"Tell them to be careful - the police."
March 11, 2014 3:38 PM   Subscribe

7 month old baby pulls tail of cat. Cat scratches baby. Father of baby kicks cat butt. Then things go rapidly downhill between the 22 pound house cat "with a history of violence" and the family...

Independent.ie: "The 911 operator stayed on the phone with the caller to ensure the family, including the dog, remained safe in the bedroom as the cat screeched in the background," a Portland Police Bureau press release said.

CBS News: "The cat remained behind bars in the custody of the family and officers cleared the scene and continued to fight crime elsewhere in the city," Portland police said in a release.

KGW.com: Video of the cat and interview with the mother.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Oregon owners of a 22-pound housecat that trapped them in their bedroom after attacking their baby say they're not giving up on their pet and are getting it medical attention and therapy.

The 911 call and the inevitable Twitter account.
posted by Wordshore (143 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
This could so easily have been avoided without Oregon's strict vacuum cleaner control laws that stopped this poor man from defending his family.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:43 PM on March 11, 2014 [46 favorites]




We need to talk about what kind of society we are living in where a cat can be 22 pounds. It doesn't just happen. That is French Bulldog or fat Pug territory.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:45 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


My cat Lola weighed 23 pounds. She was really satisfying to cuddle with.
posted by something something at 3:47 PM on March 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe... [contemptuous laugh] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like [small cough] cat screams... in... the other room. Time... to die...
posted by blue_beetle at 3:48 PM on March 11, 2014 [31 favorites]


I feel bad for the cat. If we're talking about an environment where kicking the cat in the behind is considered "appropriate" behavior, I suspect that cat's been on the receiving end of plenty of rough treatment - and if that's so, it's not surprising that it went off.
posted by evilangela at 3:48 PM on March 11, 2014 [136 favorites]


A pulled tail then a kick from a grown man? Someone put this cat with a family that knows how to care for a pet.

yes a baby pulled the tail and babies don't know better but maybe don't leave your baby near a cat?
posted by troika at 3:50 PM on March 11, 2014 [51 favorites]


We need to talk about what kind of society we are living in where a cat can be 22 pounds. It doesn't just happen.

Meet my fiancees cat, before the exercise and diet regime.
posted by Wordshore at 3:51 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


...then a kick from a grown man?

It is difficult to not at least consider that the family perhaps deserved their Wendy Torrance moment.
posted by Wordshore at 3:53 PM on March 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


Sometimes, Portlandia episodes write themselves.
posted by perhapses at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2014 [41 favorites]


"...and are getting it medical attention and therapy."

Cat therapist. There's a job that's primed for failure.


"So... How do you feel about your mother?"

*Lux bats therapist on the nose*
posted by Kevin Street at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


I'm so glad that Portland's collective embarrassment over this can now spill over from other venues onto the blue...

...on a more serious note, while I have no idea as to this particular cat's health, it's certainly not impossible for a decently healthy house cat to be twenty pounds or more. Large species like Maine Coons, for example, can easily have males that large (I've known one, he was awesome, loved to be a couch pillow).
posted by trackofalljades at 3:56 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


We need to talk about what kind of society we are living in where a cat can be 22 pounds. It doesn't just happen.

Let the moral panic commence! Next, landlords and city councils start breed-banning "potentially deadly" Maine Coons.
posted by RogerB at 3:57 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


The family should exercise their second amendment rights and arm themselves with squirt guns.
posted by perhapses at 3:58 PM on March 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


Cat-stle doctrine
posted by RogerB at 3:59 PM on March 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


Cat therapist. There's a job that's primed for failure.


"So... How do you feel about your mother?"

*Lux bats therapist on the nose*
"The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that, Lux?"

"BECAUSE I'M A CAT"
posted by Flunkie at 4:00 PM on March 11, 2014 [58 favorites]


I am worried about this cat; he sounds awesome.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:02 PM on March 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


By definition don't all cats have "a history of violence"?
posted by tommasz at 4:03 PM on March 11, 2014 [51 favorites]


Cat therapist. There's a job that's primed for failure.

"So... How do you feel about your mother?"

*Lux bats therapist on the nose*


And yet cat therapists refuse to give up on the talking cure. I think the theme for this year's convention of their professional association was "Screaming Horribly, Pissing Everywhere, Attacking People without Mercy or Reason: The Cat Therapy Success Story".
posted by clockzero at 4:04 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I seriously doubt that this "Portland" is real.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:05 PM on March 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


By definition don't all cats have "a history of violence"?

Cats and Viggo Mortensen
posted by perhapses at 4:05 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I read a news item years ago in which a Ottawa housecat suddenly went berserk and started attacking its family's young children. The children had been left in the care of a 15-year-old babysitter, who got rather seriously bitten and scratched while trying to protect the children — she needed stitches. She got the kids into a bedroom and shut the door, while the cat continued to rampage in the main area of the house. The babysitter called the children's father. He came home, and the cat, which had calmed down, went ballistic again at the sight of him. He managed to get the cat into its carrier (he donned his hockey gloves and a hockey helmet with a face cage in order to do so) and then took the cat straight to the vet to have it put down. He claimed the cat had never been aggressive or exhibited any problem behaviour previously. My guess was that the cat had something physically wrong with it, such as a brain tumour, that caused the sudden violent behaviour.

In this case there are red flags for possible abuse/irresponsible treatment of this cat on the part of the family, and I hope the local SPCA looks into the matter.
posted by orange swan at 4:06 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Jackson Galaxy wept. Of course the cat's going to go ballistic if he gets his tail pulled by a baby and his ass literally kicked. I hope Lux finds a better home, but if these donks insist on keeping him, I hope their future is happy and better-adjusted.

I can sort of sympathize, though. I have cats and a baby on the way, and I fear that they won't get along. Tiny kids don't realize that cats have feelings and claws. I'll be watching them like a hawk.

On the subject of giant cats, I had a Turkish Van who maxed out at 26 pounds; he was big-boned, obese, and preposterously furry. He made a great pillow. Thanks to his bone structure, he also had long scimitar-like claws, so I learned really quickly not to stick my face in his giant fluffy belly.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:10 PM on March 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Oregon owners of a 22-pound housecat that trapped them in their bedroom after attacking their baby say they're not giving up on their pet and are getting it medical attention and therapy.

And just to be on the safe side, they're putting their baby up for adoption.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:10 PM on March 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


He managed to get the cat into its carrier (he donned his hockey gloves and a hockey helmet with a face cage in order to do so)

Oh, Canada!
posted by tommasz at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


You know the score, pal. You're not cat, you're little people!
posted by xedrik at 4:14 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


This thread is like a window into Bizarro World for me.
posted by Sternmeyer at 4:15 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow i think the "kicked the cat" thing is going to be a really gross derail here.

Is there video of this? does anyone know what they mean by that? because it seems like several people are already imagining some kind of streetfighter type kick here, when maybe he just shoved the cat away with his shoe-and-pants equipped leg/foot so that it couldn't maul his arm with claws.

We just don't know.

The "maybe little kids shouldn't get to play with pets" thing is also a minefield.
posted by emptythought at 4:16 PM on March 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


I feel bad for the cat. If we're talking about an environment where kicking the cat in the behind is considered "appropriate" behavior, I suspect that cat's been on the receiving end of plenty of rough treatment - and if that's so, it's not surprising that it went off.

Exactly. My family has always been very nice to our animals, but when I was a born we had a mean-as-shit cat who'd been a stray before we adopted him. I don't know how many times I got scratched by that cat growing up. Mom and dad's reaction? "We told you to leave him alone."

Lesson learned well.
posted by sbutler at 4:17 PM on March 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


I really hope they find a new family -- shouldn't be hard with this all over the news. Because the cat was left alone with a baby, who did baby things and the cat did cat things, and then the adult who did this kicked the cat.

Little kids playing with pets can be fine. Babies can't be.
posted by jeather at 4:17 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing that makes me saddest about my cats is you need to put them all together on the scale to hit 22 pounds. I love big cats.
posted by jeather at 4:18 PM on March 11, 2014


My favourite part of this whole thing is the comments on the newspaper articles. We were reading them earlier and crying with laughter.

The cat may have fought the law and lost but it is definitely winning in the court of public opinion.
posted by fshgrl at 4:19 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


The "maybe little kids shouldn't get to play with pets" thing is also a minefield.

In what way? It sort of recommended by most respected pet trainers/experts. Little kids don't know how to interact with animals in a positive way yet. Unless the interaction is closely supervised, its a recipe for "good cats/dogs gone bad." The pet doesn't know the age of the person mistreating it - they just know they're being mistreated and respond. Baby doesn't know she's mistreating the pet - she's just being a baby.

Long story short: humans' fault.

In related news, a good friend of mine had a cat that started freaking out and it turned out it was an inoperable brain tumor. Yes, sometimes cats can just go nuts in a dangerous way, but there's usually a reason for it - be it medical or mistreatment.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:19 PM on March 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Cats are oblivious to the fact that they are pets. As far as they are concerned, they are murderers with an especially good deal. Left to their own devices, they will sleep, demand attention, reherase murder, poop, sleep, dream about murder, run randomly from room to room, and commit murder.

We don't leave cats to their own devices. We raise cats. We train cats, as best we can. We tend to them. And we respect that they live in an amoral world of tooth and claw, and have no compunctions about using both on anything they want.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:23 PM on March 11, 2014 [50 favorites]


My optometrist told me today she has a Maine Coon cat that weighs 45 lbs. and takes swats at the back of her head whenever she sits down on the sofa.
posted by jfwlucy at 4:24 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


We need to talk about what kind of society we are living in where a cat can be 22 pounds. It doesn't just happen.

Fortunately there is a solution.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2014


Meanwhile, here in Chicago, it was window cleaning day in my building and my newish cat was so traumatized by what must have seemed like SWATing she was hunkered down and silently crawling about, looking like a munchkin cat, from hiding spot to hiding spot for about an hour. Death, her big sad eyes said, comes from above.

This same cat checks to see if I am still breathing early every morning. I assume it is so she can try a Stephanie Izard inspired dish of human face at the first possible opportunity.
posted by srboisvert at 4:26 PM on March 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


By definition don't all cats have "a history of violence"?

My Trilby has a history of violence towards mice. And any animal he sees through the window. If he sees a raccoon outside, he hurls himself at the window hissing and ready to THROW DOWN. Meanwhile he's gentle and affectionate with everyone he knows, and flees from all strangers (read: potential psycho cat killers), babies (read: evil little monsters), and the vacuum cleaner (read: vibrating harbinger of doom).
posted by orange swan at 4:26 PM on March 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


My friend inherited a gigantic norwegian forest cat from his ex. I'd say the cat was about 25 pounds. He was cool until one day he just started trying to maim everyone who came into the apartment. He'd jump up on a head high shelf and just try to slash your face. My friend had to get stitches twice. The comments on the article seem to be LOLing at this guy but a 25 pound cat is a lot more like a bobcat than it is like a shih-tzu. This article reminded me of the fact that one day that cat was just gone, and I realized I never asked what happened to it.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 4:30 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Two thoughts:
1. Cats have a mechanism that they use to indicate their displeasure. A pointy, pointy mechanism.
2. There's kicking a cat, which I would never ever do, and then there's LOFTING a cat using one's foot, which I do on practically a daily basis, to an old rickety cat whom I love very much. He doesn't seem to much mind his brief flight from Directly In My Fucking Way to sofa, bed, or chair. See that's the cool thing about lofting cats -- you can totally aim them. The trick is to scoop up the mass of the cat with the aside of the foot while flicking the knee forward. One clean lift and they're airborne.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:33 PM on March 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


How many five year-olds could that cat take on?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 PM on March 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


An older cat going experiencing a sudden personality change is having a health issue. They can't exactly say "Hey, dude, I've had a stroke/have a tumor help." Some express illness by hiding. Others freak out. If this is sudden, the cat needs to see a vet.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:36 PM on March 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


A pulled tail then a kick from a grown man? Someone put this cat with a family that knows how to care for a pet.

This x1000!!

I can't believe there's even a possibility this poor cat is going to have to go back into that house. You kicked a cat and a cat defended itself? The only reason this is news is because the cat WON the fight.

What grown person kicks a cat???
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:39 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Dad did it wrong. I'd have put that cat in the kitty witness protection program. Nobody would ever find him.
posted by PuppyCat at 4:40 PM on March 11, 2014


My favourite part of this whole thing is the comments on the newspaper articles.

"I have seen a large black male cat act this way"
posted by RogerB at 4:42 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


My folks have a cat bigger than that. He's a Kliban cat come to life.

But he's as harmless as meatloaf, and about as active.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:50 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]




Cat attacks are frightening
posted by maggieb at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Um, better link this time.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:55 PM on March 11, 2014


My Maine Coon Mississippi was a twenty-pounder. Of course, in her mind, she was a tiny little fluffy kitten and what kind of problem did I have with her sleeping on my throat?

Himalayans are prone to feline hyperaesthesia, so the tail-pulling probably hurt him a lot more more than it would have your garden-variety moggy. They're also susceptible to kidney problems. I hope the poor boy gets taken to the vet stat.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:55 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


My ten-pounds-dripping-wet cat, meanwhile, has decided that I'm not allowed to be in the bathroom, and that she is going to enforce this by howling insistently at me every time I am, and if I don't evacuate quickly enough, attacking my feet to get me to leave. And sitting outside the door to protest every time I walk in. I'm assuming I'm safer for this. Probably the baby was in some kind of peril from a piece of lint, and drastic measures were required.
posted by Sequence at 4:59 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the bigger question here is, WTF? Really? A family of human beings. Allegedly sapient human beings. Scared into a separate room by a CAT? A 22 lb. cat? A lion, sure. A tiger. A puma.

But a PUSSYCAT?

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by Splunge at 5:00 PM on March 11, 2014


TUM, that's not a Himalayan. I know all the articles say it is. It's not. (Assuming that the 22 pound cat was the long-haired black and white cat with the normal face.)
posted by jeather at 5:01 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


My wife was a vet tech back in the 80s, in Portland coincidentally, and was bitten by a cat while holding it for a shot from the doc. Her hand looked fine but she complained that it hurt more and more as the night progressed. I was a jerk and blew it off since we had tickets for a concert. Long story short: the concert was AWESOME!

Actually, we went to the hospital instead. Admitted for two days. She almost lost her hand from the bacteria that got into her tendons.
posted by hal9k at 5:11 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, thank god they kept the dog safe.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:15 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the bigger question here is, WTF? Really? A family of human beings. Allegedly sapient human beings. Scared into a separate room by a CAT? A 22 lb. cat?

Splunge: I'm sure there are plenty of ways to take out a rampaging 22-pound animal with razor sharp teeth and claws (baseball bat, hammer, etc.), but considering that it's a family pet and the people involved probably didn't want to seriously harm the creature, their options would have been pretty limited. I think they made the right call.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:19 PM on March 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Cat can also use their powers for good.
posted by Poldo at 5:20 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think they made the right call.

With the propensity of American police departments to respond with SWAT teams whenever possible, I would hesitate to call 911 and say that there is a pissed off killing machine terrorizing my family. They're lucky the house is still standing.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:26 PM on March 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


We need to talk about what kind of society we are living in where a cat can be 22 pounds. It doesn't just happen. That is French Bulldog or fat Pug territory.

Meet Chocobo, who currently weighs in at 22 lbs as well. Been in the family for about 10 years. He's a ragdoll cat, which can actually get this large.

Chocobo does not have the temper that the cat in the FPP has, but is in fact adorable and hard not to like.

Cheers!
posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


When I was small, we had a cat that I named Gussie (pronounced "Gooosy" because I was five, so shoot me). We also had a baby in the house (my youngest brother).

One day, my mother found the cat in the baby's crib, and quietly flipped the fuck out, because (while a very clever woman) my mother believed the old story of cats smothering babies because they are attracted to the scent of milk.

So Gussie was re-gifted to my friend down the street, who renamed the cat "Kitty." LAME.

Cat/babies = sad PSHO. :-(

Signed,

Anti-Cat-Kicking Advocate
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2014


I have been charged by a domestic cat and it is no joke. Well, not quite "domestic" - it was a feral I was trying to help and misjudged the domestication of. But I have had cats all my life (see username) and have been on the receiving end of several episodes where a cat appeared to be charging because a toy they were in pursuit of was coming toward a human. I can vouch that even that is enough to trigger the part of the human brain that is like "HOLY SHIT TIGER RUN!"
posted by jocelmeow at 5:28 PM on March 11, 2014


"A pulled tail then a kick from a grown man? Someone put this cat with a family that knows how to care for a pet."

I think the criticism of the father is much too harsh, assuming that he didn't kick the cat that hard. The stories say that the cat scratched the baby's head after his tail was pulled and I'm thinking that many new parents would react quickly, unthinkingly, and harshly when they see their pet injure their baby. So this guy possibly could regularly mistreat the cat (which would explain the cat's reaction), or this could be a unique event.

And cats and babies should always be supervised, but we also don't know that they weren't being watchful and this happened, anyway. As several people said, a possibility is an illness that suddenly caused a personality change.

All that said, I both do and don't have sympathy for this family. I had a psychocat for fourteen years and there were occasions when something would set her off (one very memorable trigger was the neighbor kitten discovering a way into our house and surprising our cat, a cat who despised all other cats, along with pretty much every other living creature) and she'd terrorize us for hours or even days. Lurking where we couldn't see her and then swiping and drawing blood. Or when she was really worked up, howling and hissing and basically giving the impression that she'd been possessed by a demon. Also: all other cats fled from this cat. She was just scary. Although I loved her.

Anyway, I know what it's like to be terrorized by a scary cat. But also, I know what it's like to be terrorized by a scary cat. And I never called the police to rescue me.

From the local Portland television clip: the police officer said that the situation could have turned into a ... wait for it ... catastrophe.

Which I think is a great word for all especially unpleasant cat-related mishaps. I don't know why I never thought of it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:33 PM on March 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


This is anecdotal, but when I went to the SPCA grief support group, one woman there shared an absolutely heartrending story about the death of her beloved dog (granted, not a cat), who after 12 years or so of loving beautiful behavior, completely socialized to her surroundings so much so that the woman's business was named after the dog and the dog knew and loved all of her customers and went everywhere with her, suddenly one night turned on her and attacked. She was severely injured, and it was one of the most traumatic and horrifying experiences of her life. The dog trapped her in her bathroom and when the police came, they removed the dog to Animal Control, where the dog continued to attack anyone and everyone. Again, this was completely out of nowhere.

She said that she was informed that this isn't common but it's not totally unheard of. She wanted to say goodbye to her adult life companion before Animal Control destroyed her, but the dog continued to freak out at her and everyone else.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here. I just felt so badly for her. I think it scarred her for life. Anyway, just to say it doesn't necessarily mean that the humans involved in the animal uprising were negligent or cruel. Sometimes, in every species, someone goes bonkers.
posted by janey47 at 5:34 PM on March 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


I had a 23lb Ragdoll that decided to start flipping out and attacking us if we walked too close to him when he was lying in the hallway. The attacks were frightening, dangerous and left us shaken after we managed to corral him into the bathroom. They stopped after we moved into a house with a backyard and he started spending his laying around time under a tree.

Being attacked by a large and angry housecat is terrifying.
posted by annathea at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


We have a Siberian, who is approximately 22lbs, and will rip you to pieces as soon as look at you. She tolerates me to a point, and likes bum smacks, but has nothing but hatred for my girlfriend (who she technically belongs to).

The cat's name, hilariously but at the same time not kidding, is Lux.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:42 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Being attacked by a large and angry housecat is terrifying."

Yeah, I don't mean to minimize this. Especially when they're so angry they charge, they really are quite frightening. Still, I'm not on-board with the calling-the-police thing. But I agree that a very pissed-off, aggressive cat is no small matter.

Case in point:

"Cat attacks are frightening"

That woman got much more than she bargained for. And, I feel a bit guilty for saying so, but I'm glad she did. That clip is pure schadenfreude for me, right there. I'm fine with her wanting the cat to go away for whatever reason, and maybe okay with a single kick at it with the snow, but she seemed kind of pettily vindictive or something and just kept at it and by the time the cat ATTACKED HER FACE, I was on the cat's side. Maybe I'm a bad person.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:45 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


The police, hell, call The Nuge!
'cos of the cat scratch fever song, y'know. Plus he's got a bow. Like Green Arrow!

I'd never strike an animal. I think I've hissed at my cat twice. Both times to save his life (garage door). I've seen mean cats. I dunno. I think they need predator time. I hunt with my cat. Mice. Woodchuck.
It's pretty easy to trap them. He brings them in the bathtub and they flail away trying to climb out of the porcelain. After a bit he grumbles at me and maybe I bat the thing into unconsciousness so he can break it's neck and eat some of the lights.
I let them go if he hasn't sunk a claw deep into them. We let the chipmonk go. This particular mouse tho, no way. Kinder to just let the cat kill him.

But they seem to need that wildness. And need it respected.
The dogs on the other hand, they've got big meat eating teeth but our kids can scrunch up their faces and hang off their ears with no problem.

Of course, if an animal harmed my kids I'd break its neck. But my cat loves, and more importantly trusts, strangers. I've never caused him any physical pain at all. When the kids get to rough with him he knows I come in on his side.
If it's not a physical condition (as mentioned a tumor) there has to be abuse. Not just abuse, consistent abuse.
On the other hand, one of the hardest things to do is to put down your own pet. I can see not delivering enough force to stop it.
Like those zombie movies where you know mom is undead and wants to eat your brain but you can't bring yourself to kill her.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:46 PM on March 11, 2014


Uh, and yeah, my point is, she can be scary. I had to wash sloppy poo off her bum-fur one time, which is extremely unpleasant in and off itself, but she had a mental breakdown and essentially ripped my arms to pieces. I had to bundle her in three thick towels just to get anything done. She has a screw loose, big time, for no reason we can detect - vet can't find anything wrong with her, she is just a nasty piece of business. What gets me is we've got this fucking shit-covered maniac getting her fur and poo and vomit everywhere, and we tolerate it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:48 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


My big cat is in the neighborhood of 20-22 lbs. (He's presumably a mutt, probably some Russian Blue, you think?) When he was rescued as an 8-week-old kitten who was so malnourished that you could count all his ribs, he weighed FOUR POUNDS (average would be about two). His paws were the size of dinner plates. I was like, "Is this a housecat kitten or did you accidentally rescue a puma?" He's got a bit of chub now that he's 12 years old and slowing down, but when he was sleek, solid muscle without a bit of fat on him, he still weighed in at 18 or 19 lbs.

He is the sweetest cat in the world until we have to go to the vet. The vet wears raptor gloves to handle him now and he has to wear a kitty straight jacket. He one time sent a vet tech to the hospital by climbing up her chest and using her head as a launch pad for his poorly-thought-out vertical escape plan. (Spoiler: There was a ceiling in the way.) Because SOLID MUSCLE.

Side note, while the 911 call is hilarious, my local animal control actually does recommend you call 911 in an animal emergency and 911 will put you through to animal control during normal hours and page them after hours. Because most people don't have the animal control number memorized and they'd rather you stay locked in the bathroom and call 911 instead of trying to sneak out past the potentially rabid bat in the living room to get to the animal control number. (I don't know, Portland's a big city, maybe their 911 is too busy for that.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:49 PM on March 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


As long as we're telling cat stories, a friend of mine picked up her cat to put it outside during a dinner party. The cat, on edge from so many people, wigged out and sunk her claws into my friends neck, somehow puncturing a lymph node which led to blood poisoning and several rounds of IV antibiotics. It's generally a nice cat, and she still has it, but damn.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2014


Scared into a separate room by a CAT?

A housecat can severely harm you, even the small ones. The worst mauling I've ever received was from ~10 week old kitten who I pulled off an expressway median after he survived being flung out the window of the car in front of me. The kitten was panicked, in pain, and in no frame of mind to accept my help. I got him out of there but had deep rips (we were well past scratches at that point) and puncture wounds to my hands, arms, legs and torso. Basically, imagine a whirlwind with claws and teeth that won't let go and latches onto whatever comes into reach while clawing its way up to the highest point of ground, namely: your head. Fortunately, no serious infection set it but it was several weeks before the injuries healed (on me) and longer still for the kitten to trust me (he associated all the stress of the incident with me).

So yeah, if one of mine snapped? It's panic room time.
posted by jamaro at 5:59 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Possibly because of the heavy hint of Englishness, but my favorite tweet on this is...
posted by Wordshore at 6:07 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I still have scars in my arm from putting my darling cat Atticus in her carrier to get her altered in 1997.

Enough of my animals-are-scary rant. Here's a picture of Cosgrove looking like a little fattie, and she's "only" 14.3 pounds.
posted by janey47 at 6:25 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


My own psycho-cat story: my first cat was a relaxed but skittish Maine Coon mix who, at age 3-4, began to exhibit displaced aggression due to the pit bull puppy that moved into the adjacent apartment. Without warning, she would attack a nearby leg, and had to be beaten off with a pillow. It was terrifying for all involved - in her worst attack, she tore clear through my girlfriend's denim jeans and lacerated her leg. And then, as suddenly as it came on, it would be over, and she'd be meowing and rubbing our shins. For several weeks we kept her in the spare bedroom - my girlfriend would get on the couch under a blanket, and I would wrap myself in a sleeping bag and let her out for a few hours. We took her to the vet (which she hated under the best of circumstances - the assistants had to wrap their arms in towels and put a muzzle on her for the examination) who prescribed Buspar for anxiety. That worked pretty well, and we moved out a few months later. She never had another episode like that, although I spent the next 10 years giving her a wide berth and carefully obeying all her very specific rules about when and where various kinds of touching were appropriate. I still miss that little freak like crazy.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 6:33 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


No idea why the first few comments in this thread went Bladerunner, but I favortied them all.

I know, I know. I'm part of the problem. Sorry.
posted by snwod at 6:42 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Tiny kids don't realize that cats have feelings and claws

They learn, though, heheh. Fortunately Chloe is maybe 5 lbs, elderly, and has the patience of a saint for the most part. With age-appropriate supervision, learning to deal with the cat is good for the kids. There's a wild thing inside everyone, and sometimes abuse gets repaid suddenly and with interest. It's a healthy life lesson in boundaries and empathy.

If there was age-appropriate supervision in this case with the 7-month old, maybe the cat did have a sudden onset health problem.

Makes mental note of the fire gloves next to the hearth...
posted by maniabug at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2014


Cats are like Saddam Hussein; they only understand force.
posted by jpe at 6:48 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was wondering why no one has mentioned the fact that the 7 month old pulled the tail OFF the cat.

Oh.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


My cat punched me in the nose yesterday, but that was because I stuck my head in his kitty condo.

I know how scary a pet flipping can be. My Grandparents once adopted a shelter dog, little dachshund named Brandy. It snapped one day and completely wigged out, snarling and biting, completely wild. My Grandmother was worried as my Grandfather had pretty bad Parkinsons and was prone to tripping over his feet. If he had fallen, the dog would have been on him before he had the chance to defend himself. We had to go over, it was snarling from behind where they had barricaded it into the corner of the room. Scared the hell out of my Dad and me, was a hell of a job to take it to the vet to be put down. The shelter said it was likely because it had been mistreated badly by the previous owners before they rescued it. Such a shame, beautiful dog that was let down by humans.
posted by arcticseal at 6:54 PM on March 11, 2014


"She never had another episode like that, although I spent the next 10 years giving her a wide berth and carefully obeying all her very specific rules about when and where various kinds of touching were appropriate. I still miss that little freak like crazy."

Aww.

I adopted my psycho-cat as a fairly young kitten at the local animal shelter. And she was quite normal and affectionate for about her first eight months. She changed relatively quickly and became temperamental, prone to getting aggravated with my wife and me, little tolerance for other people, and an absolute hatred at the mere sight of any other animals.

For awhile, this bothered me. I kept her when we divorced, though, and over the years she was my companion. And while should could be testy with me, it was also pretty clear that I was the one thing in the whole world that she counted on, that would make her moderately relaxed and comfortable. She had only limited tolerance for cuddling, and she regularly hissed at me if I tried to pet her the wrong way; but, on the other hand, she pretty much couldn't bear to be away from me and would usually stay within five to ten feet of me at home, no matter where I was and what I was doing.

Eventually I decided that she maybe had some trauma as a young kitten abandoned on the street, or very possibly a mental condition. She seemed paranoid and anxious to me by nature, out of her control and fairly independent of what went on around her. Or, rather, the baseline was independent of what went on around her, but it would rapidly ramp up with any negative stimulus.

And I did make her happy. I don't know that I ever could have gotten anyone else to take care of her. It very well could have been me or being euthanized. And I learned to think of her as a difficult companion, who I loved, who depended on me, and who I just had to accept as being difficult. Because I was pretty sure it's not that she wanted to be paranoid and anxious. So I made her life as comfortable as I could, and she, in turn, was a reliable (if difficult) companion for me for fourteen years. Fourteen years that saw a lot of big life changes and transitions for me.

I was heartbroken when she died.

That didn't stop me from deliberately looking for a goodnatured, affectionate kitten when I decided to adopt a new cat a year later. So now I have another calico, but she's a sweetheart (though not excessively clingy, which annoys me in a pet). I think we went two years before she ever hissed at me, and then that was because I'd caught her by surprise, having approached her from behind, after she'd been upset looking at another cat.

I've known a number of people who've had difficult cats, like turbid dahlia and others above, and it's interesting how tolerant a lot of people are. I understand it, though, even if I can't totally explain it. Cats are who they are. I think they're good lessons for many people (if they'll learn the lesson offered) because you really have to learn that a cat is who a cat is, you have to accept them for who they are, they are not social animals in the sense that they'll conform to your expectations. I think in that there's some of the reason why there seems to be a (relatively small) gender asymmetry with people's fondness and tolerance for cats — men are more likely to expect conformance to their wishes and expectations, women are more accustomed to living in a world that is oblivious to their wishes and expectations. I know that although I'm not stereotypically male in many respects, I very much am with regard to just sort of assuming that everyone around me will accommodate who I am — and that psychocat was really a great lesson for me in learning that I needed to bend, to accommodate, because there are creatures in the world even more stubborn than me. And she was. *wipes a tear from eye*

But, yeah, did I mention that she could be utterly terrifying? Most friends and family wouldn't get near her.

"Cats are like Saddam Hussein; they only understand force."

In one sense, yes. But in the sense of that quote, not at all. You absolutely cannot dominate a cat. They don't really speak the language of dominance and submission. Even with other cats, as many people know too well, dominance and submission are in practice a kind of cold war that periodically erupts into a very hot war. Dogs, in contrast, understand dominance and submission and can happily live in whatever role is demanded of them. Cats, not so much. You can't bully a cat; and while cats certainly do understand that retreat is often the best choice, they'll still retreat with the desire to be ripping your face off instead (see previously linked video). The more you use force on them, even if you're getting them to retreat, the more their temperature rises and they're about to say, fuck it, that face is coming off, I don't care what happens to me afterward.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:07 PM on March 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


I think we need some groundrules for whether something weird that happens in Portland is just normal weird or Portlandia weird. It can't be all Portlandia weird.

I propose, "Could this also happen in Williamsburg?" Like, could you see the cast of 'Girls' trapped in a bedroom being terrorized by a psycho cat?

Sigh. Fine. Y'all win this round.
posted by Skwirl at 7:21 PM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


So I made her life as comfortable as I could, and she, in turn, was a reliable (if difficult) companion for me for fourteen years. Fourteen years that saw a lot of big life changes and transitions for me.

That was my experience in a nutshell. On those nights when I would lie on the couch and get her favorite blanket positioned just right and she'd cautiously settle on my stomach and let me give her a good petting, I knew it wasn't a casual thing, she was as comfortable and relaxed as she'd ever been or ever would be, and that was insanely rewarding. And in retrospect, those years...she wasn't the only fucked up soul in need of a safe spot on that couch.

That didn't stop me from deliberately looking for a goodnatured, affectionate kitten when I decided to adopt a new cat a year later.

And again, right there with you. This time I went in for two cats, a mother and a daughter. I've never heard either of them hiss, and they let me brush them and rub their bellies. I straight-up cried tears of relief the first time I took them to the vet and they didn't put up a fight. But every once in a while, I miss the cat that made me *work* for it.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 7:21 PM on March 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


PS - If you call animal control after hours in Portland, the voice message tells you to call 911. Calling 911 was totally appropriate here.
posted by Skwirl at 7:27 PM on March 11, 2014


The late, great Mr. Whiskers had a bum hind leg from a kittenhood injury. In every other respect he was the chillest, most mellow cat you'd ever hope to meet, but once he hit middle age, if his bad leg or lower back got bumped the wrong way, it was Teeth Time. I've still got a lump of scar tissue in my right hand at least five years later - the ER doc said that cats' mouths are a breeding ground for all the worst bacteria. He could have never lived in a house with small children.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:39 PM on March 11, 2014


As far as increasing one's ability to handle a cat in a difficult situation, we've had great luck with the Thunder shirt. It's kind of amazing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:47 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


(He's presumably a mutt, probably some Russian Blue, you think?)

He looks a lot like one of my childhood cats, whom the vet said he thought was also part Russian Blue. He's a big, handsome fellow with a gorgeous shiny coat.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:49 PM on March 11, 2014


So yeah, if one of mine snapped? It's panic room time.
posted by jamaro


Jamaro, you are absolutely prepared. These poor people didn't have a readily available panic room. All they had was the inadequate bedroom.

People, the lesson from this is that if you're going to have cats, you must have a panic room*--preferably stocked with six weeks worth of food, a first aid kit, and plenty of gin. Elephant guns are optional.


*And for craps sake, don't even think of installing a cat door.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:03 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


As far as increasing one's ability to handle a cat in a difficult situation, we've had great luck with the Thunder shirt. It's kind of amazing.

Cool! Do they make them for people?
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cool! Do they make them for people?

Hug Boxes.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pete was a lover, not a fighter. Heaven forbid if he ever did go to the dark side because I am certain he could really mess a person up, but thankfully he was 27 lbs of pudding in a furry sack. Good ol' Pete.

I can't remember the exact line but Doug Coupland says something like "if cats were just twice the size they are now they'd be illegal, but even if dogs were the size of cars they'd still be our good friends."
posted by dirtdirt at 8:19 PM on March 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


i live here and i can tell you it's only about 5 degrees of separation between this and Tonya Harding.

It's that kind of stupid here.
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:33 PM on March 11, 2014


I don't know about cats not understanding dominance. We had a Maine Coon-ish cat who was a gigantic asshole and would bully everyone around him if he could. He favored grappling and biting of calves when he could and toes when he couldn't, and he was capable of leaping and taking shots at arms, too. (My aunt required stitches.)

The only one he didn't pull that shit on was me, because the first time he tried it was when I was just home from high school for the day and he'd been picking on my sister for an hour and gotten her to leave that side of the house entirely. He came charging down at me and lunged and sank his teeth into my leg. I looked down, hauled back with that foot, and flung him right back down the hall. He bounced off the closet and landed on his feet and you could see the little thoughts forming in his head, "Oh. He's bigger than I am." We resumed our previously friendly and cheerful relationship afterward, with him greeting me at the door and getting fed and having scritches while I dropped off my backpack. Everyone else, who ran away or distracted him when he assaulted them, he continued to harass whenever he felt like it. So I don't know about cats in general, necessarily, but that cat clearly understood the pecking order (or thought he did, anyway.) He ended up trapping my then-fiancee in a room in a somewhat similar manner to this news story. (He did NOT like her because she kept spending time in my room and always showed up when I was about to leave again for extended periods. Very very jealous kitty.)

In later life, we knew that something was wrong with him when he started snapping and lashing out at me along with everyone else. Tried kitty psychoactives, but they didn't work. Lo and behold after some investigation we found he'd developed a thyroid problem and was losing dangerous amounts of weight (down to only 17 pounds or so). He got some thyroid meds and was back to baseline levels of asshole for the remainder of his life, i.e. still biting the shit out of people due to boredom or minor irritation, but no longer actively attempting murder without provocation.
posted by Scattercat at 8:35 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love the concept of the Thunder Shirt. It's getting an anxious cat inside the Thunder Shirt that gives me pause.
posted by jamaro at 8:36 PM on March 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


How many five year-olds could that cat take on?

How many duck-sized horses could that cat take on?
posted by orrnyereg at 8:47 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Weighted blankets are also a very real thing for people with sensory processing issues. (Although expensive.) Gentle pressure is an amazing thing. But, I think the thing with the thunder shirts is that once they're used to them, you just leave them on most/all of the time, not so that you have to catch and wrestle a freaked out cat/dog into it in the middle of things.
posted by Sequence at 8:49 PM on March 11, 2014


The only thing Im shocked about here is that the cat is still alive. If it was a dog, the police would've shot it. Hell, they shoot dogs as standard procedure, on sight. Even off duty.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:01 PM on March 11, 2014


The cat's weight is at question here anyway since if you listen to the man on the 911 call, he seems to "guess" the cat's weight when describing the cat. I imagine this is just a bit of describing things as more than they are so you don't sound as ricidulous when describing a 12 lb. cat on a RAMPAGE holding a family (and their dog) hostage in their bedroom.

I saw a video on the LA Times reporting of this story where they show the alleged beast and it looks nowhere near the twenty two pounds of very very very very violent cat with a history of violence.

Poor kitty, it's a sad story for all involved.
posted by loquat at 9:03 PM on March 11, 2014


I have a lean 14 lbs ex feral. He's the sweetest, most careful soul. But since he grew up on the streets, if he ever went off it would be terrifying. Lightning speed, sharp claws and nasty teeth are a bad combo. And the sound that comes out of an angry cat is unholy.
posted by wotsac at 9:12 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


When I was in grade 10 I got -10 out of 50 on a history essay because young me failed to understand that whatever King I was writing about "went insane" due to syphilis. My teacher gave me a talking to how people just don't "go insane" and that I should have connected the dots. He let me rewrite the essay and I got something in the 40s I think. Now I could have argued it was a brain tumour.
posted by juiceCake at 9:17 PM on March 11, 2014


Pulling on a cat's tail is 100% not cool, no exceptions.

Turning it like a crank while making hilarious ratcheting noises with your mouth is actually recommended by the factory, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:13 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Imagine this cat backing you into a corner.
posted by JujuB at 10:14 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


The humans deserved it. Shame on them for being such shitty owners.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:25 PM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


So I guess this meme isn't so far off after all!
posted by happyroach at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2014


We had a cat named Kaspar who was born on the same day as my granddaughter, and was inseparable from her until the day he died (of some congenital heart defect, at the age of four). Of course, that left us with Fritz, the world's greatest cat, who we lost to cancer a couple of months ago. Now, of course, in the full course of human/feline relations here at maison pjern, we are left with psychotic cat, Gracie. She is truly a neurotic bag of nerves, but we love her just the same.
posted by pjern at 10:37 PM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


My cat went to a new home after he pissed on my newborn. I had been warned that new babies change cat behavior, often drastically.

For all of you shaking your heads over the poor widdle puddy tat and how the big mean humans deserved what they got: you don't know how hard the kick was, and you don't have the information to state that they must have been horrible owners.

Animals are great but I don't understand folks who always have to set them on pedestals above their fellow humans.
posted by Toothless Willy at 11:42 PM on March 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


That cat's dynamite. What does one do?

Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 'Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade!
posted by three blind mice at 11:50 PM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gonna go out on a little limb here and say that if a baby pulls a cat's tail and the cat objects by scratching up that baby, then good on the cat. Baby learns that the cat is not a toy. Move to separate them, sure, but sure as shit don't punish the cat, let alone give it a booting.

Fuck all the humans in this story. They don't deserve a cat.
posted by kafziel at 12:46 AM on March 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


If a cat reacts to a kick by attacking the family -- howling at the door to get them -- and it's big enough to pose a real threat, the cat is no house cat and has to go.
posted by pracowity at 1:44 AM on March 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I got corned by my beloved Toots. I tripped over her kitten, kitten screamed, mom reacted. Another time, I stepped on roommate's cat tail, that cat screamed, so my cat attacked him. This was puzzling. Third incident: Roommate's cat playing with neighbor's kitten (they were buddies) and a cat screams. My cat attacked roommate's cat...but it was roommate's cat screaming. His voice was that of a little kitten. The kitten was biting his ears, as they played rough. The older cat seemed to love it though.

Toots was just freaky if she thought a kitten was being hurt, and apparently, I was also her kitten. But that's the cat, bless her, who would sneak up behind me to nip me under my arms, when I spent too long sitting on the bed not quite crying, after my first partner died. She knew I was too morose. She really DID treat me like her kitten at times. An amazing creature. Fortunately, I keep a box of tissues on my desk, so I'll use one now.
posted by Goofyy at 4:32 AM on March 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Animals are great but I don't understand folks who always have to set them on pedestals above their fellow humans.

Brain parasites, man.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:49 AM on March 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


WHO'S THE PUSSY NOW PUNKS
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:59 AM on March 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is ridiculous.

An adult human with any decent level of will power and presence of mind could kill an attacking 22 pound cat in a matter of seconds.

The only thing that would make a cat hard for a human to kill is it's ability to evade us. If it isn't trying to flee, you just stomp on it until it dies, and given the weight difference, that would be rather quick.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 5:20 AM on March 12, 2014


My wife's cat does not like our son much. When he was smaller the noises he made when upset freaked poor kitty out and he slowly went from a big fluffy baby to a neurotic ball of nerves. But our son liked the cat, and wanted to interact, which made the cat nervous again. So, we killed two birds with one stone, adopted the sweetest little shelter kitty, and now have one cat that LOOOVES our son and also made friends with old grumpy because he's insufferably friendly and refused to take "go away, kid, you bother me" as an answer.

So things are better. But before? Old grumpy cat would lose his shit once in a while, when the kid was too close or too noisy or whatever. And when that happened, he would NOT hurt our son. But he would lash out at me. Because he needed to attack something, and he knew that hurting kid would equal thrown unceremoniously outside in the cold. And hurting my wife? Cat wouldn't dream of hurting his "cat-mommy". So I was on the receiving end of it. An 18 lb cat can seriously claw the shit out of your ankles and feet, in milliseconds. I'd face down an angry dog that size, but a cat? Jesus. I am VERY glad the cat is more mellow now that he has a feline friend.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:30 AM on March 12, 2014


I also have a giant cat and a small baby, and the small baby is really really really into the cat. Like, all you have to do to amuse the baby for an hour is put her in a room where she can see the cat, and she'll do her excited hyperventilating happy dance and stalk him merrily as he moves from perch to perch to stay ahead of her.

I was a little worried that the cat might not take well to the baby, because babies really don't understand proper cat-handling protocol, so when she was about six months old and starting to show active interest in the cat, I decided to take off the kid gloves and just let her have at it. My thinking was, the cat is super friendly and the worst he will do is thwack her on the nose when she pulls his tail, and presto! Baby learns to give the cat a wide berth.

I was completely unprepared for what happened. It turns out, the cat is secretly a masochist, and is so desperate to please this tiny human that he will put up with anything she does to him. "Ellie," I say repeatedly, "we have to be gentle with the kitty. Gentle." I model appropriate cat-patting behavior. And the baby just launches herself at that poor cat like a little homing missile. She pulls fur and ears, and chews on his tail. If I pat this cat's stomach or rub his tail the wrong way, he glares at me and maybe takes a half-hearted thwack at my hand with his claws retracted to make a point. When the baby does it? The cat just stares at me (not her--me) with this mournful look, as if I had some explanation for why this is his cross to bear. As the baby gums his ear and twists handfuls of his fur, he flattens his ears back and buries his head under his paws, apparently wishing he could somehow channel this attention into the butt-rubs he so much prefers, but not able to get his point across. The cat is way more mobile than the baby, and our house is full of places he could sit where she couldn't reach him, but the cat is resigned to his fate.

So I guess what I'm saying here is, every family with a baby needs to borrow our cat for a while. Just don't leave any green leafy things out, because he will eat his own weight in cork husk or gerber daisy, and then puke it all over the bedspread.
posted by Mayor West at 5:56 AM on March 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


An adult human with any decent level of will power and presence of mind could kill an attacking 22 pound cat in a matter of seconds.

Yes, of course, an oh so brave and masterful person could off the family cat in the kitchen, but you don't want to have to wrestle a family pet to the ground and stomp it to death. ("Relax, kids, *STOMP* *MEOW!* I'm just *STOMP* *MEOOOW!* stomping Mister *STOMP* *MERRROWWWW!* Fluffles to *STOMP* *CRACK!* *GACK!* death on the kitchen floor!") And at this point you don't even know if Mister Fluffles is rabid.

When the family pet corners you and leaves you little choice but to kill it or be shredded and gnawed, you want someone who gets paid to grab angry bobcats and the like to come and escort Mister Fluffles from the premises until you know what needs to be done.
posted by pracowity at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2014 [10 favorites]




I did not see this link above. The Portland Police Bureau report. Apologies if someone already put this up.
posted by Danf at 6:19 AM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Friend of mine has a huge demon cat that will actually growl and hiss at you while she's rubbing against your hand demanding pets. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT CAT YOU'RE SENDING ME MIXED MESSAGES.

Though the screencap from one of the TV broadcasts of this of the 911 transcript with CAT: RAAAAAAAAARRRR did make me laugh.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:25 AM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, of course, an oh so brave and masterful person could off the family cat in the kitchen

I think the point is that cats are too small to present much actual danger to anyone, and the only reason you would be cornered by a cat is because you don't want to hurt it.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:41 AM on March 12, 2014


Now I'm waiting for the internet to produce the inevitable "History of Violence" movie poster starring the cat.

/dnrta
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:48 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


When the family pet corners you and leaves you little choice but to kill it or be shredded and gnawed, you want someone who gets paid to grab angry bobcats and the like to come and escort Mister Fluffles from the premises until you know what needs to be done.

Seriously. Plus these are new parents with a 7 month old. When we were at that point, the changing shape of a rash meant a Serious Discussion of should we get him to the doctor Right The Fuck Now. I can only imagine the levels of panic that Crying Baby + Baby Blood + Angry Cat would have provoked. Calling the professionals who deal with panicked situations would have been the best choice. At no point would we have wondered, "But what will the internet think of us?" because BLEEDING BABY.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:54 AM on March 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I would laugh but Life has a twisted sense of humour.

Have a cat who hates other cats, but when I first got Veronica, I used to call her the Cobra because she'd leap and attack everyone. She is a big mush pot now.

My first cat Marc Anthony scared people so much they would call on their cell on my driveway to ask if he was locked up, but now he is the consummate gentleman...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:16 AM on March 12, 2014


I feel bad for the cat. If we're talking about an environment where kicking the cat in the behind is considered "appropriate" behavior, I suspect that cat's been on the receiving end of plenty of rough treatment - and if that's so, it's not surprising that it went off.

LOL oh, Metafilter... You rarely disappoint.

I, on the other hand, am wondering how it is that anyone thinks he has to call the police to handle a house cat... I mean...22 lbs. is a big house cat. A big house cat.

shakes head, speechless
posted by Fists O'Fury at 7:29 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Cats can do serious damage to a human. Someone upthread compared a cat that big to being more like a bobcat or lynx. It seems ridiculous, sure, but I remember the vet techs telling me once they had to use a plexiglas shield and thick gloves to deal with my normally mild-mannered 7-pound cat after she had an operation and was in a ton of pain. This is two adult, trained professionals, very used to dealing with panicked animals and very unhappy cats with sharp claws and teeth. My cat was only 7 pounds; now triple that. *shudders*
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I, on the other hand, am wondering how it is that anyone thinks he has to call the police to handle a house cat...

If you don't want to kill or mangle the family cat but the family cat has suddenly freaked out and apparently wants to kill you, there is no mystery. You get shredded (and get rabies?) capturing it yourself or your call animal control. And seeing as no one has animal control on speed dial, you call 911 and explain the situation.
posted by pracowity at 7:52 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was once attached by a cat at a friends house. Its so much more frightening than the predictable behavior of an angry dog. It was like being cought in a house with a wild bobcat.

I went over to my friendshouse for dinner. She was dating a woman who had a cat that was very possessive and had “anger issues” as my friend reported to me. She said it took her over 9 months to get the cat to be ok with her sitting next to her girlfriend without acting out. So, I’m invited to their house for dinner and they have the cat in the basement. All is well until dessert. The girlfriend goes to the basement to get ice cream and the cat escapes into the house and goes under the dining room kitchen. I just assumed the cat would act skiddish and run away, until I looked at the girlfriend and the fear in her eyes. I was in the kitchen, which was a dead end and the only way to escape was to go past the dining room table. She told me to walk slowly into the kitchen, looking back and forth at the cat and me, cat and me. At this point the cat started to moan. Not hiss, not meow, but this deep guttural moaning growl. It was staring at me and its voice started to get louder and louder… Rrrrerrrrrrroooooowwwwwwww…. I ran past the table, and that triggered the cat to run after me, it ran up my leg and started to bite and use its back legs to spur me. It all happened so fast, but I really thought I was going to get seriously injured. I kicked at it and it fell off me and then jumped right back to me as I ran to the front door. The girlfriend was behind him and after I kicked him off a second time she told me to go outside. I scooted out the front door and stood there in shock. Did I just get my ass kicked by a house cat? I stood there in the cold without a coat and my hands shredded from scratches and waited and waited and waited. After a while my friend came to the door with my purse, my coat and a wrapped dessert and she told me the situation was still being worked on and her girlfriend needed to continue to calm the cat down and it was best that I head home.
Afterwards, she identified some medical issue, something like rage syndrome or something like that as the reason for the cats behavior. No, they did not want to put the cat down, they were just going to continue to life like prisoners in their own home being controlled by an insane cat. I honestly would have been able to handle an encounter with a brown bear with more understanding of its behavior more so than that cat. It was frightening.
posted by brinkzilla at 7:55 AM on March 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


Turns out life imitates 3.5 rules. A house cat, according to the monster manual, can deal 3 damage with two claws and a bite. (Minimum damage is 1 HP for an attack.) And a peasant has 1d4 HP. Dude was totally right not to mess with it, especially since his initiative roll was low and he had just performed a partial action inside its zone of control.
posted by Mayor West at 8:04 AM on March 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Glad to see that cat-attacks-snow-kicking-woman video got linked. Some people seem to be underestimating how ugly things can get, very quickly, with a seriously pissed off cat.
posted by Decani at 8:35 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love the concept of the Thunder Shirt. It's getting an anxious cat inside the Thunder Shirt that gives me pause.

Oh, it's easy enough. You just have to put them into a smaller Thunder Shirt first.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:00 AM on March 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Another vote for health issues. I had a cat whom I had nursed from kittenhood to 9 years of age. She was the cuddliest little black soft furball you had ever seen. Suddenly she started to get increasingly agitated about any noise in the bathroom where she had been born. Drop a toothbrush, slam a cream-lid down, and she'd appear just to growl at you. Once day I dropped a hairbrish in the sink and BLACK NINJA KITTEH attached herself to my thigh in attack-bite-mode as I ran screaming from the room trying to get her off. I still have the scar.

She had to be put down, it turned out she had a stroke.
posted by dabitch at 9:19 AM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


On the other hand some cats are just terrorists. Years ago we had a friend who had an un-neutered seal point Siamese named Nietzsche. He was a menace and came home one day with buckshot in him after wooing a neighbor cat. So his owner took him to the vet (took navy diving gear to get him in the carrier I'm told). His owner warned the vet that this cat had a seriously bad attitude and should be approached with extreme care and protective gear. This was laughed off and they opened the carrier saying what a sweet little kitty (he was tiny). He made tracks over the vet and vet tech, leaving a trail of blood, headed out to the waiting room where he savaged a huge German Shepherd. His owner, a large, ex-military guy pointed out that he had warned them when they complained. I could tell many more stories of this ilk but you get the idea.
posted by leslies at 9:29 AM on March 12, 2014


I need to add that all three of my kids' first word was cat - for our large orange tiger cat. He would let them crawl all over him and totally maul him but beat up dogs 10 times his size on several occasions. Thing is that we were right there and watchful. And when the kids got old enough to learn he taught them manners but he never would have scratched a baby. He clearly thought the kids were his babies though.
posted by leslies at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2014


"He clearly thought the kids were his babies though."

I've seen some cats do this, they'll hold on to the human baby and groom the heck out of their heads. It's adorkable.
posted by dabitch at 9:43 AM on March 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


This thread is giving me a better understanding of why the vets at the office where I take Trilby rave about what a wonderful patient he is. Trilby is so petrified with fear to be in a strange environment that he just sits perfectly still and lets the vets do whatever they want. His one reaction is to the rectal thermometer: his facial expression is first wide-eyed and stricken, then changes to a furrowed-brow grim endurance.
posted by orange swan at 9:51 AM on March 12, 2014 [17 favorites]


And then there was the elderly, five-pound ladycat, former bottle-kitten, who slept under my blankets every night, had a different chirp and purr for every occasion, and constantly mothered both me and every other creature who passed under my roof. One day, the vet did something that must have crossed some sort of line, and she bit clean through the loose skin between the vet's thumb and index finger. "Well, I guess she's still got sound teeth for a cat her age," said the vet.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:32 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


My 20+ pound cat was a charmer, using his good lucks and the fact that people would squee when they saw him to get his way. I never saw him lash out in anger, though there was the rare bout of self-defense during bath time (I WILL CLING TO THE SIDES OF THE TUB SO I WON'T TOUCH THE WATER AND IF MY CLAWS ARE OUT AND YOU TRY TO MOVE MY PAWS IT AIN'T MY FAULT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.) And while he behaved almost perfectly at the vet's, tolerating shots and bloodwork, if the vet so much as dared check his ears or his teeth he turned into a big blustery spitting ball of BACK THE HELL OFF, JACK. He knew his strength, but he knew that more often than not that a piteous "But I thought we were friends" mewing would get better results.
posted by Spatch at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


the timely motto of clan macpherson: "touch not the cat bot the glove."
posted by bruce at 12:15 PM on March 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


For some reason I can't stop laughing at the image at the "rapidly downhill" link of the post, which is now printed and hanging at my desk.
posted by mikepop at 1:06 PM on March 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I love the concept of the Thunder Shirt. It's getting an anxious cat inside the Thunder Shirt that gives me pause.

What I'd do is, take the cat to the vet to get knocked out first, and then you should be able to easily get the shirt-...oh. I see the problem.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:19 PM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I am just shaking my head over some of the stories of insane cats, such as brinkzilla's. If I had a violent cat like that one I would put it down. It's not safe to have an animal like that around, and I could not live with myself if my cat attacked someone and was the cause of the person losing an eye, or a hand from infection. I mean... you're going to guarantee that your cat will absolutely never get out and attack a child? Really? And there are loads of other rescue animals out there in need of a good home.
posted by orange swan at 3:48 PM on March 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


To be fair to the people in the stories above: no one adopts a violent cat. The changes in cat personality usually happen over years with small, incremental accommodations made by the owner who doesn't have the outside perspective to realize things have gotten out of hand and there's always the hope that one more accommodation will preserve the peace. It's very much one of those sad situations that is more likely to be resolved with sympathetic rather than judgmental responses.
posted by jamaro at 9:19 AM on March 13, 2014 [5 favorites]




Not having kids gives me a bit more leeway, but it's not that I VALUE animal lives more. It's just that humans have kind of an advantage these days. They can communicate with those in power, and use tools and exploit major resources in ways that we've kind of limited for other species over the years.

If I had a human roommate with health problems, he could say to me, "Hey, TUM, I'm in a lot of pain, could you get me to the doctor and get me checked out?" When Mr. W was in pain from his gammy gam, his little walnut-brain animal instinct was to bite anything that got too close to it, and that was my cue to get him to the vet for an adjustment to his medication.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


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