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Animal

I Thought Different

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I thought cats hated water. I thought they hated to be wet. I thought they hated baths. And mostly I think they do – not like water. And there’s always the exception. His name is Willow. He’s fat. You would need side by side comparison. But trust me, he’s fat. Well, relative to Lulu, he is. Funny! I was never ever a cat person. The felines are not friendly and don’t do as you please. They don’t roll over and they never fetch. Cats train humans to do their bidding. How? It’s like being subservient to your spouse. You live longer. So. Willow stands by the sink. He jumps to the counter from a standing position. That would be like me leaping a nine foot wall in a single bound. Nope, not me, not on a good day and never ever on a bad day. Then he waits. Lurks. Just sits patiently until I notice him. Then he gets all excited. I let the water trickle and he might jump into the sink or not. He will let the water run over his cheeks. And he will lap at it. This goes on for several minutes. Then he’s done. Meanwhile I watch. He gets soaked. He soaks the counter and the floor. He splashes and frolics. I get to clean up. It’s kind of like cleaning up after my kids. Oh joy!


Lulu

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There’s been a clamor in the family for a picture of Lulu. It’s a silly but has Arabic roots because it means pearl. Had I known she would adopt me I would have picked another name. But now I call her Squeaky. It doesn’t matter. She doesn’t respond to either name. Maybe it’s my poor Arabic. Or, she doesn’t speak human. For sure she doesn’t follow commands – simple or complex. But she squeaks. No meow. No howl or whine, it’s squeak. And she does it and it works because I come when she squeaks. Yes, I’m getting my star as a trained human.

When she adopted me I was ok. And I waited to see if she really wanted to stay. This morning she tested me. She went on out the door and sat under the hedge and munched grass. She did not respond to my call or my offer to let her back into the house. Later when I got home from work, no Lulu. I whistle and the other cats in the compound come around to eat for free. No Lulu. Went to lunch… and upon return I found a cat meowing – not Lulu. But after a minute of whistling, along she came. And she squeaked. She’s got a streak of dirt along her nose. I was good. I was going away for a couple weeks. Now I have to engage the care giver to look in on my new found cat. It’s never boring in my house. Did I mention that she chases her tail?


Bidi

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Yes, in the middle of a sandstorm, I’m out feeding the cats. Bidi and Lily are outdoor cats. They hang around the compound but are not adopted. The guys at the gate feed them. And countless other tenants do the same too? Lily was showing up regularly. But on this day, Bidi is the one who appeared. Ok, you show up, you get fed. It would not be a notable event. But in the sandstorm and with a silly expression, well, that merits a pause. With point and shoot cameras, and with animal shots, like fish, you can be surprised by what shows up. Auto focus changed the game long ago. Now, just point and shoot. Yeah, I’m finally in the new century. Amazing, when you suddenly have insight into what everyone has known for years. But I grew up before cellphones. Imagine that! Beam me up Scottie!


Interlude II

IMG_8960It’s a memory test. Back on March 21, I wrote the first post and forgot two images. Aha! Too late. So, new post. The first is my sea lion. The poor guy was lethargic and in retrospect, I agree, he was probably ill. At the time I was more thankful that he posed and did not shuffle away. In fact, he stayed in place for several hours at least. He made no move when I approached. I apologize that I never considered calling for help.

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As I related to you, Stewart arrived twenty minutes later. He’d rushed to get his camera. I already was on the scene and had my camera and my shots. So I took advantage to work the scene. It was at Stewart’s expense. His daughter and mine are best friends from kindergarten. So Stewart and I have spent many a time photographing subjects. One rule: get low, it gives you a more natural image from that angle. Adapting that, he knelt on the pavement. A purist would have gone for the rocks. I laughed. The daughters will too. Me? I just sat down. No need to scrape my knees and elbows. I took advantage of civilization.


Adopted

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Cats. I wrote about the bunch I have befriended. They are an independent lot. They come around when I whistle. I feed them. Lulu has adopted me. She moved in a couple days ago. And though I open the door, she stays. About the last thing I expected was to be chosen by a cat. Trust me. It’s a surprise to me too. To be sure, they choose you. Badi is friendly and loves to be petted. He comes to the door but won’t come in. Lily and Butch still swipe at me when I feed them. Lulu walked through the door and then proceeded to explore. Her tail was high in the air and trembling. Apparently she approved of my incredibly messy villa. She made no move to leave. She and I learned about kitty litter together. I will say that cats are smart. She got the concept immediately. Dogs do not. We are going slow.

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Lulu had her first overnight. She’s been here a day. Eat, sleep, explore, and play. So far so good. I was never too good with diapers. So me and kitty litter are having issues. First of all they don’t sell much cat food. The grocery in Delaware had a whole aisle devoted to pet food. In Jeddah there is a small section and few choices. And there is no litter box. And, whoever heard of clumping! I’m not sure what I got into here. But I belong to Lulu now. Let’s see where it goes. Fetch, roll over?


Interlude

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Mission… be down at the entrance to the campground to pick up breakfast for selected close family and guests. Adults. The kids were asleep – too many smores, more likely too much beer and wine. Then someone walked back from the beach with an iPhone picture moments old of a sea lion. Gee! The choices! Luckily Stewart was there and we were released to head to the beach in the drizzle. Yes! Drizzle! A steady wet drizzle had settled in and it was guaranteed to make it a wet wedding day! Yes, nuts! I had moments before been up at the very top of the hill having a Father of the Bride moment. We figure this guy was ill. Or, his mom had been killed. He sat forlornly and did not move off as I approached. Stewart had raced up the hill to get his camera so I had a “sea lion moment.” He kept his eyes closed mostly. I actually got down pretty close. And once I had the shot I cast my eye toward getting a different image. Work the scene! Poor Stewart, the silly things we do to get the perfect angle. No, I did not get on my knees. But I got low and close. Breakfast was delivered. Everyone ate. I got my shot and breakfast too. Neat!


Lulu

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Ok, I suppose I secretly have a favorite. It would have been a tie with Badi. But Lulu turned out to be the one. Lulu, the name means pearl in Arabic; I took the time to look at some popular Arabic names. She more or less adopted me. One day I opened the door and in she walked. She had been in a spat with Lily and did not want to be near her. Did I mention that they usually all got separate piles of food? Yeah, five separate piles, like setting a table, each time they fed everyone had their own place and space. Badi and she will share. They actually nuzzle one another. Otherwise each keeps to his own space.

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So, in she strolls. Her tail was straight up and shaking. Cat lovers will know what all of this means. I kind of get it. I fed her right at my stairs. Lulu ate and looked much more at ease that Lily was not a potential threat. Then Lulu took a stroll around my place. It’s not a neatly kept villa. My bad. She haunched back down to eat and had dust in her whiskers and on her toes. Yeah, my housekeeping skills need an upgrade. Then she got really brave and walked upstairs and downstairs and explored, all the while not panicking that she had no door out. No, I don’t leave the door open. We have mosquitoes. And I get bitten frequently. And I don’t want an obscure tropical disease. Yes, cats carry disease but Lulu looks clean enough and so far I am still healthy. After she explored, I felt distinctly as though I had been on tryouts.

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The next morning as I came do to get my stuff ready, there was the sound of meowing I could not place. It turns out Lulu was outside the door waiting to hear me move about. She walked right in again and sat and ate. One evening she tried to persuade Badi to come in again. He wasn’t having any. So they both stayed away. Needless to say Lulu is friendly. She and Badi will rub all around me and hide under my legs for protection. Neither of these two nip or scratch. I can even jostle and lightly annoy them with hugs. They are easygoing. The big test is whether they are still hanging about while I am gone a couple weeks. I think so, they are getting fed from somewhere else, and they were getting along somehow before I started to feed them. Who knows? You know? Even as I write up this post I’m still having trouble telling Lulu from Lily. Imagine forgetting your kids’ names or their birthdays. Geee!


Bidi

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Bidi is female and pregnant I suspect. She’s got a big belly. She is semi friendly to the others but also came later. She looks a bit like Badi, hence, the rhyming name. Not too imaginative, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She has been regularly feeding till a few days ago.

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I haven’t seen her in a week and suspect that she might have a new litter of kittens. I don’t know whether she’ll come around soon. Meanwhile she was medium friendly. I could pet her once in a while and otherwise she maintained her own space with the group, which meant approach at your own peril. No fights but it was clear that there was a zone of personal space around her.


Lily

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Lily showed up late but is a fairly regular cat now. She looked enough like Lulu that I called her Lily just to have a similar sounding name. Hey, it’s cats we are naming here. And besides, they don’t respond much to their name. What the heck, they may have entirely different names amongst themselves. Am I talking to much to myself here? Maybe I’ve been alone too long? Note to self: check sanity.

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Lily looks enough like Lulu that I have trouble telling them apart in the dark. The noses are colored differently. And Lily appears to have been pregnant in the past. The fact the Lulu looks alike does not reflect that the two are hissing enemies. Lulu, mainly, is very unhappy to be near Lily. See the difference? That’s Lulu below.

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Lily for the large part is aloof to the others and often eats apart. She will sit upright prim and proper and then depart before the others. Lulu remains on guard till she goes. Badi tries to siddle up for a mating try. For the most part Lily is solitary.


Butch

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Do you see where this is going? Five cats – five days – five characters – who’d have thunk me a cat person. Nope. Not me, I’m a dog guy. Ha!

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He’s a little guy, the smallest male that comes around. So he is definitely not an alpha male. He’s timid and suspicious. He would run when I looked at him. And if I made a hand movement in his direction he would back off. He likes to eat but he does not come around every feeding.

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However, I do tend to see him with Badi and Lulu. He did not show up right away when I was naming cats. So with his size, timidity, and occasional feisty behavior, I thought that Butch fits. Sorry it’s not Arabic.

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It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t respond to the name. He and I have a shotgun relationship. He wants to eat but does not tolerate and physical contact. He swipes at me with claws fully extended in defensive position.

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And he will bite at me. Rude but understandable, he and I have reached an agreement. I make a move toward him. He backs off. And then I lay down some food to eat.

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That way I don’t get damaged and he gets fed. I make sure he gets a share of tuna. Otherwise, he’d be shut out by the rest of the group. You might say he’s the smallest because of his size. Circular reasoning?


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