bowl might not get him regular munchies. We don’t really have an obligation to feed him, but we do feel a certain amount of responsibility and we worry about him.

So far, our best tactic has been aerial bombardment with treats. We toss them out the window and lure the Big Two away from the bowls. While they’re distracted, Faux Tux sometimes goes to a bowl. More often, though, he joins the chase for the treats. Sigh.


Meet the Neighbors 09

It’s official. Meezer Girl is settled into the neighborhood and a regular at the backyard bowl. We’re seeing her come by every night–sometimes more than once a night–and she’s around quite a bit in the day as well. She even came into our front yard a couple of days ago, something the neighbors don’t usually do. Once in, she apparently forgot how she got there. I heard her meowing at the gate, trying to persuade it to open for her. Eventually she found her way back over the fence, so I didn’t have to traumatize her by coming outside.

Meezers tend to have strong personalities and crave dominant roles. Meezer Girl fits that profile well. Now that she’s coming around regularly, she and Grey Tabby are jockeying for top position in the hierarchy. We don’t think it’s escalated to the level of actual violence, but there’s definitely a Cold War/Mutual Assured Destruction vibe going on when they face off.

And face off they do.

pol2pol3As usually happens when superpowers clash, it’s the little guys who suffer. Poor Faux Tux. He used to have to wait while Grey Tabby ate, but now he also has to sit through the political maneuverings and then wait for Meezer Girl to finish.

Fortunately, Grey Tabby takes her role as Protector of the Weak seriously. She makes sure that Faux Tux does eventually get a chance at the food bowl before it’s empty, and often stands guard while he does.

Yes, that’s her tail poking under the gate as she keeps a watchful eye out for Meezer Girl or any other interloper who might interfere with Faux Tux’s meal.

Meet the Neighbors 08

Meet the latest regular at our backyard bowl: Meezer Girl.

Meezer Girl is wary, as is only appropriate for a free-living feline.

She is not, however, as wary as she should be.

I was tempted to open the window and shout “Get out of the street, fur-for-brains!” I suspect the HOA would not have been amused. Fortunately, before I got the window unlocked, she moved out of traffic. Well, mostly.

Yes, she is standing in the gutter, and yes, cars really do drive in the gutter. But that’s a post for another day.

Moving on.

We’ve caught glimpses of her around the neighborhood for several months, but she’s become much more visible over the past couple of weeks. Now she’s figured out the bowl-filling schedule, and we’ve spotted her out there every night this week.

She’s an enthusiastic eater.

“She,” by the way, is a guess. Quite frankly, we’re guessing for all of the neighbors. We usually only see them from the front or above, so the most obvious clues aren’t visible. So when we refer to Grey Tabby as female and Faux Tux as male, those are assumptions based on behavior.

We haven’t firmly settled on “Meezer Girl” for the new arrival. “Meezer Lady” might have more long-term utility, after all. We’re also considering “Meezer-san,” just in case we find evidence that she’s actually a he. We’re open to other notions. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments.

If Meezer Girl continues to come around, we anticipate some interesting maneuvering for dominance with Grey Tabby. So far it’s been rather mild. They’ve been taking turns at the bowl: one will come into the yard, then leave when the other shows up. We don’t expect it to stay that polite for long.

Well, that didn’t take long. No sooner had I written the previous paragraph than negotiations started heating up. No angry words or weapons, but there is a certain amount of tension in the air.