Critters Photo

The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Ninja

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Our sixth feline found outside the neighborhood’s designated borders could easily have been the seventh. Darth Mew originally was an “honorary” member, spotted on the other side of Texas Street going East up Meade towards Arizona. But I later learned that he, like Princess Leia, lives on Louisiana, which is one block back Westways from Texas and so within the boundary. Frightening: Thinking of Darth Mew crossing the bustling street, without getting killed in traffic. How could he?

Ninja (his real name) provided an unexpected explanation, during the first sighting in late September 2018—day before seeing a Bird scooter in a tree. As I approached the Texas crosswalk, the blackie walked down the Meade sidewalk towards me. But before I reached the opposite corner, the cat stepped into the street and slunk down the storm/rain gutter. I stopped, and looking back saw another behind me. Darth Mew could have crossed under the road, using the drainage pipe! Not over it. Clever cat(s)!

For months following, I caught fleeting glimpses of Ninja, whose stub tail distinctively identifies him. But he was always too far away or too fast disappearing for a portrait. On March 18, 2019, as my wife and I walked home from Normal Heights, the beastie came meowing up to us! All the kitties love Annie. I whipped out Google Pixel 3 XL to snap the Featured Image and its companions.

Vitals for the first: f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/2933 sec, 4.44mm; 12:29 p.m. PDT. The second is same except for ISO 68 and one minute earlier. In both, Texas Street is behind Ninja. The last is f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/2347 sec, 4.44mm; 12:29 p.m.

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