Walkin’ Before Midnight


By Annie Boots Polman

It was a warm night. I was itchy. The half can of Fancy Feast Savory Salmon went down like fishy butter just two hours ago, and I was wide awake after my ninth nap of the day. Where the hell were my masters when I needed them?

Annie Boots here. They gave me that name when they rescued me a few years back, but I’m no idiot. I know they prefer to call me Kitty or “TCH-TCH-TCH”, that weird noise they make with their mouths when they want to yank me away from Hummingbird Watch or lure me back into the house before bedtime so they don’t wig out about me being outside all night. Like I can’t take care of myself by now? I’m a frickin’ cat!

Anyway, they started putting their jackets and feet covers on around nine p.m., stepped outside and called “Kitty!” and it was almost a full moon and I hadn’t been around the block in like a week so I said screw it, let’s do this thing.

I have this awesome routine where I let them “walk” me but pretend that they’re not by tagging a house or two behind, catching up when I damn well feel like it, making them call me a dozen or so times until they basically give up and then I tear ass, cut in front of them and flop down on the sidewalk and roll around for a belly tickle, BECAUSE I CAN. Suckers. Anyway, as masters go they’re pretty cool, except for that day a few weeks ago when I had worms and they shoved me in a box and took me to a cat-torturer in some creepy building. Thank god it worked.


Per usual, I walked along the curb and in the gutter, past refuse bins and under as many parked people-carriers as I could, making sure to sniff a few bumpers along the way. Didn’t smell any dogs nearby so that was a good thing. There’s a cat named Bob who’s a good dude and hangs near the bushes about four or five houses away but he wasn’t around. I took a quick whiz on his lawn to say hello and picked up speed.

There’s this big-ass dirt and weed patch at the first corner its owners created when they never finished planting grass. My masters like to call it “Kitty-Corner” which they think is funny but I find pretty demeaning. Anyway, I did a little more business there because it’s basically the biggest cat box in the world so how could I not, waited for them to disappear and get annoyed around the bend, then hopped back on the sidewalk and ducked under a giant trash dumpster beside a construction site. That one’s always good for a few minutes of master freak-out.

“TCH-TCH-TCH!” Yeah, yeah, shut the hell up, I’m coming. Skirted around the next corner pretty fast, because actually I didn’t want to be too far away from them. On our last walk in this area I smelled something big and scary and not cat or dog-like. Could have been a raccoon, or a possum or skunk or who the crap knows what, but I wasn’t about to stick around and find out. Even bushed up my tail just in case, like one of those feather dusters that masters use, but whatever the thing was it hid down a driveway. Phew.


There was a whole string of good-sized parked cars, including a van I could go curbside with, so I signed up for that action, checking behind me the whole time because I’m telling ya, these streets can be dangerous for a girl like me at night. There was a skinny little teenage orange cat that was hanging around on this stretch for a while. Was always trying to get close for some reason and it spooked the friskies out of me, but my masters would usually step in and shoo it away. I guess they’re not as bad as I make them out to be.

Finally! The third and fourth corners of the trek, most of my favorite old elm trees, and back on home turf. Now it was time to jet in front of the masters, roll around on my front sidewalk just to be obnoxious and dart through their legs and back into the house before they could even cross the threshold. Cracks them up every time.

A couple mouthfuls of dry food for a nightcap, and then I was back on the master’s cozy old sweatpants. These journeys around the block are a hell of an adventure, but I have to say they keep me fit and definitely help me sleep.

Until it’s time to get up around 5 in the morning and tiptoe over my master’s crotch, of course…



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