Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Death from Above - A "Midnight" Story

This is a story about the cat who adopted us. His name is Midnight and he gets into all kinds of stuff he shouldn’t. For instance, there are several “strays” on my street; and even some “housecats”; but Midnight is the only one among them who can actually claim to have flown. Not once; but twice.

Now, there may be a cat somewhere in the neighborhood that has been “transported” via plane while locked in a cat carrier; but that hardly qualifies as real flying. Midnight has actually flown; although his 2 flights were mostly freefall. Let me recap those adventures and explain the picture above, which is the result of his 2nd; and latest; “solo.”

Midnight’s first flight occurred in the middle of the afternoon. He was traversing the open area in back of our house; which is about the length of two football fields; when a large shadow loomed over him; and then; in an instant; lifted him off the ground; higher than he had ever been.

A hawk had been circling overhead, and with his infra-red, heat sensing capabilities, said hawk spotted Midnight and came roaring down to snatch him up for a meal. Luckily we feed him too much; he is very spoiled; and so the hawk was unable to hold him for more than about 200 feet horizontally, and about 40 feet vertically. Midnight was very spooked by the whole thing and I have to say that he put up as much of a fight as one can while being suspended by the scruff of your neck 40 feet in the air.

In the end his first flight lasted about as long as the Wright Brothers did at Kitty Hawk. The only real difference is that I had no camera at hand. Midnight suffered a torn ear which has never really healed properly; causing him to have a very strange “meow” as a result of some hearing loss. Doesn’t matter; he still lets us know when he’s hungry. He just doesn’t play in the back anymore.

Now; as for the picture above; we are actually only guessing that this latest injury was the result of another “air raid.” We’re basing that premise on the fact that if it wasn’t a bird which attacked him, then it would have to have been a very large coyote; about as big as a Great Dane; or a bear so weak that when he bit Midnight’s head he didn’t quite break the skin; just ripped off all his fur and left two white patches of skin, which have swelled a bit. I’m betting on the hawk.

Midnight’s reaction to this latest outrage has been pretty interesting. He came home and ate a tremendous amount of food; which is not all that unusual when he has been out all night. Then he went to sleep; waking up to be sick. He actually left the garage so as not to make a mess. “Bless his little heart”; as we say here in Dixie. Then he wouldn’t eat for a day or so, before disappearing again; with Sue and I thinking he had gone off somewhere to die.

Well, I guess we were wrong; or maybe it was the fact that we bought him a new bag of food and some tuna, betting against the odds that he wouldn’t return. At any rate, he came home the next day; along with his appetite. And we were really glad to see him.

He depends upon us for so much. He doesn’t know how to kill or hunt. He watches birds take the food from his bowl. He plays with grasshoppers; swatting them with his closed paws; gently prodding them so that they will hop. He’s basically helpless. So, he really needs us to survive. And when he’s gone; we realize how much we need him, too. I wish he could read this, just to know how important he has become…

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