My cat, Midnight, died on May 2, 2022. I’ll share a bit of my life with Midnight over about four years before sharing about his demise.
Losing Midnight was very difficult due to losing Charcoal about three months prior.
Midnight was also my muse for the black cat in my cat art.
Midnight was an outdoor cat that appeared in our yard in 2017. At first, we only knew he was there because of trail camera pictures that captured him during the night. So, we felt that Midnight was a fitting name.
Eventually, he started coming out during the day. Although he was already ear-tipped, I realized that he was not a feral cat.
He had a runny eye, so I took him to my vet. The vet examination revealed that he had an old injury to his eyelids (maybe the third eyelid), so his eye would always be watery. And that he was missing all his canine teeth.
Back then, our local Humane Society didn’t take in friendly ear-tipped cats (they have since changed their policy), so Midnight became our outdoor cat.
He probably could have eventually been placed in an indoor home, but I bonded with him. And even though he was neutered, he still sprayed his territory.
When he was coming more like an old man cat in November 2021, we were going to try him inside, but he tested positive for FeLV.
He was vaccinated for it after Charcoal (another outdoor cat) had tested positive (Midnight was negative when he was vaccinated). So, we were shocked when Midnight was positive.
Bonding with Midnight
As the years went by, Midnight wanted more attention from me.
Cats like routines, and Midnight learned my routines. He would wait for me in under a bush where he could see the door where I would come out. And then do a big stretch and want to be held.
In the last year of his life, I held him nearly every day (weather permitting) in the evenings as part of the routine of giving the outdoor cats treats before bringing in the cat food for the night (to deter raccoons from coming around).
Midnight would try to follow me if he saw me leaving for a walk. I didn’t want him to cross the street, so I would walk fast or try to go for a walk when he was sleeping away from the sound of an opening door.
Midnight Bonded with Other Cats
Midnight became friends with Charcoal, who showed up not long after Midnight. Pork Chop also came around the same time, but Midnight was much closer with Charcoal.
Outdoor cats do better outside when they are not alone. So, it also made it harder to want to remove Midnight from the cat colony for an indoor home (that may not have worked out anyway).
We set up a cat shed for the cats after a new neighbor threatened to kill any outdoor cats (he has since recanted and apologized.
The shed looks like a regular shed, and no one would know it’s for cats from the outside. Also, we were able to put heated cat houses into the shed during the cold months.
In November 2021, a new feral kitten appeared in the yard and stuck around. We named this cat Winter, and in the early spring of 2022, Winter and Midnight were friends and sometimes slept together in the food shelter.
The first behavior change I noticed was Midnight not eating as many treats in the evening. Now, I justified this as he seemed not to like having Winter close by at treat time.
Also, going back a bit further, and in hindsight, Midnight had not been eating as much regular food. Similar to the months leading up to Kilala’s death (my first cat to die), I’d been trying many different kinds of wet food to see what Midnight would eat.
The food changes were initially because Midnight had started walking a tenth of a mile to another cat lady’s yard to see what she was feeding that day. But after about two months or so, he stopped going to her house every day.
And then I noticed weight loss. When I took Midnight to the vet, he had a fever, and the vet confirmed that he had lost three pounds since November. Of course, that’s a lot for a cat, but he was a big boy, so I wasn’t too worried.
Midnight’s blood work was all good, except that he was anemic. Charcoal had anemia in the summer of 2020 and recovered from it. So, I was hopeful that Midnight would heal as well. He was also given a shot and a take-home antibiotic.
I set up Midnight in the playpen in the garage so that I could monitor him and care for him. I assumed he would get better, just like when Charcoal had been in the summer for a week during the summer.
He only had a good appetite one day in the playpen, and I suspect that was due to the appetite stimulant that the vet gave him.
I let Midnight out of the playpen twice a day. He didn’t show much interest in wandering the garage. I held him for about 30 minutes in the mornings and then an hour or longer in the evenings.
We put his heated cat house inside the playpen so that he would have something that smelled like him already in there and, of course, to help him stay warmer.
His vet appointment was on Monday. On Friday or Saturday, he started to poop blood and bloody mucous. Then, on Sunday morning, I noticed a dried-up worm and convinced myself the blood was because of worms in his system.
But he was still barely eating. On Sunday, he only ate part of a meat tube treat. So, on Monday, we took him back to the vet.
Unfortunately, he still had a fever after a week of antibiotics. The vet gave him a poor prognosis for recovery (in addition to having FeLV, Midnight was also FIV positive).
I decided to euthanize Midnight based on his condition and information from the vet. I didn’t want him to continue to starve to death in my garage slowly.
Midnight is greatly missed. He had such a presence in my life for four and half years. Midnight continues to be the inspiration for the black cat in my cat paintings.