Saturday, March 7, 2009
Cat scratch fever
We recently had some more worldly boys move into our neighborhood. They aren’t bad kids, just a little rough around the edges, which is okay, except they brought their cat with them. And their “kitty,” apparently deciding that it was tired of the boys’ tough love, took up at our house.
Now, I’m not one to give animals human traits or to talk about them as such, but this cat is one big bully. My sweet little cat has been in a frazzle ever since. For one, my cat doesn’t even know she’s a cat. I’m not saying she thinks she’s human; I believe she perceives herself more like a dog, really, just smarter. (Oh, wait, that’s the definition of a cat!).
Anyway, the big new bully cat is making her life miserable—and mine. Yesterday, she had my cat cornered against the door. Fed up, I opened the door, made like I was going to grab her, and yelled like a banshee. The bully cat didn’t blink. Her blue eyes looked at me as if to say, “Is that all you got?”
My cat just gave me a disgusted look.
The truth is cats tend to scare me. I think it stems back to my childhood. Ever the animal lover, my sister befriended a stray Tom cat. She was the only one who could get near him without falling victim to his claws and terrifying hiss. My sister had just talked my parents into letting us keep him when, as suddenly as he came, he disappeared.
During which time, I watched Old Yeller. (Yes, I know it’s not about cats. Please keep reading…)
Reappear, weeks later, the old Tom cat, looking scrawnier then ever, therefore, in my sister's eyes, more lovable. She opened the door to greet the howling thing, when he tried to dart into the house, something my parents did not tolerate. She put her leg out to stop him, when—CHOMP--he bit down hard.
My sister didn’t want me to tell mama because she feared (correctly) that we could no longer keep him. I kept quiet for about 30 minutes until the thought of my sister foaming at the mouth from the rabies I was sure she had contracted got the best of me.
The vet advised we bring the cat in for a two-week observation. But first we had to catch him. My dad bribed him with food, leading him onto our screened-in back porch, and then quickly slamming the door behind. The cat must have sensed he was trapped because he went nuts, bouncing off the walls like a ping pong, until he finally burst through the screen.
Fortunately, we were the cat’s current food source, and the greedy, ill-behaved fellow came back, much to my sister’s relief after I explained to her in great detail how she would need seven excruciatingly painful shots in the belly button in order to prevent a horrific death by rabies. Hey, what are sisters for?
Even though I’m sure it wasn’t in their job descriptions, two of Dad’s employees showed up with an aluminum trash can to collect our wild cat. Donning heavy-duty gloves, they finally succeeded and drove the can with the cat banging wildly inside to the vet.
The vet’s office was crowded with animals, and the two men, who were sweating nervously by this point, warned the doctor that this was no ordinary cat.
“Oh, he’ll be fine,” said the vet. “Go ahead and lift the lid.”
They reluctantly complied, and the cat shot straight up hitting the ceiling, before proceeding to run around the room knocking over plants and upsetting the “patients’ in the process.
The end result? $250 in vet charges, plus damages--a fortune in the 70’s. The good news? We didn’t have to take my sister out back and shoot her like Old Yeller. As for the last cat we ever owned? He was given a clean bill of health--right before he escaped.