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.

Summer 2021: Cats at Lake Superior

We were carefully whispering that we'd be heading off for Lake Superior soon, but Choupette's figured it out anyway (30 July 2021).

On the drive north to Ontonagon, we're waiting for Kristin to procure a bagful of pasties in the Randall Bakery in Wakefield, Michigan -- the line is evidently long, and Choupette may soon become irritable. (Melvin's asleep in the wayback.)

The family's digs on the southern shore of Lake Superior, cutely referred to as 'South Beach', where can may roam safely

Choupette's been here before, and needs to sniff around to renew her familiarity with the possibilities for predatory fun.

It's all coming back now -- she recalls a paradise of insufficiently alert shrews and voles.

Off to the beach: Choupette has a mind of her own, or a something of her own.

Always looking for something (probably just a tiny creature to bat around for a while, then release)

Now we're off for a walk up the beach a short ways.

Our friend David is chilling out, which is recommended for everyone, but Melvin is looking round for opportunities for mischief.

Two little feline demons -- when they act in concert, anything could happen.

They've taken a notion, and are refining it now.

Melvin is evidently supervising, Choupette is up to something ill-advised.

Choupette's always seeking out a challenge -- and last year, Melvin leveraged himself up, miraculously, over one of those sandy overhangs. Choupette was envious, but too young then.

Not to be outdone, Choupette is routefinding, like any good climber searching out the route's weak points.

Choupette's not used to sandy overhangs, and needs some sound advice.

Luckily, Melvin's here to advise . . .

. . . and to look for a more promising point of attack. But this isn't any better.

Got it. Melvin's up and over -- Choupette's doubtful but entirely willing.

But she just can't get it done. Maybe next year.

But all's well that ends well (they say) -- Melvin is exhausted from running all round in the sand, trying to keep up with youthful Choupette, and can only stare at the floorboards and breathe pantingly. Stertorously, we might say.

But Choupette's always ready for another challenge -- in this case, climbing up a ladder into the loft . . .

. . . and refusing to come down again.

-- Sorry, you cannot pass. (Ausweis papiere bitte!)

Choupette's Eternal Quest. The ambition, the curiosity, the foolhardiness are all evolutionary, they're hardwired.

But there's always room for a moment of doubt, and a pause for reflection.

Choup's trying out a new strategy -- if you remain stock still and do not move a muscle, in time the shrews and voles will come to you.

Melvin has never had any interest in shrews, voles, or even little shrew-like cloth cat toys. Melvin just meditates, contemplates who knows what.

A new scheme -- hiding behind a bush until the shrews and voles pass by.

It's time now for cleaning up for the next visitors, in a few days, changing the bedding, vacuuming the beach sand off the floors, washing up the dishes, leaving everything comme il faut.

And packing up the car, with persistent supervision from the smaller members of the party.

On y va.

Back home again

Here's Melvin the Doge, awaiting the Rapture (which may or may not include cats amongst the Chosen).

-- Who's that trespassing on my car!?!?!

It's just Choupette, weighing her chances of leaping up into the roof beams without disastering.

Today we're off to meet Cousin Rob for more hydrobiking out on the waters, and Choupette is looking resentfully neglected.

Choupette doing what she does best, but at least . . .

. . . she hasn't forced Melvin out of their preferred snuggly saucer this time, for some reason.

Anyway, Choupette's found a new favorite snoozerie.

Melville's angry at us, for some reason. We don't even know what we're supposed to have done wrong.

Choupette is adapting to the dock, though not yet to the water.

And back to Lake Superior

Later in the month, we're pleased to be in Ontonagon again, chiefly because of Syl's Cafe, whose pasties are not quite the equals of Randall's of Wakefield but certainly make a worthy Plan B.

Whilst supplies are being arranged inside Syl's, Choupette is just an irritating package of impatience.

Reining in the displays of impatience, but resentful.

Once they're out, Choupette heads straight for the foliage that provides the best hunting grounds for shrews, voles, etc.

Melvin, too, sets about sniffing amongst the vegetation, but so far he has always restricted himself to preying upon insects.

And Choupette's favorite prey, after shrews and voles, is Melvin. This is an ambush. Melvin, stage left, is oblivious.

Choupette has also recently discovered the grand delights of climbing around on the car.

It's late in the season, and the ladder to the beach has been stowed away for the year. Both cats are as perplexed as we are by the absence of suitable access to the beach . . .

. . . and are searching about for alternatives.

Melvin is sensing something, being watchful and on edge.

He's right, we're going off for a short walk up the beach, and Kristin is making sure that the kitties will be well-behaved in our absence.

Lest they try to follow us on our Grand Walk, the pets need to stay indoors; it's a pity that we can't explain the rationale for that, neither of them speaks any English.

Sleep is where it comes upon you.

We'll be off for a long drive southward soon, and both cats are joining the queue for the facilities.

As much predatory fun as she's had here, Choupette is ready to go home.

And she's making sure that she's one of the first things packed up in the car.

Back on the lake

Melvin is a reflective cat in any weather, to be honest.

But when he wants to play, he can play seriously.

But he usually just reflects on things. On what things, we can't begin to guess.

Choupette has fewer intellectual depths, and mostly just scowls, petulantly.

Except when she's on the hunt for tiny shrews and voles, etc.

We're at the boathouse, and Melvin is wondering if the lake water is drinkable.

Choupette appears to be waiting for his verdict.

So, at least for cats, it appears to be drinkable.

Cats demand entry to the boathouse
(where they'll secret themselves amongst the bric-à-brac and take an hour to be got out again).

Choupette is trying all of the alternatives, unsuccessfully.

Predictably, she's blaming us for this.

Melvin just hopes that patience will be the answer. (Not this time.)

Resting up for our long car journey to come

Back down to Emily and Clinton's place in Chicago, Pugsley, normally the expansive one, clearly doesn't remember us and is chary.

And Wednesday is always in hiding.

Choupette is so impressed by the welcome that he wants to sniff at it for a long time.

Choupette, after six hours on the highway, shows concern about where our car has disappeared to. (It's three stories down in a tiny carpark.)

We begin our next adventure on the morning of 4 October 2021 in Kokomo, Indiana, in a very worthy La Quinta Inn, with Choupette persistently growling in cat talk 'Hurry up and load the car, let's get this show on the road'.

Which we did, five hours southward, down I75 past Lexington, Kentucky, to tiny Corbin in the mountains. Our target, and refuge for the next few days, is the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, which is officially in Corbin but is actually hidden some 14 miles (22km) to the southwest in some seriously wild, underinhabited countryside.

We're unpacking, and the cats are decompressing. Melvin is just meditating again, but Choupette seems reluctant to trust leaving the cat-carrier.

Melvin takes advantage of Choupette's stupor and occupies the catnip saucer, the preferred roost for all cats.

But Choupette is certainly not going to stand for that, so the inevitable minor drama plays out and Melvin goes back to his meditations.

The restaurants in these resorts are basic but certainly acceptable, but this one (we've just learnt) is just take-out (insufficient staff, of course). So we're dining up on the patio on the roof, and in any case we've happened to bring along a fair amount of chili from Culver's for the microwave in the reception area.

One of the amenities on offer is the possibility of a grasshopper in the room, providing amusement for any pets you might have brought along.

But for Choupette, insects are not just benign amusements; they need to be dealt with, sternly.

Here we are in our La Quinta in Wytheville, Virginia, in very nearly the same room as last time, in fact. Choupette is deciding on her next move.

Freedom to roam can be a great feeling, but there seems also to be a certain sense of security when you're trapped inside a cat carrier -- it normally takes Choupette a few minutes to reassure herself.

And even then, she prefers to perch up high with a clear field of vision in all directions, just in case.

The festive mock battles should begin shortly.

As, for example, in this ambush about to commence so fast the the camera will record only two tumbling blurs.

Once the vigorous fake-aggressions have revived all cats after 5 hours of staring out the car window, they've settled down and we'll go find dinner.

Another surprise for Melvin


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 6 May 2022.

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