Blackout Shades

The tail of our cat Trixie is visible behind a blackout shade in our bedroom on July 22, 2022. Original: _ZF23653.NEF

One nice thing while I was quarantined in July is the bedroom has blackout shades on its windows, so I could keep the room dark to make it easier to try and sleep off the illness. It’s hard to get them to come down the last little bit to the window sill but sometimes I leave some extra room regardless, to allow curious cats to sneak in behind them for backyard birdwatching. Trixie was one of my convalescence companions, though at times it was hard to tell if my fever had returned or I was just feeling flush from the heat of Little Furnace sleeping on my legs.

It’s the first time I’ve appreciated the bedroom being so big, normally it’s just wasted space for us but it was nice while it was my home inside our home for a couple of weeks. It gave me plenty of room to play with Bear when he was allowed in, it was nice to have time to bond with the pup, normally hard to do except on the weekends.

Quarantine Companion

Our cat Boo rests on our bed with his legs stretched out in front of him on July 26, 2022. Original: _Z723656.NEF

One night in July I woke to my teeth chattering so badly I had to clench my jaw to get them to stop, not exactly normal for the middle of the Arizona summer. The thermometer confirmed a low grade fever and the rapid test confirmed Covid, which I later discovered was quietly sweeping through the plant. I quarantined in the bedroom, at first we kept the pets out but after talking with the vet we allowed them in when I was feeling better. Boo even slept on my chest at one point, something he hasn’t done since he was a kitten, he usually prefers curling up beside me.

In the early days Boo and Trixie occasionally complained outside the door about not being let in, with paws swiping under the door to try to catch my attention, but if Sam was still with us we would have had to let them in and just brought in litter boxes and food. He would have curled up on my chest and been annoyed if I coughed too much, but not so much as to actually get up. I would have been serenaded to sleep by the purrs of a cat who was happy so long as we were together.

Ordinary Days

Our dog Bear sleeps on his dog bed while our cats Boo and Trixie sit on the futon on April 10, 2022. Original: _Z721143.NEF

If this seems like a picture of an ordinary living room, it is, and it’s why I love it. When we first adopted Bear we kept him in our large bedroom as he would sometimes chase the cats. I wasn’t too worried he was going to physically hurt them but he needed to be calm around his furry masters so they wouldn’t live in terror of him. He had lived with cats before but I didn’t see much indication of it and felt if he didn’t get better quickly we wouldn’t be able to keep him.

I took the picture in April on a day off when I brought him into the living room and had him stay on his bed and let the cats come as close as they wanted. The cats grew up with Ellie so were willing to give him a chance but not if he was going to chase them. The first day I had to keep him on a pretty short leash but on this the second day he was much more relaxed. When he fell asleep I got up and sat on the couch and Trixie came in and sat behind me, eventually even Boo worked up the courage to sit beside me. When they were both a little more relaxed I got up to take a picture of the three of them, and while I did Boo stole my spot. Some traditions must be upheld even in the presence of a scary dog.

I’m thankful to say Bear’s cat manners did improve as he got used to the little ones and he eventually earned his freedom to roam the house. With Boo I would feed both he and Bear some of Boo’s favorite treats and Boo would come right up next to Bear for those, which helped them get used to each other. I had to laugh when one day I came home from work and both Boo and Bear came to meet me at the door, with Boo standing underneath Bear, a sign of how far we had come. Trixie was less afraid of him from the get go but I knew she was getting used to him when she was sleeping on my legs and Bear came in and gave her a good sniff and then licked her in the face and she took the indignity in stride.

Samwise 2007 – 2022

A close-up of our cat Sam sleeping in my lap on February 21, 2022. Original: _ZFC0381.NEF

Oh this hurts. Sam’s heart failed and we had him euthanized a little while ago. He died peacefully, curled up in my lap and purring until the anesthesia took hold. I’m glad he didn’t suffer and that we could be with him at the end, but his loss is going to sting for a while. This was my view for most of the past fourteen years, Sam asleep in my lap. The background behind him changed at times, as did the cast of characters curled up beside him, but he was my constant companion throughout his life.

I’ll write more later when the tears aren’t streaming so steadily.

Old Cat, New Trick

Our cat Boo looks at our cat Sam as Sam sits in a cardboard box on December 22, 2021. Original: _ZFC0082.NEF

Boo looks at Sam in one of his Boo Boxes, both a little proud that for once he could teach big brother a new trick instead of the other way round, but also realizing the box he wants might now be occupied. Fortunately for Boo Sam only sleeps in the boxes on occasion, plus Boo generally prefers the smaller boxes while Sam only likes the big ones.

From December when I was playing around with the Nikon.

At Least It’s Friday …

A close-up of our cat Boo sleeping smushed up against the couch on March 5, 2022. Original: _ZFC1673.NEF

If it looks like he’s being punished this is how Boo chooses to sleep many evenings, when I sit down on the couch he wedges himself into the gap between me and the edge of the couch. The Great Boneless Boo excels at squeezing into tight spots but the problem is when I’m working on my laptop my right elbow wants to go where a smushed up Boo resides. Sometimes he’ll curl up on my legs as he is now, the other night when his siblings came in to join him the problem became that with a Sam / Trixie / Boo train running down my legs there was no lap left for the laptop.

Good problems to have.