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 last days of summer 2022, and the road home

This, it turns out, is the perfect place for quiet contemplation.

Another High Noon standoff with (Pinky) (Sweetheart) the White Cat


Cats need to learn to stay at their end of the property, that's all. It's not about any real animosities, it's just a law of nature and common sense.

Choupette's an explorer

Melvin's an explorer-observer

Melvin's in the venerable boathouse . . .

. . . hoping that someone will take him for a ride.

It's late September now, and before long the ice floes will be stacking up on the lake. Even the cats, sitting by an open window, are beginning to wonder whether they really want to go outside and dash about amongst the foliage.

Choupette is entirely motionless for quarter-hours on end, awaiting a mouse, mole, or little chippie.

Melvin is to be congratulated and given another biscuit for the care he's learnt to take, so as not to sit directly on the keyboards.

Packing up for the long trek in prospect. The cats know when they see the suitcases come out.

Choupette fits in there very nicely, and would be much less trouble during the drive.

Melvin is still making sure that he can't be left behind. But then, his old habits kick in again. Sometimes, in motels, he hides up in the box springs. Just two months ago, when he realized we were all packed up to go to Lake Superior, he hid in the swamp for two hours.

So now he's gone into hiding once again.
But we've learnt to attach his leash in good time, and that makes all the difference.

Choupette, of course, is extremely ready to get the show on the road.

We're off, and now at the Riverside Inn in Rockford, Illinois. Our attractive suite is, however, with its bedroom upstairs, a bit inconvenient, but . . .

. . . Choupette takes no time to settle in.

The next night, in the Drury Inn and Suites in Lafayette, apparently in Indiana, a very nice place nestled amid a flat horizon of (in addition to a Walmart) Arby's, Chipotle, Olive Garden, Burger King, Ihop, Cracker Barrel, McDonalds, and (where we ended up) Mountain Jack's Steakhouse, just a limping mad dash across the highway, not a bad place, and with football on the telly.

The cats cuddled sleepily in the Drury Inn in the meantime, until . . .

. . . some sort of disagreement intervened.

We've been dining in downtown Huntington, WV, and the cats have been awaiting our return, comfortably.

Back to the Old Y in Staunton. Guess who's happy to be home. Even as he maintains his quiet dignity.

Choupette looks so serious in this photo. In all of her photos, to be honest.

Wondering when it's dinner time

And then a little nap in a favorite nesting place

Choupette is very keen on hiding out in small containers of any sort, but . . .

. . . she also likes to sit up in her tower and monitor her flatmates' activities.

Ever watchful

Hide-and-Seek. It's going to be devastating for us (and perhaps for them as well) to be separated for a month, and we can't bear to board them with a commercial service amongst strangers in Virginia. Kristin's daughter Emily, with Clinton and Hazel, host two of Choupette's half-siblings in Chicago and will look after our kids as their own. It will be like one big happy feline family, as long as Choupette conquers her fierce antagonism to Pugsley and Wednesday.

-- Back on the road tomorrow morning, kids. To Chicago!

Melvin, as usual, has burrowed down amongst the luggage somewhere in the back, but Choupette is taking a brief break from snarling and squirming about to see some of the sights.

Once in Chicago, Choupette's settling in after all, emerging from the guest room anyway -- all of our misgivings may have been unnecessary.

The wonderful cats are at it again, oblivious to the animal documentary on the telly.

But wait . . . Choupette has noticed.

Melvin is hooked: whatever that is, 'it's eating a Grey Francolin'!

Now the narrator is informing us that 'they may be called jungle cats', and Choupette looks really envious. A jungle cat wannabe.

Update: After an insightful and exhilirating November in Rome and in and around Ascoli Piceno, we've come back to Chicago to collect our little feline freeloaders for the road trip back to Virginia. We're visiting Clinton, Emily, and Hazel in Chicago, just for the overnight. They have very kindly cared for Melvin and Choupette in our long absence, and now we're gratefully being reunited.

-- Hey, Melvin, we're back! Jump up here, boy, say hello to Daddy!
[-- What?]

Melvin, we can tell, has missed us terribly, and has been miserable since early November, but as usual, he maintains his fabled dignity.

Choupette, on the other hand, hasn't noticed yet that we're here.

She has noticed, however, that Melvin's in range, so the Eternal Cat Dance can begin once again.

It always begins with Choupette 'invading Melvin's space', as it were, and we've never figured out whether she just wants to snuggle up affectionately or defeat him in battle.

In any case, it begins with Choupette licking Melvin, and then Melvin reciprocates. It's like their usual feline self-bathing ritual, but shared.

And then, again as always, Melvin locks on with a firm paw, either affectionately or vengefully, and the mutual cleaning acquires a more serious rhythm.

Then the back feet come up, and battle is joined.

Sometimes it continues, but more often they both decide that it's not worth the effort. Melvin, anyway, has conveyed his irritation once again, though it won't matter next time. Choupette looks sullen, but not sorry.

Every once in a long while, one of them acquires a little nip by tooth or nail and we need a quick trip to the vet, but the astonishing thing is that nearly all the time they can both pull the punches, so to speak, with no harm done.

A truce, as temporary as it may be. Whether this is all play or something less fun we've never been able to be sure about.

Choupette and one of her half-siblings, Pugsley, look like it's another faux-aggressive standoff, but in fact, in their month here these two formed a solid relationship, such that for days after we left both of them were wandering about in their respective apartments, looking for the other one and crying.

Here Pugsley and Choupette may be contemplating our forthcoming departure, perhaps.

And here are all three of them, Choupette, Pugsley, and Wednesday (photo by Emily) -- Melvin is always at least a little bit standoffish in crowds. That's the dignity gene.

On the road now -- here, in Lafayette (Indiana?), is Melvin meditating and Choupette missing Pugsley terribly.

Somewhere just north of Columbus, Ohio, in Polaris in fact, Choupette is looking for Pugsley. No luck.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 April 2024.

Fun with Melvin and Choupette