Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: Bella

For the second time in three days, I saw someone walking a leashed-kitty down Alabama Street. The previous occassion, passing by on my bike without camera or smartphone, no photo was possible. But this morning, I hauled out for an early-sun jaunt, with Leica Q in tow.

Just beyond Madison, approaching Mission, I came upon a woman walking her slim, quickly-striding cat. I asked to shoot pics of the beastie—Bella. She was more than willing and didn’t seem to mind my lying down on the street and sidewalk; she apologized about the shorthair moving so quickly. I observed great determination and will in the pace. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Hanoi

This series strives to profile each cat once—and, occasionally, uncertainty looms about one being the same as another. Take Hanoi (his real name), whose color and markings are similiar to the kitty I call Bell. There would be little doubt, if not for fairly close proximity of their sightings.

Bell debuted on Nov. 17, 2016, from a photo captured on June 28, 2014. I often would see the kitty in the alley behind our apartment alongside Kuma’s Ledge, where Maryland Court ends. The three year-old portrait was shot at the corner of Cleveland and Monroe Avenues, however.  

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The Cats of University Heights: Chunk

When dissatisfied with a kitty portrait, I typically will wait for another shooting opportunity. Exceptions are often like today’s Featured Image: Unlikely future sighting—as must be presumed from the doorway locale. This is not an animal I expect to see prowling the street, despite the food dish down the alleyway, where a black cat ate but skittered away before I could capture the moment. That’s about as much outdoors to be expected.

No offense intended towards the owner—and as caretaker of a fat ginger, none would be—this cat is the first chubby tortoiseshell that I have ever seen. Torties tend to be lean (and even mean). The furball watched me go by from a residence nearby Florida and Howard Avenue, which approach the outer edge of the neighborhood where it meets adjacent Hillcrest. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tink

Happy Caturday! Please welcome the second feline portrait captured using iPhone X. Lush was the first. I chose the Featured Image for composition and artistic value; the furball is actually beyond the field of focus. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/60 sec, .97 ev, 6mm; 10:37 a.m. PST.

Meet Tink, whom I encountered yesterday on Meade between Cleveland and Maryland, outside a house diagonally across from Pee-Pee‘s place. I wonder if Tink is new to the neighborhood, as the residence is along one of my regular walking routes.

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The Cats of University Heights: Lush

Drumroll, please. We present the first portrait in this series shot with iPhone X, which went on sale just four days ago. This morning, as I walked down Monroe past Park Blvd. towards Texas Street, a faint furball tickled my periphery at Georgia. About halfway down to Mission, the kitty sat motionless, transfixed, in the middle of the sidewalk. I could hear birds beckoning in the distance.

I crept up slowly, smartphone snapping away, just in case she bolted. Rather, the cat turned and approached—and would hardly let me get away, for the amount of attention she demanded. She kneaded the sidewalk with her ginormous paws as I petted her. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Season

The series exits from hiatus, during which my family changed residences in the neighborhood. It’s catchup time! We resume with a Coon-like beauty who reminds me of our long-lost Kuma. But the nose, and his distinctive scar, are missing. I nickname the pretty feline Season, for no particular reason.

We encountered each other, from a distance, on Oct. 11, 2017, as I walked down Mission Ave. The cat traipsed up a hill as I approached but stopped long enough for 10 fast portraits shot with iPhone 7 Plus. The Featured Image is a close-crop, meant to give illusion of being in the wild. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/1030 sec, 6.6mm; 11:34 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Captain Blackbeard

One year ago today, I started this series with grainy photo of a presumed stray I nicknamed Scruffy. The plan was to post pics I had recently taken, and to add a few more, before wrapping up within a few weeks or as long as a month. I had no concept of the number of kitties that there were, or are, around the neighborhood—more than 100 featured so far.

We celebrate the anniversary with Captain Blackbeard, who yesterday evening relaxed on house steps below a sweet, 6-month old girl and her friendly dad. “He came with the name”, the gent said about his pet, observing that the beard is more white. The feline spends more time indoors, but gets occasional outside romps, and he has been with the family for about 3 months. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tiger

Alabama, along a two-block stretch, delivers yet another friendly feline. These sightings surprise because the street, like a few others in the neighborhood, has no utility poles. Their absence immensely diminishes the presence of birds, which would otherwise perch on the wires. If there is so little prey, why are there so many predators? Even well-fed cats hunt and kill. It’s their nature. (Update: Not only are there birds but more squirrels than is typical; asked and answered.)

On no other street to either side of Park Blvd. have I seen more furballs than Alabama. Among the recent sightings: Goldie, GreyItchy Valentino (yes, real name), and Nine. In the alley behind: Spry. Several others will join the series when I get better portraits of them. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokey

Seven minutes after sunset, 6:32 p.m. PDT, on Oct. 7, 2017, I encountered yet another feline on Alabama, close to Meade. The kitty isn’t the first smokey grey in the series, but he is distinguished by having the color as name.

Mystery: The increasing number of cats recently seen on or around that street. Why here? Also from Alabama: Goldie, Itchy Valentino (yes, real name), and Nine. In the alley behind: Spry. On Meade or Monroe, respectively, close to the cross-street: Amanda and Loyal.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dancer

Yesterday, while walking up Mission Ave. towards Park Blvd., I watched a lanky tortoiseshell cross Georgia and gracefully go into an apartment complex parking lot. Her pace was slow and precise, and slim shape and long legs reminded me of a human dancer. Hence, the nickname she receives.

By the time I reached the parking spaces, the shorthair had gone into the building’s courtyard. As I knelt down with the Leica Q, she turned to see me and then strolled back. I almost gave this kitty nickname Kneady, or Kneedy. She received pats and attention for more than 10 minutes; when twice I knelt down on a knee, she stepped in close, put her front paws on my thigh, and kneaded. I got the sense she could be a real lap cat. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mittens

Texas Street, which leads down into Mission Valley, demarcates one of my neighborhood’s major borders. A few homes back from the throughway, as I walked to Pizza Hut along Meade, a pretty tuxedo kitty greeted me on Oct. 2, 2017. She was so friendly that getting good portraits was next to impossible. Hence the odd selection presented.

We visited for a few minutes before I crossed Texas and started strutting up the steep incline beyond. Then I changed my mind and aborted plans to fetch a $6 three-topping medium pie special. I walked back towards the furball, who had remained on the sidewalk.