Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Midnight vs. Midnight

We have a black cat, named Midnight. He’s sweet and friendly, but not one of those cats that sleeps curled up on your pillow with his anus in your face all night. So while I’m not exactly a cat person, this one comes pretty close to perfect.


Unfortunately, we live in a part of the country that has a lot of predatory wildlife, so we don’t let him out of the house. He can use the cat door to get out onto the screened-in pool deck, but that’s as close to nature as we allow him to go. Nevertheless, sometimes he escapes, and spends a heart-thumping night creeping around in the woods. But he always shows up the next morning, meowing to be let in so he can get some food and some sleep.

One day, I looked out in the yard and saw him slinking along outside the pool screen. I went out to catch him, only to discover that it was a different black cat. Unlike our cat, this one wore a collar. To my amusement, the tag said his name was Midnight, and he belonged to the new neighbors across the street.

My Midnight and the new Midnight don’t get along. The new Midnight wanders casually along the outside perimeter of the pool screen enclosure, while my Midnight stalks him from the inside. They used to growl and spit at each other, but now the new Midnight will drop by once in awhile and piss on a bush to claim it, while my Midnight just lies on the diving board and gives him the finger.

Shortly after I discovered the existence of the new Midnight, I was out in the yard pulling weeds. The new Midnight wandered over and sat next to a ligustrum tree next to our house. When he was sure I noticed him, he scrambled up the trunk into the canopy, climbed out onto a branch and made a short jump onto our roof.

Like many homes in Florida, we have a ranch house. It’s all one floor, but the architect designed it with two fake dormers so that it would appear to have a second floor. The fake dormers cover actual holes in the roof. These have been cut to enable the henpecked homeowner to climb into the attic and hang pretty curtains in the windows of the dormers, heightening the illusion of a second floor.

Under the eaves of the dormers are soffit vents, with plastic covers to keep out the squirrels.


The covers aren’t fastened, they just clip into the vent holes.


While these covers are effective squirrel-prevention devices, they’re no match for a cat. I suddenly noticed that the new Midnight had pulled out all of the easily-reached vent covers and, turning back to make sure I was watching, he jumped up into the dormer and disappeared. Now he had access to the entire attic area of our house, and spent frequent evenings prowling around up there, to the clear dismay of my Midnight, who spent hours staring at the ceiling.

I tried replacing the soffit vent covers, but the new Midnight just pulled them out again. So I hired a guy to replace the plastic vent covers with perforated aluminum, fastened with screws. It cost me a hundred and fifty dollars. I have no idea if the new Midnight was sealed inside or if he was watching from across the street.



And yeah, that stuff on the outside of the dormers is mildew. I have to buy an extension hose for my pressure washer so that I can climb a ladder and risk my life to remove it. While I’m up there spraying, I kind of hope the thirsty, emaciated cat hops up into the dormer window begging me to let him out. I plan to give him the finger.

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