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The Cats of University Heights: Roadie

According to Herbie, The Love Bug‘s owner, several “communal” cats live along Panorama, which circles round to Adams Ave. at both ends. Several neighbors put out food for them; the tiger tabby that I encountered on April 15, 2018 is among their members.

Herbie’s caretaker couldn’t give me a name for the female shorthair, who may have none. But she’s a long-time fixture, as are several others along a street where coyotes climb out of the canyon hunting for food (yikes, like cats). I dub this mature madam: Roadie, because she hung out between two cars and the sidewalk long enough for me to slowly approach and capture eight shots over two minutes. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Herbie, The Love Bug

Some of the neighborhood’s felines are blessed with memorable names—such as Captain Blackbeard, Daniel Tiger, E.T. (for Exotic Tail), Itchy Valentino, Mr. Kitty, and Persepolis. For this Caturday, we celebrate with the unforgettable Herbie, The Love Bug—and, yes, that is his real name. Perhaps you’ve seen one of the Disney films featuring the charismatic car (VW Beetle) that inspires this handsome shorthair’s moniker.

I met Herbie and his owner along Panorama on April 18, 2018. She sat on doorway steps, while The Love Bug lay prone sunning. He is an indoor putty-tat who gets supervised outdoor jaunts. It’s an exercise of love: At 14, he couldn’t jump over the tasteful fence onto the sidewalk, so he is fairly safe on the lawn. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Lucky

I can’t imagine why we have come to either the fourteenth or fifteenth black cat—depending on whether or not Betty and Betty, Too are the same animals—without one being named, or in this instance nicknamed, Lucky. The others: Black, FangFarfisa, Frenemy, MikaPee-Pee, PeoheSiestaSkull, Sky, Token, and Wink.

My wife and I encountered Lucky on April 11, 2018 by the same apartment complex where Blue Too and Chub hang out—and presumably live—along Campus Ave. beyond Madison approaching the overlook. I used Leica Q to capture the Featured Image at 8:41 a.m. PDT. Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/5.6, ISO 320, 1/250 sec, 28mm. 

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Where Does the Lafayette Belong?

San Diego’s Hillcrest and North Park districts are local cultural and nightlife hotspots, much more so than the neighborhood where my family lives—University Heights. Because of zip codes—92103 vs 92116—there is sometimes confusion, which admittedly may be intentional, about what business belongs to which of the three. For the record, according to the official maps, UH extends outside 92116, well past The Boulevard all the way to Lincoln, which is the last major parallel street before University Avenue and the main Hillcrest and North Park strips.

The historic, and entertainment lively, Lafayette Hotel claims to be “tucked snugly in the vibrant North Park neighborhood”. That would be the case if located on the other side of Texas Street. But the place is “tucked snugly” inside University Heights, I say. Also, El Cajon Blvd is more ghetto than “vibrant”—no disrespect to the businesses along the strip or people living on or around it (I am among the latter). 

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The Cats of University Heights: Aylin

What a lucky Friday the 13th find is this adorable white, which my wife spotted six days ago as we walked by Carmelita Drive where it meets Mission Hills. Aylin, or so her tag says, stood quietly in the grass of one house before coming out into the street to greet us.

I captured the Featured Image and companion using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals for the first: f/8, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 50mm; 9:30 a.m. PDT. The other, taken four minutes later, is same except for 1/125 sec shutter speed. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Amble

As I walked along Georgia from Howard towards Polk, a hobbling feline approached on the sidewalk. As you can see from the Featured Image, the kitty that I nickname Amble is missing part of the front right leg. The shorthair moved behind cars, found a place to relieve itself, then continued along the wall to the sidewalk, before going up stairs to a dwelling and disappearing beneath.

I captured the moment with the iPhone X second camera, which acts like a 2x optical zoom. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/2558 sec, 6mm; April 14, 2018, 10:43 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Sky

Along Lincoln Ave., near Vermont Street, a black shorthair stared out a window as I passed on April 2, 2018. The beastie is the twenty-second to appear in the series from behind a window. The beauty that I nickname Sky (can you guess why) is either the thirteenth or fourteenth Halloween cat, depending on whether or not Betty and Betty, Too are the same animals. The others: Black, FangFarfisa, Frenemy, MikaPee-Pee, PeoheSiestaSkull, Token, and Wink.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 10:33 a.m. PDT. The companion photo is the uncropped original. 

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The Cats of University Heights: STAR

This beautiful kitten earns nickname Blend for being somewhat camouflage-colored against an area in the neighborhood known as the Point. My wife and I encountered her quite unexpectedly on April 10, 2018, frolicking about and seeking attentive pats, which you can see Anne giving in the Featured Image and its companion.

We were both concerned about the calico’s interest in the canyon below. Anne and I have often joked about scaling down the hill to Wendy’s for a burger; the fast food place looks so close. There be coyotes, which wouldn’t bother us but could make a snack of our new-found friend. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Gracie

My wife and I unexpectedly encountered two 18-year-old felines on the same afternoon, April 12, 2018. The first, Precious, lives on Alabama Street. Anne called my attention to the other, on Louisiana between Madison and Monroe; I crossed the street to capture the moment—and unexpectedly meet her owners. Her name, Gracie, comes from the Bible. Appropriately, perhaps, her owner choosing it is called Kitty.

Gracie came to her owners as a pregnant stray, who would bear four kittens. The married couple of five years (at the time) kept the momma—and from the litter one male, who later died. He was a brat, whose misbehavior led her to be somewhat shy and reclusive. But after his untimely passing, she found herself, warming greatly to her caretakers.

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The Cats of University Heights: Precious

We welcome this fine Caturday with the first of two 18-year-old kitties met on the same day, April 12, 2018. Precious resides next to Smokey, who lives, or did, next to Monkey, before his recent passingLaramie and Lupe are across the street. Those are real names all. Holiday is the other furball from the same block of Alabama. Precious is the seventeenth furball featured in the series from this street.

Her home is undergoing renovations, which presented uncharacteristic sighting opportunity. The owner explained that Precious typically suns behind a grated security door, which makes her difficult to see from outside. But with the enclosure temporarily removed, she sunned in the open doorway while he talked to construction workers. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Cali

Along Golden Gate between Cleveland and Maryland Avenues, on April 8, 2018, my wife and I met two kitties that appeared to be companions. I nicknamed the other Bushy. A neighbor says, and I can’t confirm, this lovely calico is Cali.

The shorthair was friendly enough with the neighbor—and her dog Shelly—but kept distance from me. I used Leica Q to capture the Featured Image and its companion, 8:29 and 8:37 a.m. PDT, respectively. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm. The second is same, except for shutter speed: 1/400 sec.