Lydster: my daughter’s cats

Midnight and Stormy

Midnight and Stormy are my daughter’s cats. Well, sort of. Ten years ago, she wanted them. She said she’d feed them and change their litter boxes. Actually, that doesn’t happen often. I generally nourish them, and my wife usually cleans the boxes.

She did, however, have to tend to them when my wife and I were in France in May.  Midnight always waited either outside of my bedroom door or my office, caterwauling at breakfast time. And at dinner time, she might be sitting on the sofa watching TV but they didn’t bug her to be fed. I worried that she might let them starve – not an issue, especially for Midnight – but she provided me photographic evidence.

My daughter does initiate tending to their other needs. She removed some fleas from Stormy. The next day, she held each cat in turn while my wife applied the salve.


The cats occasionally get into violent fights. Midnight usually initiates them, though Stormy will attack if she feels intimidated by him. The fur literally flies, and I have to vacuum it up.  So it’s interesting that, at times, they will lie close to each other, on our bed, the floor, or the sofa.

The cats are not allowed on the dining room table. Midnight often violates the rule, whereas Stormy never does. My daughter walked over to the table, but Midnight did not react. She texted me the picture and I started walking downstairs; before I got halfway down, he abandoned the table. Apparently, he doesn’t like it when I say, in my sternest voice, “GET DOWN!”

Midnight likes to get into everything, especially anything shaped like a box.

We jokingly told her she could take Midnight back to college. No way we would inflict that feline on her new roommates.

The cats versus the vacuum cleaner

food versus fear

Because Midnight, the black cat, is so food-obsessive, I’ve mused on how to slow him down. If I’m going downstairs, whether to feed him or not, he’ll barrel down the stairs. It’s why I hold on to the railing, lest he knock me over.

And when I’m actually in the process of feeding him, he, more than Stormy the gray cat, seems to be constantly underfoot, no matter in which direction I walk.

I tried an experiment involving the vacuum cleaner. Both Midnight and Stormy are afraid of it. When Midnight starts chewing on the window shades or clawing the furniture or climbing onto the dining room table, I wheel it toward him, and he generally retreats. And usually, I don’t even have to turn it on. Stormy hisses at it; it is not afraid.

I placed the vacuum in the kitchen so that they couldn’t enter the room without passing the appliance, and turned it on. Perhaps I could prepare their meal without distraction. But no such luck.

Apparently, Midnight’s need for sustenance is greater than his fear of the machinery, for he galloped past the red menace. He only gallops when hungry, and he’s been in the basement, attic, or other room, and it’s near or past mealtime.

The intruder

Often, Midnight and Stormy are at odds. But they recognized another enemy. Something clearly was on the front porch. , though I didn’t know what. Midnight was peering around the window treatment, Stormy was scratching at the window.

A couple of summers ago, my wife bought new chairs for our front porch. The first year, they were still like new. But lately, we noticed some hair on one of them recently. Sure enough, I saw a gray cat, a lighter shade than Stormy, resting on the chair on the porch. It left when Stormy repeatedly banged her head against the window, driving the intruder away. They acted in harmony when an external threat was on the horizon.

The black cat next door, who sometimes hangs out on our porch, they are not fans of either. But the gray cat SITTING on our furniture was just too much for them to bear.

Midnight: Pet talking to me

hissing fit

Another prompt.

One day, your pet turns to you and begins talking. What does it say?

Midnight, 2015
Midnight, 2015

[It wouldn’t surprise me at all, the pet talking to me. I gather he has quite a lot to say.]

First, I’m really annoyed that you people took so long picking me out from the store. If you all had picked me out that first day you saw me, you could have kept me and my BFF together. But you procrastinated! No wonder I’m so neurotic.

Of course, it wasn’t ALL your fault that I’m the way I am. My birth family was not very nice. Still, I was pretty happy with you people. That is until you brought in that OTHER cat. You were probably smart to keep us apart early on because I would have beaten the crap out of her. As it is, I still mix it up with her occasionally to remind her that I AM the alpha cat.

And that unimaginative name you people gave me! Midnight, indeed. At least it’s better than what you told me your maternal grandmother used to do. She had a series of black cats and called every cat Blackie.

Because of my neuroses, and getting “fixed”, as you euphemistically call it, I just don’t like people in lab coats. At some level, I know that my behavior, which has made the vet ban me from his office, is not to my long-term benefit. But a feline has to do what a feline has to do.

As to my complaints: you don’t feed me nearly enough. I know that evil vet says I weigh too much. Phooey on that! It’s not like I weigh 20 pounds or something. And I HATE that rolly-polly little feeder toy designed to make me eat slower. It is VERY undignified! No wonder I chew on the window curtains; I’m practically wasting away to nothing.

Anti vac

Also, you should just get rid of that vacuum cleaner! I DON’T like it. It’s noisy and wants to take my fur!

You seem displeased when I lie down in the middle of the floor or in the entryway to a room. I just want you to notice me! Hey, you can just step over me. I MIGHT not claw you, or maybe I will?

I suppose I should explain that week when I hissed at you a lot earlier this year. You had picked up a red shirt, and like a bull in an arena, I reacted. It reminded me of a rag that my birth family used to hit me with. I still like to glare at you, just to keep you in line.

But I had to stop harassing you for a number of reasons. You’re the one most likely to scratch under my chin. I like your lap to sit on the best. And you feed me a little more than the woman does. So I’m sad when you keep me out of your office. You should be holding me rather than writing in your stupid blog. Where are your priorities, human?

I’ll admit I was a little scared when I ventured outside a couple of years ago. But you went looking for me, so that’s a plus for you.

C is for cats

There is NO taking Midnight to the vet.

I’m having a conversation with a woman in my church choir. Somehow, the nature of pets came up. At one point, she said, “But you don’t HAVE cats.”

Oh yes, I do. Two of them, in fact, both for over two years. The Daughter knows their birthdays – one’s in January, the other in June – but I’m a BAD cat papa.

Midnight is the elder cat. He’s the one most likely to sleep in our bed, or fall asleep in the chair behind me in the office. Sometimes, I think he has nightmares. We got him from the animal shelter, which treated him well, but I wonder about his time before that.

Most people can’t pick him up, as won’t allow it. But usually, I can. I’ll scratch him under his chin.

He’s a little less hostile to (some) strangers than he had been. We still stick him in the basement when my mother-in-law comes over, or there’s a large crowd of people, for they make him nervous.
IMG_20151228_184906 (1)

IMG_20160301_211757_kindlephoto-8950702Stormy does tend to hang out with the females of the household. She’ll come to sit on one of their laps while we’re watching TV.

She NEVER sits on my lap. But she DOES like to rub my feet with her body, which is rather pleasant, actually.

She doesn’t like strangers either, but instead of “protecting” the household, she’ll generally just run away.

She tolerates me because I had been feeding them. Recently, though, my spousal person, having taken her to the vet – there is NO taking HIM to the vet – decided they needed to put them on a diet. So instead of splitting a can in the morning and another in the evening, she feeds them a third and a third, putting the remainder in the refrigerator.

The cats HATE this. they don’t like leftovers. They still do the ritual: He gets fed in one part of the kitchen, she in another. They both nibble a bit. Then, just to be annoying, he’ll come over and eat HER food, and she’ll run off. Later, she’ll sneak over and eat his.

They also HATE the vacuum cleaner. If I want them to stop doing something, such as him scratching the furniture, I will wheel over the vacuum. I don’t even need to turn it on. Usually, they’ll run away.

He usually sleeps in our bed, though occasionally both of them will sleep at our feet. And by “at our feet,: I mean I have to move them from my sleeping position.

The Daughter, who has contributed a few hundred dollars to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in the past three years, is the photographer. She has all these fancy filters on the camera function of her device, which she uses a LOT.

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

Cat food

I have to feed Midnight in the back of the kitchen first.

catsI suppose I should use the fact that I have cats for greater blogging opportunities.

For the first year together, Midnight and Stormy used to fight all of the time, so this picture of them together represents a sea change. Not that they don’t fight occasionally, or, truthfully, nearly daily, but they have learned to tolerate each other.

We’re convinced that they spend a good deal of time on the dining room table, based on their insistence on trying to climb up there when we’re home. This bothers The Wife more than me, but I feign my outrage.

The cats’ mealtime is a ritual. In the morning, one of them would come up to my room, scratch on the door, or come in and talk to us. Or more correctly, me. I have to feed Midnight in the back of the kitchen first, then Stormy in the front. Invariably, after a few minutes, Midnight, though his bowl was not empty, would start eating from Stormy’s bowl, and she would walk away.

When they go down to the basement, or up to the attic, we used to be able to wrangle the felines by shaking a bag of cat treats. This still works on Midnight, but Stormy is no longer lured by them. OK, so she stays up there/down there until she gets bored, or, more likely, hungry.

LISTEN to Cat Food – King Crimson.

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