They’re Lucky They’re So Cute

Some months ago, my daughter lost her laptop sleeve case. We searched and we searched. She decided she must have left it somewhere back at college rather than at home.

Cut to this morning: Mother and daughter thoroughly searching her bedroom because – in the middle of the night, of course – our former kittens had grabbed her favorite lip gloss and converted it to a toy, scrabbling and chasing it somewhere as yet undetected. During the futile search for the lip gloss, deep under the bed we found the laptop sleeve, which had also been converted to an objet de play.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Our recent kittens are now 1 year old, but we still think of them as the babies, which serves them well at times like this.

When they truly were kittens.

The suspects (Bo, Leo, Arrow) when they truly were kittens.

They are bigger now and less likely to all three fit in the same sleep spot. Here are Bo and Leo.

They are bigger now and less likely to all three fit in the same sleep spot. Here are Bo and Leo.

Arrow, (almost) caught in the act of sharing the human's breakfast.

Arrow, (almost) caught in the act of sharing the human’s breakfast.

Felines: No Two Alike!

I’ve known many cats through my life, and although they share important characteristics, each remains unique. I love them all and have been well- and long-trained to understand that cats are the master race!

Arrow (center) is incapable of moving slowly.

Arrow (center) is incapable of moving slowly, and most photos of her are blurry.

Luna likes to lounge on a skylight - with difficulty, because the surface is convex. At some point, inevitably, he will relax too much and slide off.

Luna likes to lounge on a skylight – with difficulty, because the surface is convex. At some point, inevitably, he will relax too much and slide off.

Bop loves to help me with chores such as organizing paperwork.

Bop loves to help me with chores such as organizing paperwork.

Bo and Leo hang out together but could not be more different. For Bo, life seems a series of disappointments, while Leo is gratitude incarnate: he purrs when you touch him; he purrs when he eats; he purrs as he walks around.

Bo and Leo hang out together but could not be more different. For Bo, life seems a series of disappointments, while Leo is gratitude incarnate: he purrs when you touch him; he purrs when he eats; he purrs as he walks around.

The WP Photo Challenge wants to see “one”.

Critters, Co-Existing

I love to discover creatures who are not pets in the spaces that humans pretend to claim – although the experience is always bittersweet, because it reminds me of how invasive my species can be.

Walking Stick on a sidewalk in Pasadena, California.

Walking Stick on a sidewalk in Pasadena, California.

Toad on a walkway, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Toad on a walkway, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Gecko on a restaurant wall at breakfast-time, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Gecko on a restaurant wall at breakfast-time, Punta Gorda, Florida.

Apparently geckos are omni-urnal (?). Here is one on the wall of an outdoor bar, late one evening, also in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Apparently geckos are omni-urnal (?). Here is one on the wall of an outdoor bar, late one evening.

Green Lynx spider on a wall outside my house.

Green Lynx spider on a wall outside my house.

Sidewinder leaving a trail in Griffith Park, CA: hauling ass to escape from all the hikers trying to snap photos and otherwise ogle it.

Rattlesnake fleeing a trail in Griffith Park, California: hauling ass to escape from the numerous hikers and mountain bikers who have stopped to snap photos or otherwise ogle it.

Young alligator fleeing our car in Arcadia, Florida.

Young alligator fleeing our car in Arcadia, Florida.

The WP Weekly Photo Challenge is to show “one”.

Creatures of Erosion – A Beach Rorschach

A very low tide at Santa Barbara, California’s East Beach reveals a sea wall whose barnacles, mussels, and erosion combine to suggest some magical creatures. Anyway, that is what I see. How about you?

A fantastical biped with another grazing behind?

A fantastical quadruped with another grazing behind?

The creatures look even more mysterious in shadow:

2013-11-03 15.17.43

Here are some close-ups of the creature’s hide:

2013-11-03 15.17.31

2013-11-03 15.18.18

Note the anemones nestled at the creature’s feet:

2013-11-03 15.19.45

Bag, Box, and Clubhouse

Warning: If you hate cute cat pix, stop reading now before you ruin your day.

Like all cats, the five in my household like to go inside stuff. It is the moments like these that persuade me to forgive them during times like these.

Here are Bop and Luna in a deep bag:

Bagful of cats.

Bagful of cats.

The kittens often play in a long narrow box. Arrow also uses the box when it’s time for her meds:

Ever tried to drag a cat out of a 6 foot x 5 inch box?

Bo, Leo, and Arrow spend many hours in a mostly dead bush that has become their clubhouse:

Entrance to the Clubhouse

Entrance to the Clubhouse

Can you spot Bo deep in the Clubhouse?

Can you spot Bo deep in the Clubhouse?

 

This is what one’s paws look like after a day in the Clubhouse:

Nothing is better than coming home filthy.

Few things are finer than coming home filthy.

 

Bop does about five times more cute stuff than any other cat I’ve known. This is likely related to her being such a jerk to the other cats. If she’s cute enough I won’t return her to the shelter? Hmm. May have worked so far. She likes to help me sort papers:

There. All arranged.

There. All arranged.

And in some situations she acknowledges the lowly human has the right idea:

PIllow and comforter enhance the nap experience.

A pIllow and comforter can enhance the nap experience.

For those of you who don’t know cats very well, an assurance: no cats were organized or arranged in the shooting of these photographs.

The Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see “Inside”.

Coming Soon: Cat Attack

The dog and I live with five cats. (Insert who-in-their-right-mind rant here.) It is almost a peaceable kingdom, with one glaring – and hissing – exception.

Shadow the rescue dog, age about 8, likes everybody.  She terrified kitten Leo until Leo discovered the dog tail as toy. Now all but one of the cats like the dog.

Shadow and Luna, lounging

Shadow and Luna

Luna and Bop, age 10, came from the same shelter on the same day. They mostly get along but never much bonded.  We blame Bop.

The oldsters, Bop and Luna, age 10.

The oldsters, Bop and Luna, age 10.

Luna likes everybody. For a long time he feared the dog. Eventually this fear evolved to a play arrangement with surprisingly specific terms: the dog can chase Luna  if the dog is in the backyard first and Luna arrives. In all other locations and situations, no chasing.

A new familiar sight - Luna napping with a youngster, in this case, Bo.

A new familiar sight – Luna napping with a youngster, in this case, Bo.

Arrow, Leo, and Bo, age 11 months, came from two different shelters on the same day. They could not be more loving and friendly to each other. All three are the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. Otherwise they have quite distinct personalities.

Waking up.

The youngsters, Bo, Leo, and Arrow, when they first joined the household.

Bop tolerates the dog but chases her if dinner is delayed and she is crabby.  Ditto Bop with her life partner, Luna. The reality is that Bop wants to be an only animal in a household where she never will be.

Bop hates the kittens and for months we had to keep them separate – no easy task in our 700 square foot home – lest she kill them. Now that two of the kittens are bigger than Bop, we let them mingle. The kittens are learning to stand their ground. We have six spray bottles of water stationed all over the house and yard. We spray Bop whenever we catch her messing with a kitten. Oh so gradually the violence seems to be lessening. But there are some days – you can just tell – Bop won’t be able to relax until she has kicked some kitten butt.

A peacekeeper.

A peacekeeper.

The situation is further complicated by the similarity in looks between mean old Bop and sweet young Arrow. What amazes me: the kittens can’t tell them apart, either! I thought animals used smell to identify. Maybe not, or maybe they can’t distinguish Bop from Arrow because the smells are so mixed up at our house. Whatever the explanation, the other youngsters, Bo and Leo, are always doing doubletakes when a tuxedo cat walks in.

There were too many instances of Leo and Bo clearly mistaking the two – running from their best friend Arrow, or running toward their enemy Bop – so now Bop wears a collar with a bell.  That seems to have helped some.

Typical sight around the household: Bop menacing a youngster.

Typical sight around the household: Bop menacing a youngster.

This time, the target is Arrow, just awakened from a nap to find Bop glaring at her.

This time, the target is Arrow, just awakened from a nap to find Bop glaring at her.

Pop quiz: who is this? Bop or Arrow? (answer on next page)

Pop quiz: who is this? Bop or Arrow? (answer on next page)