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.

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.

The Lydster, Part 136: Award-winning photography

Stormy.20150530This spring, the local Hannaford supermarket had a contest to determine the best pet photos in a variety of categories. The Daughter decided to submit a couple of our felines, taken on The Wife’s iPad, then emailed to me so that I could print them out.

Frankly, I have no idea how many other participants, if any, there were, but the Daughter won with the picture of Stormy, shown above. She received various pet treats, food, cat litter and the like.

BTW, Stormy, who just turned two, has become much more affectionate to me, sitting on my lap – only when she wants to, because she IS a cat, after all – and rubbing her head on my feet.

midnight.20150530I’ll admit I prefer this photo, if only because it’s SO goofy, rather like Midnight, who’s about a half a year older than Stormy. He has always been affectionate to me, but, for a time, it got to be too much.

Quite often, at 4 a.m., he’d come into our bedroom and start licking my arms, and chewing on the hair on the top of my head and even on my mustache. I would get up and usually write. Then I had to get him down from the file cabinet next to the office desk, lest he jump down on the laptop and accidentally screw up some settings; he’s done it before.

But then he started his routine at 3 a.m., and I can’t function on that little sleep. So I would get up, put him in the basement and go back to bed. This seems to have (mostly) broken him of this annoying habit.

For a time, we thought Midnight was becoming too aggressive towards some strangers – he utterly freaked out at the vet’s office – and wondered how we could even go on vacation for more than a day or two.

We got a new child watcher (FKA babysitter) named Maxine and he was very affectionate towards her. Now, SHE can come in, feed the cats, change the litter box, and give them some love.

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