The striped cat stayed away from the back porch all night, and I suspect that she and her kittens held up in the shed. This was fortunate for black and white cat who, at the height of the storm, made her way around back and devoured the bowl of food I'd left out. She would look up from her meal whenever a loud thunderclap sounded, but otherwise didn't appear to be at all discomfited by the storm's tumult. She remained on the back porch until the rain slacked off, then vanished. If she feared the return of the striped cat she needn't have worried. It was after dawn when she and her kittens at last ventured back to the porch.
However, once they did return the kittens got what might have been the fright of their lives. I opened the back door as mom cat and two of the kittens arrived. The kittens freaked and dashed into a cubby hole between the wall and the counter of the outdoor sink. I then went out to fill the food and water bowls, and while I was running the water at the sink one of the kittens took off for the safety of the shed, leaving its litter mate alone. As I returned indoors I looked into the cubby hole and saw the lone kitten huddled at the back of it, staring up at me with saucer-like eyes. All the while the mom cat watched me, pacing nervously several feet away. I was positioned between her and her kitten ZOMG!!!
Once I was back in the house, the lone kitten ran to join its litter mates and, after getting a morning snack, the striped cat followed. I saw nothing of them all afternoon and thought that mom cat might have decided to move the family after so traumatic an experience, but they turned up about an hour ago, the three kittens engaging in chases and play fights on the lawn. The kittens are getting more agile, and one of them even made the leap into the yard chair on which I leave the food bowl. There he gorged himself while his mom was busy watching the playful litter mates. Soon all three will discover that there is a bowl of food on that chair. Then they will discover that I'm the one who fills it, and perhaps I will then become less of a monstrous horror to them.
As for black and white cat, she must have spent the day nearby as she turned up on the front porch very early this evening. It won't be long before the kittens find the back yard too limiting and begin to explore all around the house. Once that happens I'm sure the striped cat will run black and white cat out of the front yard as she has the back. The confrontation is bound to be unpleasant. I think I might be calling the local outfit that runs a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats soon. The striped kitty has been hanging out with gray cat again, and I fear it won't be long before she produces another litter. If I fail to act, I could end up with a huge colony of feral cats I couldn't afford to feed.
Now a pleasant, cool evening has arrived, and though there are currently few clouds in the sky the possibility of another thunderstorm remains. As long as there's plenty of rain to put out any lightning fires that might otherwise get started in the forest, and as long as there are no power outages, I'll be pleased, but I don't think the cats— and especially the kittens— will be too happy with another storm. It must be annoying to be trapped in a small shed by pouring rain when there's so much playing to be done.