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June 21, 2004: Z is for Zucchini

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This past week I finally did something I've been meaning to do for months. I redid the Cats Page, a task which necessitated going through all my archive files for this journal and the photolog to track down every picture I've taken of the cats since I started this journal. Once that fairly monumental task was accomplished then it was just a simple matter of tossing up a few more html pages. The whole thing took me barely an hour to accomplish, and the majority of that time was spent looking at non-cat pictures anyway. Do you think I'll learn anything from this little lesson and maybe procrastinate less? I didn't think so either.

During this process I quickly figured out which cats tend to be more photogenic in this house. Allegra is, of course, impossibly photogenic, with her coloring and her fluff. Rebecca and Sebastian have more pictures by virtue of the fact that they've been here longest. Tangerine is very good at posing pretty for the camera. Rosie, however, is not such a fan of having her picture taken, and Azzie, while adorably cute (as the resident Perpetual Kitten should be), tends not to photograph well because he is solid black, and a picture of a solid black long-haired cat tends to look less cute and cuddly and more like a large black fuzzy blur with maybe some glowing eyes in the middle if he was being cooperative.

Zucchini, however, has only one picture only one picture in the entire time I have had this website. This is because Zucchini is convinced that the entire world is out to get him, and despite the fact that he has lived with me since he was three weeks of age and not once have I ever hurt him, he has spent his entire life acting as if he is sure that I am only biding my time until I grab him and tear him into little pieces. So taking that one, solitary picture was a chore in itself which involved huge amounts of catnip all over the floor and me lying on my stomach in extremely uncomfortable positions for several hours until the darn cat was finally high enough on the nip to not immediately run in terror every time I blinked. Even so, the one picture I have of him is a bit blurry, so you don't get the true sense of dread in his eyes as he realizes that I am pointing what is obviously an evil Ray of Death in his general direction.

Lately, however, things have started to get a little better. Ever since that little incident a few months ago the week where he ate most of the stuffing out of a cat toy and got to go for daily x-rays and test and poking and prodding and nearly went under the knife before he finally puked it out on his own I have seen very steady improvement. . During that entire time I spent hours with him each day, holding him, forcing food and medicine down his throat, taking him to and from the vet. I guess all that attention meant that something finally trickled through the mixed up chemistry in his brain that I'm really not so bad after all.

So the cat who usually lurks underneath the bed and only comes out at night when we are lying down and thus apparently (according to his strange little feline brain) incapable of inflicting horror unimaginable on him has, in the past month or two, actually not only *not* run away when I get the food bowls out in the morning, but stood close enough to me that I could reach down and pet him on the head! To make matters even more amazing, he has also taken to lurking in the computer room. Granted, he tended to lurk before, but usually his version of lurking was to hide out underneath the desks until we sat down, at which point he would erupt forth in sheer terror and bolt out, usually doing his best to trip one or both of us. There is a similar version of this 'game', which would take place at random intervals when we happened to go into the bathroom where the linen closet is kept. An innocent stroll into that room to get batteries can turn quickly into near heart attacks on the part of human and cat as Zucchini shot out of the linen closet and nearly tore off a limb of the unsuspecting person who might possibly be standing in his way. So 'lurking' is a different concept for Zucchini. The other cats lurk by hanging out at our feet, or perhaps jumping into our laps with absolutely no warning whatsoever before you are faced with a lap full of purring fuzz which sees no reason why you should be allowed to actually *use* your keyboard or mouse. Or in Sebastian's case, lurking involves weaving around my feet until I dangle one hand over the side of the chair so he can rub his face on it and lick it to death.

After over eight years of watching the other cats lurk in this oh-so-dangerous manner and still survive without any injury whatsoever, Zucchini is starting to catch on that maybe he could give it a try too. Lately he's been right there alongside Sebastian, shoving his head against my fingers. Just this past week I've been able to very slowly turn my chair around to face him and lean down to actually pet him, without him running away. Oh, there is still a look in his eyes that tells me that it wouldn't take much for him to revert back to his wanna-be feral ways, but with this cat I tend to take whatever progress I can get.

I now have a Sony Clie, which has a little camera built in, just perfect for close-ups. It does not have a flash, and only makes a very unassuming little click when I press the button. In fact, it also comes with a little strap which can be dangled enticingly in a cat's general direction, just enough to make him look up at me and hold still long enough to press the button.

So here he is, folks. The invisible cat, live, and in color. Let's see, that makes two pictures in more than twice as many years. Maybe it won't take nearly as long until I can catch him in the lens again. We'll see.

This has been an entry for Alphabytes.

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