Midnight, the demented cat

the perils of doing laundry

midnight 2022I have written before about our demented cat, Midnight. In some ways, this is not a great photo. On the other hand, it’s rather representative of his demeanor. His arm – OK, front leg – hangs off his loft as though he were Hugh Hefner holding a cigarette at the Playboy Mansion.

Notice the deformed window treatment? That’s the result of Midnight either chewing on the curtains or kneading them. And there are three or four of them in similar conditions. My wife has talked about replacing the curtains, but I said that there’s no point unless we get something made of stainless steel.

When we have people over, he goes to the basement. There are only a handful of people who he won’t harass. And when something I can’t quite ascertain sets him off, the target of his wrath is me.

Domestic chores terrorist

Back in October, I was taking a basket of laundry down to the basement. There was a bottle of TIDE detergent that was next to the doorway, so I grabbed it to take it downstairs. Midnight, sitting on a chair ten feet away, suddenly started yowling and hissing at me. I don’t know if it was the basket or the TIDE that ticked him off, but someone dubbed him a male chauvinist feline because he never bothered my wife or daughter when they transported the laundry.

For the next three days, I was his enemy. I avoided him when I could. My wife would feed him. And I started carrying around a tambourine. Why a tambourine, you may ask? Because carrying around a vacuum cleaner was too heavy. I tried to talk to him, but when he got too close and too scary, I’d rattle the instrument, and he’d run off.

Where’s the feeder guy?

But then, a few days later, he started missing me. “Where’s the one who usually feeds me?” First, he’d get proximate to me, then a little closer. I’d go downstairs to feed him, percussion in hand, and he’d be okay. Then he became desperate for my affection. “Pet me!” And “pick me up and scratch me under my chin.” He needs to be near me and hates it when I close the office door, but I can’t write and tend to him simultaneously.

And it’s all good. Well, except for the time I was walking toward the sofa, and he ran in front of me. He’s ALWAYS getting underfoot, but I usually anticipate it. This time, I must have stepped on him, although I didn’t feel him underneath. He yowled and dug his claw into my foot. But this was a short-lived irritation for him.

Still, when he’s on the sofa and someone is petting him, he’ll suddenly bite them. He did this to my wife and tried to do the same to me. He is a demented cat.

Lydster: Midnight and Stormy

Aaron Copland

We have two cats. While they are both about seven years old, Midnight, the male black feline, is a few months older than Stormy, the female grayish one. And he is clearly the alpha beast.

This has created a problem of Midnight being overweight, and seeing them at mealtime explained why. Each of them receives a quarter can of wet food. Midnight devours this as though he had never been fed ever before. Left to his own devices, he’d bump Stormy out of the way and eat her food as well. Yes, one could stop him from stealing her food. But how do we slow him down?

Our daughter found this rolly-polly little feeder with a hole near the bottom. It sort of looks likes a tiny version of Arthur’s pet composting device, actually. Midnight’s job is to knock the device around and the kibble would come out of the hole. Meanwhile, someone would take Stormy’s half-eaten bowl of wet food and place it in a location where she could get it but he would not find it.

This is a twice-daily ritual at 7:30 Daylight Saving Time, 6:30 during Standard Time. I feed them in the morning because my wife is off to work. Our daughter feeds them at night, although she sometimes has to be reminded to leave the cave that is her bedroom.

Don’t mess with Midnightus

Midnight is quite hostile to most other human beings. He actually gets along with our contractor. He is civil enough to my daughter’s friend Kay that she can feed them while we’ve been away. But don’t take his tolerance of you as acceptance. My friend Uthaclena made the mistake of petting him, and Midnight’s claws came out. My MIL is terrified of him, as are others.

When we had inspectors visit our home for a loan, our daughter put them both in her room. Stormy wouldn’t hurt anyone, but she is terrified of strangers. One catsitter a few years back was afraid that she somehow escaped the house. Nah, she was just hiding, and she does it well.

Midnight can be quite affectionate to us. He’ll even let me put him up if I scratch under his chin before bolting. Stormy comes to people on her own terms, rubbing her body against my leg. She’ll sit on her laps if SHE feels like it.

We initially got the cats because our daughter wanted them. But my wife and I have grown rather attached to them, in spite of ourselves.

Here’s William Warfield, performing Aaron Copland’s song I Bought Me A Cat, with the composer conducting.

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