Category: Critters

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Free Moose

There are times when human relationship drama is so bizarre and intense you feel like you’re living in a TV soap opera. Thus sums up recovering Moose, who belonged to one neighbor and which another catnapped. I played my role.

My wife and I first encountered the tortoiseshell, running off her porch to greet us, in early December 2017—and I profiled her in my “Cats of University Heights” series. We saw her at least once more, months later, in the building’s parking lot. Thirteen days ago, someone direct-messaged me on NextDoor about the kitty. He had seen my photos and wondered if she was a stray, as she frequented his property. For the purpose of privacy, I am changing the names of all the participants. We will call this gentleman Jerry.  He asked where I had seen Moose. I gave an approximate address and expressed confidence that the tortie belonged to someone. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Little

My wife called it a “tiger cat convention”—three beasties from the same household gathered around the front yard. We had never seen such a sight, and the owner later told me that it was a rare occurrence.

Little, who is shy compared to companions Bruce and Guido, is reasonably reluctant. At about two weeks old, he pushed through a neighbor’s fence to escape several dogs. That gent didn’t know what to do with the kitten; Guido’s mom stepped in, even feeding the furry tyke from a bottle those first days in her care. 

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Be Brave, Bunny

While walking along Park Blvd today, I saw something quite unexpected on the block between El Cajon and Howard: A frantic rabbit hopping around the sidewalk looking for refuge and finding none. I snapped the Featured Image and companion using  iPhone X, being careful not to approach too closely.

But eventually the exhaust roar of a city bus startled the bunny, which sprinted from the Bruno pizzeria doorway across busy Park Blvd to the Chevron petrol station. Presumably he continued across six lanes of Washington Street traffic to San Diego school administration buildings, where there are places the little hopper could find cover and familiar surroundings—like bushes and trees.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gipper

We follow up Dare with another white furball that my wife and I saw along the Campus-Cleveland Avenues’ ally between Madison and Meade on May 22, 2018. As expressed a few days back, there is a backlog of photographed but not published cats. More are in store.

I captured the Featured Image using the Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. The companion photo is the uncropped, but edited, original. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 50mm; 10:29 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Dare

A few buildings down from where Moose lives along Adams Ave. East of Park Blvd., a shorthair—who for no particular reason earns nickname Dare—looks out on May 20, 2018. The putty-tat is the twenty-fifth window watcher among the 184 profiles since the series started in October 2016.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Focus was a bit difficult to nail perfectly. The portrait is good enough if not viewed full size. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 50mm; 10:51 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokie

Here’s the continuation of an unexpected story. In late January 2018, I met Lola, as her owner returned home with groceries. When the cat came outdoors, she spooked another kitty that neither of us humans had seen. The little grey returned, continuing to do so over the months since—or so I would learn.

Walking to my daughter’s apartment today, I observed that same frisky feline sitting in Lola’s yard. I snapped the Featured Image, using iPhone X, at 8:43 a.m. PDT, along Polk approaching Park. Late afternoon, when returning home, I saw Lola’s caretaker working in the yard and asked about the visitor. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Vivienne

Our first feline of June is Vivienne, who adornes this fine Caturday with her loveliness. We met on May 31, 2018 along Meade between Campus and Cleveland. Coincidentally, she resides in the same house as Sophie, who moved away with her owner around Sept. 1, 2017.

In the adjacent property, feral kittens and their Momma briefly lived before being trapped by neighborhood teens and taken to the local animal shelter for adoption. They joined the series in mid-August 2017. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Envy

The one-hundred eighty-first profile in the series is the fifth where we take liberties with the neighborhood’s boundaries. One-half block beyond, along Mississippi between Lincoln and University, the juxtaposition of squirrel outside taunting its freedom before an indoor kitty was just too timely to resist. So here we be, with a shorthair I dub Envy. The rodent remains nameless.

I shot the Featured Image with iPhone X on May 22, 2018 at 4:06 p.m. PDT. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/417 sec, 6mm. The companion comes from Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens, one minute later. Vitals: f/8 or f/11, ISO 100, 1/45 sec, 50mm. The original camera capture is more color accurate than the handset; however, I changed contrast and hues to make the animals more obvious. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Donuts

Eleven days ago, I spotted for the first time a handsome, and lanky, tiger tabby resting in the driveway of a home on Louisiana between Adams and Madison. While we greeted one another on other days, he presented best profile opportunity—and our Featured Image—during that first meeting.

I wanted to immediately add the shorthair to the series but waited, hoping to get his name. For the next week, I purposely walked by the property in search of an owner, whose acquaintance I finally made on May 15, 2018. The eleven year-old cat is Donuts—yes, plural, which makes sense to me, strangely. Donuts’ dad also is from Maine, but down south in Bethel (I grew up in Caribou). It’s a cultural thing. Your sweet thing isn’t singular but in abundance.

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The Cats of University Heights: Ghost

Since April 4, 2018, I have sought a close-quarters portrait of a massive light-grey longhair that lives in the yard of a house along Florida Street near Adams Ave. The kitty earns nickname Ghost, by appearing for one meaningful moment—on the 12th, along with Coon—and not since. I delayed profiling both furfalls, and companion Wily, waiting for another opportunity. I haven’t seen Ghost since.

I used Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to shoot the Featured Image. Vitals: f/5.6 or f/8, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 50mm; 8:13 a.m. PDT.