Well, the holidays ended up being far too hectic to allow much time (or brain-bandwidth) for blogging, but now the bustle has somewhat subsided I figured it was about time for some more photos!
First we have Cora here eyeing the pile of presents (for two sets of extended families, and yes, there were a few for the felines!) near my and Matt's little tree.
Speaking of which, the cats did great with the tree this year. Not only have they matured considerably, I think it helped that we got a smaller one and clamped it (in the back, invisibly) to an end table unlike last year when we had a 6 foot tree just standing in the middle of the living room.
Considering 2009's antics included all three youngsters taking flying leaps INTO the tree I was not about to risk a repeat of that, not with everyone at least twice the size they were last year. But the table-mounting thing worked out wonderfully for both humans and kitties...I put one of their beds under the end table with the tree-blanket draped over it and that became one of the most coveted spots throughout the holidays.
I'm not perfect about this but I always try and make sure the cats get regular interactive play with toys like this feather-on-a-string thing even when chaos (such as that induced by holidays) is monopolizing the majority of human attention. Here is Shadow waiting for the feather thingy to enter pouncing range.
These cardboard scratchy-pad things are HUGELY popular around here. Seriously, they are probably one of the best random bits of Cat Accessory in existence. They're just basic corrugated cardboard but apparently the texture of that material is wonderful for running one's claws across. I've usually got three or four of them around the house at any given time and each one generally lasts at least two months before being shredded enough to pop into the recycle bin.
Nikki is very possessive of the "double wide" scratcher on the sofa and can often be found sitting on it just as she is doing in the above photo.
And of course rest is important for everyone (human and feline alike) during the year's busiest bits. I am actively grateful to all the cats but Brodie in particular for his quiet but insistent reminders to take a break already once in a while.
(Here is Brodie snuggling in my hair on the couch after a very long day!)
Oh yes. And in addition to all the usual holiday-heightened activities around here, the kitties managed to endure what was a major first for me and for them: an overnight houseguest. My youngest brother stayed over for nearly four days over his Christmas break from college, which meant major routine deviations for everyone and lots of activity nobody was used to.
Of course it was great to see my brother (he and I have always gotten along really well despite the 13 year age gap) but since the younger cats hid most of the time he was here I kept finding myself missing them! Cora and Shadow also spent a lot more time in hiding than I had expected but then again, overnight guest is a very different thing from a visitor who just comes and stays a few hours. Brodie hid about the usual amount but I did expect that from him seeing as he's generally the shyest around guests.
That said, I was quite relieved to note that while the youngsters wouldn't eat dinner at their normal time, they had no problem eating at night when my brother was asleep in the guest room, which is awesome considering in the past they've sometimes not wanted to eat until they've been able to ascertain that a visitor is good and gone. Nobody had any litterbox issues either, and by the last day Cora even sat with my brother on the couch for a bit.
And all that said, Nikki had a great time during Ryan's visit, by which she was utterly and completely unfazed (after all, she already knew him from when she lived with my parents and siblings). With the youngsters holed up in their various favorite secluded spots Nikki got her pick of laps and could play with toys, etc., without being bothered by rambunctious youngsters. So in a weird sort of way us having a houseguest that was familiar to her seemed like kind of a "vacation" for Nikki. So I am happy on her behalf about that I suppose!
Anyway, as much as the holidays can be fun I am very happy things are already settling down into their usual, somewhat quieter state. I look forward to seeing what 2011 brings for human and feline alike!