Dwight Peck's personal website

Melvin the Doge and Choupette

A small collection of poignant photos of fairly cute cats, extracted from other webpages on this site.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The winter of 2020-2021 in the incarcerated world of two cats

In downtown Staunton there's no place for cats to safely roam, so they occupy themselves as well as they can till it's time to go back to the lake.

The cats are 'settling back to normal routines' in Virginia, early October 2020 -- we're settling back into sneaking out of the flat at dawn for groceries, with our covid masks on.

We left Wisconsin just in time, because the Republican state legislature, Trump's moronic campaign rallies, and the macho 'rural' culture exploded the state into the nation's number one hotspot for pandemic fatalities.

Choupette can make a refuge out of almost anything.

It's not only Choupette who values a convenient refuge.

It's the week before Hallowe'en, time flies. Here's a convenient memento mori.

Choupette is wedded in recent days to nature shows on the telly

The Grand Bagarre in the Study

This is how all of the big fights develop these days. Choupette, who's a joiner and also obsequious, sneaks up on Melvin and begins licking his fur as a helpful gesture (they would call it 'grooming').

Melvin, however, is not a joiner, and after indulging his colleague for 3 or 4 minutes, he bats Choupette away, and Choupette responds in kind.

They spend much of their time waving their arms tentatively, but sometimes, recently, it can begin to get more serious. Choupette recently had to undergo a thorough course of antibiotics when some well-aimed scratches became infected.

But they usually work out a truce between themselves, and everybody can semi-relax for a while.

Precarious cats

A near-Christmas visit: Our cat population has doubled for the next few days -- the Resident Felines, little Choupette and Melvin the Doge, are joined here in Staunton by Choupette's half-siblings presently from Nashville (TN), Wednesday and Pugsley.

It's not clear what they're hoping to accomplish here, but it's better than having them try to walk along the railing.

Pugsley and Wednesday, unsure about why they're here

Wednesday persists; Pugsley hasn't fallen off -- he's just tired of the game and wandered off for a snack.

Their appreciative audience observes from below, while preparing cat snacks.

Choupette is never one to just let her grievances go (wait, that must be Wednesday).

Melvin and Choupette are hanging out downstairs, feigning disinterest.

More cat hijinks

Pugsley preparing to defend the study from the barbarian hordes

Their eyes are gleaming in the dark like just outside your safari tent in the Congo.

Someone overheard squeaks from one of the closets. Oh, it's Choupette.

And Wednesday.

Melvin remains above it all, and retreats to his favorite refuge.

Much of our party is moving on to northern Virginia for a few days, and preparations are underway.

No cat wants to be left behind, and precautions are also underway.

Pugsley is watchful, but confident.

Now things are becoming serious.

No one has bothered yet to tell them where they're going, because they don't really speak English well, to be honest.

But Melvin thoughfully comes along to wish them bonne route (Melvin is French). He'll be holding the fort for some days with his doting 'owner' and the little Canon PowerShot.

A final face-off before our feline guests go back to Tennessee

Choupette is clearly the troublemaker here . . .

. . . and the aggressor.

But in fact, Choupette has been the first to flee the field.

-- So what's it to you?!

2020 abruptly becomes 2021; no harm done.

Choupette has zero interest in reading another online word about Trump -- fell asleep after two paragraphs. It's 10 January 2021 and most of the Proud Boys' foofaraw is history now. Sort of.

It's never a good idea to disturb Choupette when she's dozing off.

She's liable to hold a grudge for hours.

All the kitties gathered for still another long nap.


Our studies are interrupted by the sound of Melvin's eerie squeaking (Melvin's carefully engineered Selkirk breed is incapable of meowing).

Sometimes, when he's feeling insufficiently appreciated, he marches out along the ledge and frightens us halfway to death. (So far he's always relented and come back to watch the telly with us.)

Another Choupette ambush

In a moment, one or the other of them will bolt and the other will streak like lightning in pursuit, down the stairs and through the main room, back bedroom, and master bathroom, where they'll reverse the order and streak back up the stairs again, or onto the stage and into the laundry room. And then reverse again.

Choupette awaits us patiently until we've finished our morning shower. It's 25 February 2021, and Choupette's getting psyched for a 2.5-hour drive to Leesburg, Virginia, to visit a family friend.

She's obligingly climbing into her own carrier for the portage to the car, in which thereafter she'll squawk and run amok until she falls asleep.

Some weeks later: Melvin is explaining to Choupette how the new cat-carrier works . . .

. . . and Choupette is expressing her opinion about it.

'Gatoring': Choupette is watching us as we watch the telly.

So is Melvin, from his Choupette-proof hideaway

They're both awaiting their evening dose of Greenies catnip treats.

But it's time to move on to Hendersonville, NC, 8 May 2021

We're booked into 'The Lodge at Flat Rock', very nice, in a Henderson suburb, and the cats have already got themselves in a pickle.

Melvin has a look of resignation; Choupette is looking for a less daunting way down.

Melvin just waits patiently for someone to telephone the fire department and get him off this thing.

But Choupette is exhausting all of the self-help options.

Slowly, Choupette is catching on to the seriousness of the situation.

Perhaps Melvin has a new idea, and is seeking encouragement. Jump onto the refrigerator, you idiots!

It worked for Melvin; do it, Choupie.

A tragedy averted

But now we have to go out and leave the cats to wait in the window for our return.

Back in The Lodge at Flat Rock, Melvin the Doge has staked out his ground. 'Let's get this show on the road.'

Some cats never learn.

Resting up for the long drive home

Casual fun on the home front

Melvin having a snooze on our dining table, an antique from a centuries-old French farmhouse . . .

. . . which is soon to be manhandled up the stairs to become our work table in the study.

Our (former) dining table is now awaiting its transmogrification into the study table. Choupette wants to be part of this.

Hospitality and celebrations are in order; friend Kurt has just transported a replacement diningroom table, and we've got it up from the street successfully.

Choupette is determined to find out what this is all about.

Even to the extent of scaring us half to death with a tightrope-walk along the railing.

Backlit Choupette staking out her observation post on the new (old) work table in the study

And being very insistent about it

And making sure that Melvin the Doge understands the situation here --

-- but Melvin is not presently a threat to anyone.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 4 May 2022.

Fun with Melvin and Choupette