How the zebra got its stripes, the camel got its hump, or how the earth, sun, and moon came to be are common myths in most cultures since ancient times. Stories of how day and night began have surely been told, but what about how Midnight came to be? Like all myths, this story has a beginning and tells step by step how it evolved to be what it is today, but the big difference in this tale is that it is true and only happened in the last several weeks. Rather than a "yesterdays" story, it is a contemporary and "todays" account. So how did Midnight come to be?
Midnight began to appear at the end of the summer. At first it was just a glimpse of something quick in the distance and more like a shadow where a person was not even sure of what he or she saw. Days passed before more appearances, so that in times between it was forgotten. As the shadow figure sightings became more frequent and closer to view, it became evident that this visitor near the country home was a young, jet black cat. Timid, yet seeming to want to approach, the cat slowly made its way closer to the house. A living creature in need of help and one that is typically a family pet, food was offered to it outside several yards from the house and near the edge of the woods. Like daylight chasing away night, the cat would scoot away out of sight, but just as night reappears, the black cat came back more regularly.
Nights were turning cooler. Where would this cat find shelter? A box was prepared for it in the barn. Not a typical warm farm barn with livestock, nonetheless it would provide at least a respite from the wind if it should so choose to come around and need it. It did come from time to time and slowly found some confidence to seek companionship by circling around the perimeter as chores were done around the house. If providing food is an invitation to such a guest to stay, then certainly beginning to speak to it and offering a pat on the head is surely one, but nevertheless it happened as the cat worked its way into the routines. In fact, it was one night when a mountain of wood was being stacked that Midnight received his name. Scampering about and keeping company as the work continued, the cat was very difficult to see. "Watch out for Midnight," was the cautionary phrase as he sat on and around the woodpile.
Midnight enjoying life on the inside.
There's a saying that "it's different when looking from the outside in," which is something Midnight was good at doing. Although not seen much during the day and seeming to use the shelter at night, he began to appear at night at the window where the boy in the family did his homework at the kitchen counter. The flower box made a perfect perch. Of course, as dark as Midnight is, the only evidence that he was there were his bright golden eyes. Not spooky, but definitely a bit startling. The nights were getting colder and Midnight saw the family, along with two lucky cats and a dog, enjoying themselves in the house, including warm fires at the hearth. Already having pets in the home, Midnight was brought to a farmer's barn down the road, complete with cows and plenty of hay. Days passed and the plan seemed to work, until low and behold, the set of eyes appeared once again at the window. Somehow, Midnight made his way back to the house through the treacherous woods and numerous dogs along the way. Midnight also used the window boxes to look in more often during the day and seemed to acquaint himself with the inside cats.
Thanksgiving came and Midnight's box made its way into the garage. It was evident that a home would need to be found. Such a search is easier when a cat is known to be healthy. This is where the Westfield Stray Cat Rescue organization helped. Midnight was taken to the veterinarian for shots and neutered. Even there, Midnight seemed to be able to make himself at home, and now, he is in what may be called "foster care." Healthy and clearly social, there is no box in the garage because he is in the house, enjoying the warmth of the fire and on the other side of the window, looking out. He enjoys companionship, acknowledges every stroke across his body with a purr, found the litter boxes and food without any official tour, and has taken up sharing the dog's floor pillow. Endearing himself, on one recent snowy day Midnight scooted outside along with the dog. Later, both were found hanging out in the living room; the garage door apparently not fully latched, so opened later by the dog to let themselves back in.
This is how Midnight came to be, at least as far as his life is concerned from the end of summer to now. About 1 year old, one has to wonder if he had some kind of grand and clever scheme to work himself from alone with no home to where he is now, which just makes him more charming. Where he came from before is a mystery. Clearly not feral, sadly he was most likely abandoned. A cruel and misguided action, many cats are not so fortunate. Next week we'll see how some cats are helped through the Westfield Stray Cat Rescue organization and how citizens can help in the effort of humane care for our domesticated and "purrfect" animal friends. If the need arises in the meantime, call 326-2404 for more information about rescue procedures or The Thrifty Kitty, which is the secondhand store that not only helps to provide necessary funding, but is also a resource where people can purchase many goods for the home at very reasonable prices.
Make it a good week and be kind to our animal friends.
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#1 Midnight made acquaintance with the inside cats through the window.
#2 Midnight enjoying life on the inside.