Tag: animals

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The Cats of University Heights: Wily

For more than a month, I have stalked what looked like one large feline but turned out to be three in a lush yard near where Florida meets Adams. Finally, you will meet them, as they are presented consecutively.

We begin with the one seen first, crossing an alley around April 2, 2018. Two days later, I returned to the area, discovered the nearby lovely kitty habitat, and started shooting portraits of his compatriots. The Featured Image and companion were taken on the 28th, using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. I nickname the kitty Wily, for avoiding my camera for so long and posing on his (or her) terms. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Stella

The next four featured felines are those for which I shot passible portraits that were held back with hope of making something better. Time is come to let them loose, like we did with Abby the Bengal, who was profiled one week ago. First among them is Stella—and that is her real name—whose likeness I captured with Leica Q on March 6, 2018 at 11:35 a.m. PST.

On other occasions, I had seen Stella looking out the screen door of a house on Monroe near Alabama but unsuccessfully captured the moment. On this morning, her owner was inside with her, and I asked about taking her photo. “Everyone does”, he answered, opening the door and trying to coax the fluffball outside. She wouldn’t budge. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Kitty

While walking from Adams Ave. along Mississippi, on May 7, 2018, my wife and I met a delightful—and chatty—woman originally from Uruguay out with her two small dogs, which had just returned from their weekly bath. What happy little pups were they! Blind, too, she told us—not that their handicap was obvious as they scurried about, tales wagging with enough swish to generate breeze. 🙂

Near the natural end of our conversation, a gorgeous long-hair tortoiseshell walked out from behind a car. Neighbors, including the friendly lady with the pooches, call her Kitty, but the owner might use another name. Kitty is good enough for today. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Abby

For months, I have pursued Abby, looking to capture a portrait worthy of her beauty. Time has come to go with what I have. She is too wily a rascal for my amateur photographic skills.

The Featured Image starts where sightings began, on Jan. 23, 2018, in a yard on Adams Ave. where she hangs out but doesn’t live. A resident confirmed her name. I captured the moment with iPhone X, using the second camera to 2X zoom. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/873 sec, 6mm; 12:47 p.m. PST. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Choontzy

I really shouuld spend more time looking for alley cats—those that wander along the parallel throughways behind most buildings in the neighborhood. Had I, Choontzy, who also goes by Chootzy, surely would have joined the series sooner than this breezy Monday.

He is the first invited cat, so to speak. Last week, on the NextDoor social network, someone posted inquiring about friendly Snowshoe Willow, whose December 2017 profile I linked to in the replies. Among the responses, Choontzy’s caretaker expressed appreciation for the series and desire for him to join it. So, of course, I went on the hunt for the elder tuxedo—eighteen years old, like Gracie and Precious

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The Cats of University Heights: Lucy

For Caturday, we celebrate with the second Lucy to appear in the series ( although I later learned that the first, who lives on Georgia Street, is spelled with an “i”, not “y”). My wife and I met her near-namesake on Florida, between Meade and Mission, last night. The 9-year-old beauty has a stub tail and sweet demeanor. You can’t not like her.

Lucy adopted her eventual caretaker, when the woman worked for a consignment shop. The stray came around and grew friendlier until she was transplanted from North Park business to University Heights residence—where she stayed without fuss. Lucy sticks pretty close to home, which isn’t surprising for a matronly kitty who chose her owner. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Moophie

The neighborhood’s boundaries are clearly defined, and the chosen kitties live within them. But for the fourth instance out of the 171 profiles posted since the series started in October 2006, we make an exception. Moophie (real name) joins outliers BuddiesChill, and Sammy.

The handsome longhiair lives on the same street where my daughter moved two months ago. I frequently see Moophie saunter across the road near the end of the block; in Hillcrest, which is adjacent to University Heights and a mere 2.3 km (1.4 miles) walk from my apartment. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Dizzy

Nine. That’s the number of felines seen last night in the hour before sunset and not long later. Is it a Full Moon thing? There was one of two Maine Coons, which will join the series soon. Same is true of a Tuxedo, whom I may finally have gotten close enough for a usable portrait; I’ve been trying for weeks. Couple doors down there was a tabby behind a screened window. Both sightings were on Florida ,along with Wonder, who looked down from inside a residence rather than outside porch.

Over on Alabama, I passed by Burglar, Goldie, and Itchy Valentino—deciding to quietly walk by rather than to distract them. What a surprise! Tipsy crossed the road to greet me and sauntered back after being satisfied by her pats. That brings us yet to another Alabama cat—nineteenth from the street. The kitty earns nickname Dizzy for hanging out on a second floor balcony ledge. 

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Panda a Day…

To renew, or not to renew, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the budget to suffer the slings and arrows of haughty annual fees, or to take leave of a parade of animals—and by opposing end membership? Surely Shakespeare wouldn’t approve, but since he can’t come crying copyright infringement, well…

Our annual San Diego Zoo passes expire on April 30, and “Another year?” is question of the weekend. My wife and I trucked over to the animal refuge this morning and got great value from the hour spent walking about and looking at the beasties. But is that experience enough to warrant another year? 

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The Cats of University Heights: Wonder

Sunset was 7:25 p.m. PDT on April 24, 2018. Nearly 20 minutes later, what looked like a bushy-tailed black and white shorthair trotted down Florida between Meade and Monroe before scooting up some stairs to a row of apartments/condos. Two months earlier, I had seen the kitty nicknamed Mew in the same vicinity. Second-sighting? I’ll never know, because another beauty perched above and stayed steady for several portraits.

Because of fast-falling dusk, I carried Leica Q, which packs a magnificently detail-capturing, fast lens. I set aperture wide-open and shutter speedy, letting the camera auto-crank ISO for shooting along the dimly-lit street. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/1.7, ISO 16000, 1/250 sec, 28mm, 7:44 p.m. The companion, taken one minute earlier, is same except for ISO 2000. I manually focused both.

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The Cats of University Heights: Harley

Please meet the eighteenth Alabama Street cat to appear in the series. How can there possibly be so many? The skittish shorthair lives on the same block as Holiday, Laramie, Lupe, Precious, and Smokey. Long-time fixture Monkey recently passed away.

I know the calico’s name, but didn’t check the spelling with her owner. Fifty-fifty chance, I pick Harley over Harlie. 

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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.