Thursday, March 11, 2010

Midnight on Bailey Avenue

You might think that this picture of Max taken around midnight on Bailey Avenue a few months back is what the title of this entry refers to but in actuality it refers to a cat that walked the grounds of Bailey Avenue, the street on which I live.

Being a fellow who works from home, I got to know this black cat who had no problems catwalking up the driveway and checking out the garden in our backyard - just like the four-legged creatures who live there.

Before I got to know the cat, I assumed it was a territorial stray that was going to take control of the area and browbeat the backyard's rightful feline owner, Lucy, into submission. (Max was not that interested except to chase any interlopers away.) Often I would let Lucy go outside in the early morning light and wait for the inevitable cat fight that would make my heart drop and my feet run outside (with Max a healthy step in front of me) to shoo the cat with violent tendencies away. That day never came.

Lucy's litter box

Soon enough I realized this black cat was just looking for food and fun. So whenever I saw him I laid out some treats and watched from inside the house as he ate. I watched from my desk as he walked around the houses, up and down the street and back again. I watched from the living room couch as he walked past the bird feeder in the front yard - giving the birds that ate there a total ignoration. He was a sweet cat.

It was midnight this past Saturday and I was walking Max for a late night treat. On Bascom Avenue almost to the corner of Bailey, I stopped in my tracks when I saw this black cat lying on the sidewalk dead. It was most probable that he had been hit by a car and crawled off the street onto the sidewalk to die. I started crying uncontrollably. How silly I thought; I barely knew this cat. But the heart knows what it knows. I ran home, tears falling to the sidewalk, to ask George what we should do.

Ultimately George (my ever loving vacuum lover) went and got the cat and we took him to the 24 hour clinic in Campbell. They have a program where, for $44, they take dead animals, cremate them and bring the ashes to a potter's field for animals in Napa, CA. As the receptionist filled out the paperwork he asked me some questions.

What's the cat's name?

The cat didn't have a name, I said. He didn't belong to anyone.

Well, I need to put something here.

Can you put two words?

Whatever you want.

Found Cat.

He typed Found Cat and moved on to the next field. After a couple of other questions, I asked HIM a question.

Can I change the cat's name?

Sure, he said.

Midnight. The cat's name was Midnight.

He typed Midnight and moved back down the form.

I'll miss Midnight on Bailey Avenue. I guess he belonged to me.

MARCH 19 UPDATE: Today I received a Certification of Country Burial from Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park in Napa, CA affirming that Midnight had been interred in a country setting. I didn't know I was going to receive this but I was really glad I did.

RIP Midnight.


  1. I really enjoyed your story. I also saw that cat on the sidewalk. I am sorry to hear it was a cat you knew. We got attached to another Bailey stray, a siamese, who would come for food and the occassional petting... I think Lara even named him. He eventually stopped coming around. It is very sad to see the strays walking around knowing their chances of surviving aren't very good.

    Thanks for sharing the story.


  2. Yes, Martin. I wish more people would neuter. There are a lot of strays around. In fact, I saw another black cat yesterday. I did a double take but it was definitely not Midnight.

  3. Thanks for posting this. It's nice that Midnight got some good attention from you and your often strays have such a hard life but you made his better. Incidentally, if you think you can catch any of the strays, I am willing to take them to my vet that does a feral program (shots, spay/neuter, notch the ear so animal control knows they have their shots and release them back to the person bringing them in). It is $99 and helps curb the stray problem and helps the ones we have on the block to be healthier. Obviously I can't do bunches of these, but I will do as many as I can. Just let me know. Thanks for being so nice to Midnight. I'm sure he knew he was loved.

  4. That's a sweet offer, Jennifer. Thanks.

  5. 13this was quite a story to hear and im hoping someone like you takes care of my viddy whom cant seem to find his way home... mia viddy, napa california... black cat white crotch nuetered 3 yr old. very skittish yet very loving.