Category: Critters

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The Cats of University Heights: Sprout

The 280th profile belongs to the fifth consecutively-presented Alabama kitty—forty-second featured from the street since the series started in October 2016. As we approach 300 and the third anniversary, I seriously consider closing down the project, which started as a photographic-practice exercise with expected, short duration. In a neighborhood seemingly dominated by dogs, there initially looked like maybe enough kitties to fill a month of posts. How could so many be lurking about?

I captured the Featured Image using iPhone XS on June 25,2019. I held back posting, hoping to learn the kitty’s real name. For now, I dub the shorthair Sprout. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/235 sec, 6mm; 10:01 a.m. PDT. The second portrait, with Zeppelin Pom Pom in the background, comes from Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. I saw both cats only once, together or apart. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 9:57 a.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Zeppelin Pom Pom

The fourth furball from Alabama Street, presented consecutively, is one of two seen outside the same property between Howard and Polk on June 25, 2019. Meet the friendly Zeppelin Pom Pom, which joins the list of best-named neighborhood kitties (some of whom have left or passed away since being profiled). Among my favs: Captain Blackbeard; Daniel Tiger; Darth Mew; Herbie, the Love Bug; Itchy Valentino; John Adams; Princess Leia; and The Colonel.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, which gets unexpected presentation. When I opened the portrait to edit, Apple Photos automatically adjusted—but rather than straightening, the built-in algorithm mistakenly twisted into a Dutch Angle. I kind of like it. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/65 sec, 6mm; 9:57 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Astral

The trip down Alabama continues: Third furball presented consecutively, following Fuki and Boots; fortieth featured from the street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln; and forty-sixth kitty to appear behind window or door. Besides the next two, there are another half-dozen of which I am aware but have been unable to present; most of those are indoors.

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image on May 8, 2019. I held back posting by several months, hoping to possibly identify the real name. Several cats live in the same building, between El Cajon and Meade, and some owners identify them in the Pets section of social network Nextdoor. But not this animal, or that is obvious enough to me. I can wait no longer. For shining stare looking down from the second floor, this tabby earns nickname Astral. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 4:40 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Boots

Our second of five, consecutively-presented Alabama cats is thirty-ninth seen on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the series‘ start in October 2016. For perspective, that works out to 14 percent of the 277 profiles published to date. I spotted the first felines there—on the same block and all on the same day—in September 2017: Itchy Valentino, Goldie, and Anthony. I frequently see the three still.

In fact, on July 7, 2019, as my wife and I walked by, Anthony trotted across his yard for some pats; guess he heard us talking and recognized our voices. As Annie bent down to oblige him, movement behind raptured my attention. The Tuxedo had a visitor, who wasn’t feeling friendly towards us. Ah, sorry for the interruption, kitty.

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The Cats of University Heights: Fuki

Alabama is back, with the thirty-eighth-sighted feline on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the series started in October 2016. Another four follow consecutively. Your guess why the Alabama abundance easily could make more sense than mine. Prevailing theory: Human population density, because of the comparatively, unusually high percentage of multi-unit rental properties—and fairly frequent tenant turnover with them. More people, more pets.

About three weeks ago, I first observed Fuki (her real name) sleeping on an outdoor sofa in a yard that should be called a cat paradise—for the lush trees and shrubs and varying areas of sunlight and shade that provide changeable siesta spots. I captured the Featured Image on July 1, 2019, using iPhone XS, which replaces my recently-departed Google Pixel 3 XL. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/302 sec, 6mm; 10:46 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: King

Two days ago my wife and I resumed our San Diego Zoo membership. This morning, we walked through the animal refuge for the first time in more than a year. The caged creatures there inspire the nickname for the tabby spotted on June 13, 2019 along Florida between Madison and Monroe. He (and hopefully not she) is first feline in the series seen inside a catio.

I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 3:28 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Hawk

Our forty-fifth kitty to appear behind window or door, like the others, is nameless—or at least to me the street photographer. I dub this one Hawk, for watching birds on the wire. Their reflection in the glass punctuates the moment, which I captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 9 a.m., June 17, 2019. The Featured Image is best appreciated by clicking through (warning: 19MB file).

I spotted Hawk along Panorama Drive, where also live Brick; Herbie, the Love Bug; and Roadie—surely others.

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The Cats of University Heights: John Adams

We follow up Ludgwig, with one of his street buddies, quite appropriately and unexpectedly. Two days after the white and orange kitty joined the series, his close neighbor John Adams disappeared. Perhaps because the tiger tabby is so handsome or maybe because so many people like his name, he caused quite the consternation on Nextdoor when reported missing. I didn’t learn about the two beasties’ close residences until about a week after John Adams was found. He hangs out on North; Ludwig around Madison, not far from where the streets meet.

Ludwig’s owner was one of the many folks scouring alleys and rapping locked garages searching for the cat who would be named president of the United States. No one guessed that he was trapped a stone’s throw away (for five days) inside the nearby, abandoned florist shop, which closing I wrote about one year ago today.

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The Cats of University Heights: Ludwig

While walking down Madison Avenue, beyond North and approaching Park Blvd., I spotted a young man swinging a wand toy before his kitty in a driveway. Hey, the provocateur of this series had to stop for a visit and photographic moment. We spoke. The gent explained, almost apologetically, that he never considered himself a “cat person”, having grown up with dogs. Lest I misunderstood, Ludwig (yes, real name) is the first, and the shorthair has been with its caretaker for about two years.

But there is a backstory. Coincidentally, Ludwig’s original owners of one year were en route for a visit, and the young man wondered aloud if the pet would recognize them after two years apart. There is reason to be curious. Not long after joining his human’s habitat in 2017, Ludwig escaped and disappeared for about 14 days. The furball somehow made way back to his previous residence in Mission Hills. The nearly 5 km journey would require travel down busy Washington Street and possibly even over highway 163. Yikes. Poor baby. His paws were blistered. Once returned to University Heights, however, Ludwig settled in contently.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mandy

We start the month with a Caturday and lovely surprise. While walking down Cleveland Ave., I came upon a yard sale and familiar faces: The Parkers, and owners of Fess, who disappeared in early August 2017. Even in absence, he remains my favorite neighborhood feline—for cat character. Monkey, who also is gone, and the esteemable—but still with us—Itchy Valentino are close seconds for the same reason.

Fess’ vanishing, which was sudden and unfathomable, devastated the Parkers, who spent long neighborhood walks looking for him—as did I. He will never be replaced—how many kitties jump into the owners’ truck cab to greet them—nor be forgotten. But, about a year ago, time enough had passed: His former family adopted another Maine Coon-blend baby. Please meet Mandy.

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The Cats of University Heights: Toasty

Anne and I kicked off her birthday (May 22, 2019) with a morning walk around the neighborhood streets on the East side of Park Blvd. Along Florida, between Madison and Monroe, I spotted a Siamese soaking up the sun on the same steps where I photographed maow maow seven months earlier. Looks like the home isn’t presently occupied, and the Calico is missing and presumed lost or abducted/rescued—the latter circumstance as reported by a neighbor seeing maow maow taken away in a cat carrier.

The newer steps-sitter earns nickname Toasty for warming beneath a few hours of scattered sunbeams bursting through storm clouds. Yep. Unseasonably wet weather again pours down on Southern California.

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The Cats of University Heights: Olive

Surely today’s Featured Image, captured using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, breaks several composition rules that photographers live by. Our kitty, whom I nickname Olive (for the piercing eyes), isn’t the obvious subject of the portrait even though he (or she) is intended to be. I cropped and edited the pic same day as shot, March 27, 2019, then put it aside. But having not seen the kitty since, and on reconsideration finding modest redeeming value in the dimly-seen Olive nearby the illuminated cat tree, I welcome the Torbie to our series. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/150 sec, 63mm; 5:55 p.m. PDT.

Olive, the forty-fourth kitty to appear behind window or door, sits in the same place where was seen Night in early August 2018. Also residing within the same multi-family property, along Georgia near Madison: Luci, Maven, and Peso.