I believe the cats are adjusting to my parents' absence. Late last night the grey cat emerged from her pocket universe and came out to meow accusingly at me a while, and then hop up on the top of Her Recliner to lay sulking. There are two recliners in the living room, identical except for position, and this cat had taken to laying on the top -- behind where your head would go if you were sitting back in it -- of the one to the right of the fireplace as her default position for everything. After a while this spot was getting a bit distorted with the casual scratchings of her claw tips and the cat hair being pressure-welded into the upholstery. So my parents swapped the recliners, and discovered that the cat followed the recliner and was not interested at all in the position of the seat, and moved with the swap. And she spent a fair time last night actually there, visible, with her fur a bit ruffled up and looking mournfully at me for not being my mother.
This morning now -- well, my mother usually feeds the cats right after she gets up, thus, they're not fed after 6:30 am except when I'm alone to do it. That doesn't even come up when I have my extruded office product to attend since I have to be up around that time anyway. But the last few days, without the need to get up for anything, I let feeding the cats go until I was awake and ready, usually somewhere around the time The Price Is Right starts.
This morning, I heard a curious little rattling noise around my bed, and got up just enough to confirm it was about 6:30 am, an absurd time which no one should be awake for. But the rattling continued, and I finally looked for it: the white cat was chewing on something I couldn't see because it was hidden under the bed, although the noise suggested it was a plastic bag. (While cleaning my room I found a shocking number of empty plastic bags.) That I could grab away, but then the two of them converged to meow at me. Finally I got up, gave them fresh water, dry food, and packets of wet (my mother has instructed me that they must get the same flavor of wet or else they'll compare notes). They followed eagerly along, the white cat apparently assuming it would help if she ran between my legs so that I could step on her every third footfall, sniffed and examined the food, and then left without eating any. I suppose they wanted to establish the principle.
Trivia: In 1958 the Pennsylvania Rail Road received its first ``Silverliner'' commuter car. In 1970 (as the Penn Central) its maintenance personnel were given instructions for repairing the Silverliner for the first time. Source: The Wreck of the Penn Central, Joseph R Daughen, Peter Binzen. There's probably an alternate history to be written around the idea of ``what if United States railroad management from 1945 to 1995 were not dedicated to being as stupid as could possibly be?''
Currently Reading: Singularity Sky, Charles Stross. Now that's rather fun. Maybe it is possible to read science fiction written after 1973.