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The weather improved today, while still cool (mid 60s) it was sunny.  The Oak Court Cats were on the back steps this morning, warming themselves.  Missey prefers to take a nap in the morning sun stretched out on my desk.  today, she ventured out to take advantage of the sun’s warmth on the concrete steps.

They had been there for a half an hour when the first visitor came up the walk.  The squirrels.

Missey was asleep and didn’t notice the gray squirrel that walked right by her and up the steps.   The big cat, sitting in the old planter by the door just watched and the predator was more interested in a dragon fly than the squirrel.

The picture is a little blurry, I was at the other end of the house when I noticed the squirrel looking around the kitchen.  They know the peanuts are in a special container (I keep them in an old Folgers plastic coffee can).  She was looking for the can.

Sneaky Squirrel

We may have brought this on  ourselves; the squirrels come by in the morning for a few peanuts.  At first they’d approach the house slowly, wary of the cats.  Now, however, they come up to door and beyond.  It would seem the cats have figured out the gray furballs are no threat and and because they people feed them, they must be ok and are not to be attacked.

So they walk right by the cats.

I’ve seen other cats putting up with them; our first cat, a mellow Manx, was born in a house that had a squirrel in residence and he must have thought they were part of the pride.  When Missey was much younger, she used to chase them from the yard; now, however, she only chases the other cats away from her nap spot.

We have a dozen furry visitors now, the oldest being a chubby female (the alpha from the way she acts) all the way down to 2 small young ones (who haven’t figured out the cats yet). There is an old guy, looks like he’s been through a few fights (torn ear, right foreleg looks like it was damaged and didn’t heal right).  While most are California gray squirrels, there are a few brown and one who is almost black.  A diverse group who make their homes in the trees just outside of the yard.

The cats have accepted the visitors, probably until one of them touches the cat food.  Things could change then.

Nite.

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It’s been a week since Peanut passed away and the cats have begun to move on.

The Queen continues to walk through the house looking for the tabby.  She assumed the role of  ‘alpha’ a few years ago and keeps an eye on the rest of the pride.  In the mornings she comes into the kitchen for first feeding and looks around then sits, looking at me.  The tabby would usually be sitting up on the kitchen stool, waiting patiently for breakfast.  Missey looks at the stool then back at me.  Yes Missey, I know, Peanut isn’t here today.

The big cat is a little lost as well.  He enters the living room looking for Peanut; the 2 of them would roll around the floor in mock combat then head to the kitchen for a quick snack before resuming the battle.  Now he comes in the room and looks around.  Mr Big has taken to sleeping on my bed at night; he used to bunk with Peanut on the couch.

The biggest change of all has been with the tonkinese, the predator.  She doesn’t go out as much as before and is becoming a lap cat.  She even puts up with the big cat’s attention now.

It’ll take a few weeks or maybe a few months before they’ve all adjusted to the smaller pride.  Missey will continue to watch over the 2 younger ones.

The humans have also began to move on.  I still pause when I go through the kitchen, expecting to see Peanut on the stool, looking for a snack.  He had developed a habit of reaching out with his paw and tapping me on the arm when he wanted to get my attention.  I miss that.

Later.

It’s quiet on the court tonight.    The cats are settled down early tonight; it’s been a rough few days here.

Mr. Peanut, the tabby, didn’t come in on Sunday evening.  We looked around the neighborhood but he didn’t come back to the house.  We know that occasionally a cat will find something that they find interesting and they loose track of time.  We  humans have learned to expect this behavior.

Monday morning came and he didn’t come in.  We were worried and started to canvass the neighborhood again.  Calls to animal control and the Humane Society were made; no sign of the golden tabby.

On Tuesday evening, on a hunch I went out into the yard again, looking places I had looked earlier. I found my tabby.

I remember how he was on Sunday.  We had rain in the morning followed by a gradual clearing and warmup during the day.    Mr. Peanut spent the morning sitting on the table next to me as I read the paper.  I would read the comics and editorials to him; he would look at my face as I droned on about rising gas  prices and unemployment rates.

Some time in the early evening Mr. P snacked on some crunchie munchies then went out to the back yard.  He’d usually follow the walk around the yard, behind the shed, along the fence and back to the steps.  I was busy and didn’t see where he went.  Late,r when I called him to come in, he never showed.

Tonight, for no real reason, I walked to the back of the property and looked around .  There I saw him.  He was laying down, as if asleep.  Peaceful.

Mr. Peanut had gone back there to be alone, laid down, as if to take a nap.

So tonight the cats came in early, they seemed to know we were sad and their mood was subdued.  I’ll miss him, his funny meow that sounded like he was saying “hel – low”.

Nite.