Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lesson For the Kiddies

We all know the rules about strange animals, right? Do not approach a strange animal. Do not pet a strange dog or cat, even if the owner is present. Yeah, we all know.

So, this is the tale of a cat rescue gone wrong: When Pets Attack.

A cat had been living on and around our balcony for the past week. This cat, of indeterminate sex and age, had a collar, not just a flea collar, but a very nice, studded, green leather job. The cat had occasionally come over to torment our cat and dog through the screen when our windows were open.

Two nights ago, a man walking two dogs behind our house asked if we had seen a cat with a collar. We told him that we had indeed seen such a cat and pointed out exactly where we had seen it. I asked if it was a nice cat and if I should try to bring it in if I saw it again. He said, "Yes, please." Naturally, we did not see the cat again that day.

Yesterday, all day long, the cat lounged about on our balcony and on the wall of our next door neighbors. So, when I saw the man, four stories below, walking a different dog (maybe that's what he does), I hollered out to him, "Hey, here's your cat!" He continued walking after giving me a wave. Later, I saw him on a balcony next door and hollered again. This time, the cat was actually on our balcony and was sitting in the gutter.

I reached down to the cat to let it smell my hand, and began to gingerly pet it on the head after it rubbed against my hand. It seemed to like it. It let me scratch it round its ears and the top of its head, but got tense if I tried to touch any other area, so I confined my attentions to its head.

Once the cat was calm and the man appeared about to come our way, I stupidly picked up the cat. It tolerated it for a minute, but then, suddenly, lashed out with a forepaw and slashed a long cut down the left side of my nose. I was actually lucky not to have lost my left eye. It began to bleed pretty badly and I put the cat down as gently as I could and calmly walked back into the house. Our man had disappeared.

Cursing myself, I tried to rush to the bathroom without seeming to panic, since the kids were all downstairs at the time. The Princess, though, saw the blood and came running over. This brought her brothers, and I had to clean my face up and apply pressure while trying to explain that everything was okay and that Mommy was fine.

I got the bleeding stopped and went upstairs to wash and disinfect my nose better, telling the kids not to follow me. Have been cleaning the wound and slathering it with Neosporin every couple of hours ever since, and it looks horrible, but probably won't be infected. It will, though, leave a nice scar down my nose - a souvenir of Israel, I suppose.

This morning, after I returned from dropping the kids at camp, Dude and his (?) girlfriend/wife/whatever knocked on the door. They apologized for my nose and I showed them where the cat was hiding out. The woman called the cat and spoke baby talk to it, and it came out of hiding. I went back inside to keep from frightening it, and saw it follow her out of our patio area and downstairs. Thank goodness, no more cat.

So, all the stories we know about strange animals are true. Do NOT approach a strange animal. Now, unfortunately, my kids know why - first hand.

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