Progress report September 19: Ghosts!

Imagine looking down at your lap and being greeted by this? Freak you right the hell out, wouldn’t it? But no, we’re haunted by the cutest little wraiths any medium has ever seen. Noisy, though.

Since the last report, things have proceeded apace. While the fourth still remains very spooky for some reason, three have now gotten used to hand-feeding, and through some unabashed sneakiness, we now have them getting used to petting as well. Roast beef can accomplish a lot (and it also creates monsters, so be warned.)

We still haven’t named them, since we’re still resolute about placing them in other homes, as well as not really making the effort as yet. However, the calitabby-point we’ve started to simply refer to as “Cali” for convenience, and since we’re ridiculously unoriginal. She is clearly older than the others, and based on some evidence discovered yesterday, we’re fairly sure all of them were abandoned by the neighbors when they were evicted (yes, we’re in a stellar neighborhood.) She’s pretty forthright, and my first attempts at petting were greeted with slaps, but she’s also far too curious and hyperactive, so people have simply been a fascination with her. When she was out exploring in the house yesterday evening, we were moving about as normal and pretending not to notice, to let them get used to our presence without feeling they were watched or threatened. Cali, however, repeatedly darted back and forth past us, as if trapped by our moving from room to room, yet she never went very far away and kept returning – we soon determined that she was actually enjoying this game of keepaway, and liked it even more when I reached down as she darted past and tried to touch her. Even when I was successful, she turned around and came back immediately.

Later on, as I ate my dinner of ravioli and meatballs, she came up onto the chair beside me and actually talked to me in a quiet voice. I thought she was getting a little more people-oriented, but this just goes to show that we tend to be too self-centered when observing: she was after the food, and soon slipped onto the table to help herself. Yes, we’re discouraging that. But she’s gotten used to petting enough now that when I tiptoe in during down time and visit them in their bed, she’ll actually start purring loudly before I’ve even gotten to her.

The bolder lynx point is also getting quite social, and frequently greets us with interest in the morning, though he’s not quite ready to come up for attention yet – give it a day or two. He’s extremely playful, as was seen in the last progress report, and at least twice a day starts tearing around the living room, whether he’s accompanied by playmates or not. Just minutes ago, he was involved in a three-way with Cali and the flame-point, thundering between rooms and trilling excitedly (if you’ve never had kittens, I can’t describe this sound in print adequately, but it’s an excited short burst of purring, comparable to a raccoon’s call – of course you know what that sounds like.) Because of his photo at top and the ability to produce more noise when playing than a cat should, I think I’m going to start calling him Marley, after Dickens’ Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol, of course.

Earlier today, I decided to play hardball, and sat at my computer with the roast beef and made them come to me. Only Cali and Marley accepted this, but both were coaxed into my lap and received some petting between snacks. The weather has turned a bit chilly recently, a blessing in that I was wearing jeans, the first time I’ve not been in shorts since March; this gave them something to climb, which I’m hoping they get out of when they gain confidence, and will simply jump up when seeking attention. Cali soon lost interest once I put the food away, but Marley liked the petting and began to feel comfortable, so much that when I inadvertently spooked him from my lap, he returned a moment later, then began a quick game of tail chasing. He tried a brief game of “Hang From The Knee and Bite The Denim,” something one of my previous cats used to do on the arm of the couch – I refer to it as a squirrel-killing routine, simply because they appear to like hanging upright and biting the hell out of something. Marley then explored the computer desk a little, but came back and actually began playing with my fingers. He even looked up at me and meowed for attention, the first time I’ve heard him make noise other than during Mortal Komcat. And as I type, he and the flame-point just thundered across the room to my feet, oblivious to this looming human presence. They’re coming along just fine.

By the way, the pic at top was produced when I failed to give the flash time to recharge. I’ve been using a strobe bounced from the ceiling for most of these shots, since it produces very natural-looking light without the dreaded redeye, but it means lots more light is needed than for direct flash, so the strobe takes a moment to recharge. Marley, however, refused to hold still during the longer exposure required by the dark corner where I sat.

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