Now that pneumonia shots are being offered at pharmacies, I am asking my doctor to request one for me. It isn’t that I have a cough or sniffles, but it is what I fear lies ahead for me his winter. It is because I have two cats, Jen (a gold and white refugee from a Chicago parking lot) and Vercingetorix (a golden Chilmark–born barn cat). I have no idea how Jen got her name but Vercingetorix, because of his humble beginning, is grandly named for a brave chieftain of the Gauls who defied Julius Caesar.

Both apparently decided in the warmth of this past summer that they would only eat outdoors and that they would have romantic evening dining hours. Dining under the stars and moon made shrimp and crabmeat dinners imported from Thailand exceptionally tasty, it seems. As for breakfast, having it at sun-up, (about 5 a.m.), was somehow the perfect way to start a lazy outdoor day.

Midnight is my usual bedtime and seven a.m. my wake-up time because I have a clock with an immovable alarm. Last night, I had just begun to snooze seriously when, at 3 a.m., Vercingetorix proudly arrived in the bedroom with a limp just-dead mouse in his mouth. That was better than last week, when he arrived at about the same time with a live mole that escaped and whose desiccated remains, I fear, are stuck between the books in one of my bookcases.

An hour later last night, he gleefully arrived with a second mouse wrapped in a cocoon of grass. Both rodents, of course, had to be thrown outside for tasty under-the-starlight dining. Now that it is getting chilly outside, I must don a Donald Trump hotel sort of bathrobe. (I have never, to my knowledge, stayed in a Trump hotel, but I have slept in many similar style hotels where a white bathrobe hangs invitingly on the bathroom door and is available for purchase. Sometime, somewhere, I must have bought one.)

Then, since the deck and porch floors are cold, I put my Pocahontas-style moccasins (apologies to Elizabeth Warren) on my feet before heading out with Dead Mouse I and II in hand. On my head, for chilly nightly excursions, I wear a red satin night cap. (It preserves hairdos as well as keeping my head warm.)

Both Jen and Vercingetorix, of course, raced after me and the rodents to indulge in what, I guess, were only snacks since both mice were barely bite-sized. In between the mouse arrivals I went back to bed, just long enough for one quick mouse-related dream.

Soon it was 5:30 a.m. and cat breakfast time, of course. Since both Jen and Vercingetorix are now along in years (she 16, he 14), like most elderly creatures they have pills to take. In their cases, these must be chopped up and hidden skillfully in some delectable fishy or livery substance. That takes time, especially since Vercingetorix’s pill “treats” are for hyper-thyroidism and a warning on the bottle says that the deliverer of the food to the cat must wash his or her hands carefully after touching the pills.

As for Jen, she is supposed to nibble soothing heart-shaped blue pills made with hemp. Both sets of pills, however, must be crumbled into the food if they are to be eaten. (The heart shape of the hemp pills does not seem to improve their taste.)

Both cats, however tend to be messy eaters, Vercingetorix in particular. Since I have a new deck, I have purchased placemats for my cats’ outdoor dining. One is the alphabet for animals with lions and tigers mingling among the ABC’s. The other is Numbers for Animals, with monkeys and zebras among the creatures adorning it. The mats had to be unearthed in the kitchen and put down on the deck with the food. So it was 6 a.m. before I was nestled snuggly under the overs again. At 7 a.m., the inevitable and unstoppable alarm went off, and it was time for me to be out and about, after, of course, serving a tasty dessert “au plein air” to my two pets.

I have been fearing that I am growing seriously old because I am likely to nod off watching television or reading at night, but it may simply be Jen’s and Vercingetorix’s outdoor all-night dining fetish that is disrupting my sleep patterns. And if they continue after the snow falls and there are sub-zero temperatures, I will surely be a prime candidate for pneumonia. Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren regalia notwithstanding!