For many years, we have placed an artificial Christmas tree in our living room and adorned it with lights and toys in a manner consistent with people who hope for more lights and toys to be presented under its green-plastic presence come December 25.
For three years, not coincidentally the same number of Decembers that we have had Coco in the house, the majority of toys find their way to the floor long before the 25th, making the act of decorating the tree a near-daily event.
For being a chubby, rather uncoordinated, and remarkably clumsy Rag Doll kitty, Coco can zip up the tree, climbing nearly to its top, in a matter of seconds. The tree shakes with her ascension and toys tumble to the floor where her brothers await the falling bounty. The toys then visit the entire house at the direction of their paws, although most often delivered before the food dishes as if they were some sort of offering in exchange for full bowls of kibble.
Through all of this, Coco peeks out over the living room, her eyes wide and glowing against the lights, and her tail wagging out from the branches. Over these few years, the inner metal frame of the tree has become coated with her white and black fur, probably extracted from both her agile climbing and less impressive dives through the confines to the floor.
In fairness, most toys, while often displaced throughout the season, do not meet their demise at the teeth and claws of the cats. The only ornament that suffered this year was, oddly, a tiny cloth cardinal that looked much more real than the collection of Beanie Babies that mostly covers the branches. As if it were a real bird falling victim to the fat felines, the bird was dismantled feather by feather and spread across the living room.
I'm sure pretty, innocent Coco had nothing to do with this...
This was the first time I had ever caught the fishing cat sitting still, posing nicely for a picture. It was also exciting to see that the fishing cat apparently shares the same genes that provide the classic "leave me alone, I'm trying to sleep" look that our house cats get.
Leave me alone.
Leave me alone.
Leave us alone.
Poor Ozzy. He hates the camera so.
I managed to get one shot of him where he isn't pulling his head away in terror, only to get a shot of his chin that happened to be full of blackheads that particular evening. Most of the shots look like Calvin & Hobbes family photo where Calvin is making a horrid face. How such a cute cat like Ozzy could look so unhappy?
Don't believe me?
Because it has been a while.
Lately, Monty has enjoyed taking over the sleeping spots of his brother and sisters. Sasha has enjoyed the old couch, so naturally Monty moved in. Fortunately, it is big enough for both of them.
And it is too hot to goof around, says Sasha.
But never too hot for Ozzy to roll, especially by the AC vent.
Coco, wary as ever.
Two Friday's ago, I went to the pet store to pick up a giant bag of food for our Hoovers. A local rescue team, Four Paws usually has a couple cats in the store who I stop by to pet and encourage them that they'll find a good home soon.
Monty, one of two orphans, raised his nose to nudge my finger through the bars of the cage immediately. He was an active, loving little guy who was quick to follow me with his eyes and direct his head to my extended hand. I'm not typically a sucker for this type of display; while I'd gladly take all the cats in the store home, I figure the friendly ones are destined to find owners soon enough.
It wasn't until I read the printed story of Monty that I became compelled by the guy. While most cats are rescued from a dire state (Coco was alone only two days after birth; Oz was saved only a day from being put down at a pound), Monty had simply been exiled from his home for not being "outgoing" enough.
As I've said more than once since then, if not being outgoing was a valid reason for being thrown out of a home, I probably would have spent my whole life in a cage at a pet store.
Perhaps needless to say, this got me good and spun. One day later I had Nicole at the store to bask in Monty's loving attention; two days we had an application in; three days I convinced Four Paws that Monty would have a good home with us; and in four days he was living in our spare bedroom.
Ozzy approaches Monty cautiously, but for the most part they seem friendly together.
Sasha is more hesitant that I would have thought, watching the BigBlackFurry beast from a safe distance.
Coco's just a spaz. She always will be.
Monty is fitting in with the crew very well. He is more loving that we ever could have imagined, and while outgoing might not be a valid description for him, he certainly likes to follow us everywhere, seeking attention at every turn. His introduction to the house has been intentionally slow, but everyday he is more comfortable and we are happy to have him.
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