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Preventing a catastrophe
May 14, 2014 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Cat saves boy from dog.
posted by Bistle (138 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've never seen a cat just slam itself into a dog like that. Most of the time, if a cat's mad at you, it's yowling and scratching and biting, but Tara's like a fuzzy little missile.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Wow, I was NOT expecting that video to have a graphic, close-up image of a pretty bad wound in it! So, um, be aware I guess.

But this IS pretty amazing!
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:41 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Seriously, that cat is one B.A.M.F. Caution, the dog attack in that video is pretty frightening - it comes out of nowhere and the kid has zero chance to get away. He is so lucky the cat was nearby and protective enough to tackle the dog.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:45 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


“A mean dog hurt me. He tried to bite me,” said Jeremy, who didn’t remember much of the actual attack. “The cat saved me. My kitty’s a hero.”

Watching that cat hurl herself at the dog, then chase it off the property, and then run back to make sure the kid was ok... And then the wonderful photos in the news story... Damn. So powerful. Also, that little boy is gonna have the most awesome scar-story to tell on dates someday.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:46 PM on May 14 [26 favorites]


That cat is awesome, fresh fish for life for sure.
posted by arcticseal at 8:04 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


Great video, and thought provoking too!

What causes some dogs to go nuts and savagely attack humans, sometimes mauling them to death? Some predator/prey instinct that gets flipped on?

But then why don't cats do this? Cats are carnivores too, and it's not simply a size thing, dogs are perfectly happy attacking humans larger than them. Also dogs have been domesticated longer than cats, in the absence of historical evidence you would expect cat attacks to be more prevalent. In fact, thinking about it, cats generally kill way more wildlife than dogs do if let out on their own.

Maybe it's not a predator-prey thing, maybe it's a pack dynamics thing where the child is seen as a rival which elicits such a vicious attack (do they do it to other dogs in a pack?) while a cat really does not see us in that manner and thus won't go for such a sustained attack. Cats seem to bite / claw in self defense, anger, or for no logical reason, but it's usually not a "murderous rampage until you stop breathing" kind of attack.
posted by xdvesper at 8:06 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


"GET YOUR OWN FOOD!"
posted by srboisvert at 8:09 PM on May 14 [25 favorites]


I once saw a kitten take on an adult possum and won. My cat Veronica used to be nicknamed Cobra because she would throw herself in your face if you scolded her...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:09 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Cats > dogs. QED.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:09 PM on May 14 [28 favorites]


All right, Team Cat, you win this time.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:10 PM on May 14 [31 favorites]


But then why don't cats do this?

Cats can and do snap.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:10 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


How on earth did they manage to capture three separate angles? Are there really people out there whose houses are bristling with cameras??
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:15 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Cats can and do snap.

Indeed.
posted by mph at 8:16 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


How on earth did they manage to capture three separate angles? Are there really people out there whose houses are bristling with cameras??

Apparently they bought and installed 8 cameras after their neighbors got burglarized.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:17 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Oops, thanks...it's amazing what one can learn when one R's TFA.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:27 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Bakersfield. God's reminder that there are much nicer places on Earth to be.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:27 PM on May 14 [18 favorites]


I had a tortie named Shock that practically levitated and went after a dog (unprovoked) during a yardsale we were having. She was like a flying buzz saw. The owner had to drop the leash so the dog could make a run for it.
posted by krix at 8:30 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I will tongue-in-cheekily suggest that this was the cat doing the classic Big Brother thing. "No one eats these people but me!"
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:32 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I keep seeing this posted and can only see one thing going through the cat's mind - "The fuck out of here!" basically over and over and over.
posted by sweetkid at 8:35 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


I keep seeing this posted and can only see one thing going through the cat's mind - "The fuck out of here!" basically over and over and over.

"NOT TODAY MEOWTHERFUCKER!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:37 PM on May 14 [54 favorites]


Heh. My family had a cat like that once.
posted by homunculus at 8:42 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Struggling to understand why a) someone would have footage of all this, b) why mom left the kid after the attack, and c) why anyone would post graphic shots of their kid's wounds on the internet. With artful captions. WTF people.
yeah the cat's a badass and I'm glad it was on the spot.
posted by bricoleur at 8:42 PM on May 14


so dogs have been domesticated longer than cats

The cats are LOL'ing that you think they've been "domesticated".
posted by JaredSeth at 8:43 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


What causes some dogs to go nuts and savagely attack humans, sometimes mauling them to death? Some predator/prey instinct that gets flipped on?

No, this isn't wolfish behaviour. For thousands of years we selectively bred dogs to be guard dogs. That's why we see a smidge of territoriality in most dogs, and extreme behaviour such as this in poorly trained ones.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:45 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


a) security footage b) to me it looked like she was leading the kid indoors c) I dunno, because
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:45 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Bakersfield. God's reminder that there are much nicer places on Earth to be.

A place where a young family can afford a nicely landscaped suburban house in a quiet neighbourhood where kids play football in the park, and it's 85 degrees and sunny in May? It actually doesn't seem that awful.
posted by Flashman at 8:46 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Struggling to understand why a) someone would have footage of all this, b) why mom left the kid after the attack, and c) why anyone would post graphic shots of their kid's wounds on the internet. With artful captions. WTF people.

Welcome to the internet! (since this must be your first day here).
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


Struggling to understand why a) someone would have footage of all this, b) why mom left the kid after the attack, and c) why anyone would post graphic shots of their kid's wounds on the internet.

a) as previously mentioned, a security system, b) apparently the dog was coming back and she was chasing it off again, and c) people are weird.
posted by KathrynT at 8:51 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Flashman: It actually doesn't seem that awful.

UNTIL THE DOG ATTACKS YOU!

This was so damn awesome. I went to slow it down and do the pause, play, pause as fast as I could to get a slow-mo view. I hope someone gets an animated slow mo gif. Right now, on tumblr, all I see are regular speed ones.

So, he furious flies towards the dog, PUNCHES the dog with his little kitty fist-paw, pushes off with one rear leg while kicking him, then burrows into him full force with his whole body pushed off. It was like a little Martial Artist at super fast speed. I wasn't able to catch it all, but HOT DAMN is it awesome.

SOMEONE MAKE THE SLOW MO GIF!

As a child in the country, there was this dog. I don't know if we ever know whose it was, or if it was a wild dog (there were stories of wild dogs in our area, but I don't know how much of that was true or not). Anyways, I would get off the bus, and EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY THIS FUCKER WOULD CHASE ME SO HARD. Outta nowhere, like a... dog... outta hell.

To this day, I dislike dogs in general. Not all dogs, of course. Some are cute, and puppies are still adorable. But dogs, man... it's really a 50/50 crapshoot.

Cats? THEY LOVE THE FUCK OUTTA ME, AND I, THEM.

I have a feeling this kid is a cat lifer. <3
posted by symbioid at 8:56 PM on May 14 [22 favorites]


The two security camera points of view overlap a bit in time. There appears to have been a bird flying by at 4:50:52? Maybe the dog went to chase the bird and got to the other side of the car, saw the kid, and got confused?

Of course I'm totally on Team Cat all the way and not trying to make excuses for dogs. I used to get chased by dogs when I was a door to door political canvasser.
posted by Schmucko at 8:56 PM on May 14


Best kitty award!
posted by zscore at 8:57 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I grew up in neighborhoods where neglected pitts roamed free.

I survived, as I grew up with Alice

Alice is what the AKC terms a "Fuzzy Grunter" - a genial mongrel with a luxuriant, shaggy coat. Who can stone-cold level a staffordshire terrier left feral and all his "pit bulls are nice, it's the owner who's responsible for them eating your kid's face" pit bull friends. Serious, one collie-mutt round bundle of fuzz, and she could flat out deck the feral fighting dogs three-on-one.

I have an image in my 7-year-old brain of brandished teeth, paws at my shoulders one moment, Alice licking my face the next. If an NFL team or WWE franchise could capture the essence of Alice, they'd be undisputed champions forever.

Cat, Alice tolerated cats. She'd tolerate you more than most.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:59 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


I'd love to believe my cats would do this for me, but they'd be totally under the car going "Dude, you OK? We'd like to come out but there's a dog there."

OTOH, the cat my family had growing up was badass. I personally saw him whack a dog on the nose that outweighed him by a factor of four. He would also sit on the fence of the neighbor's kennel and look down at the dog inside -- now going nuts -- as if to say, "I'm just out of reach, too bad, isn't it?"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:01 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


All three boys treat Tara about the way you’d expect, their mom said.

“My kids are absolutely awful to her. They tug on her tail, they pull on her ears, they try to lift her up and carry her around — which obviously doesn’t work for a 2-year-old quite as well,” said 

“I think they’ve sat on her, they’ve jumped on her and she just looks at them with that annoyed cat look that all cats have and … takes it. She really is the most amazing cat.”


The cat was quoted as saying, "I am saving the children for later."
posted by Dip Flash at 9:04 PM on May 14 [20 favorites]


Greg_Ace: "How on earth did they manage to capture three separate angles? Are there really people out there whose houses are bristling with cameras??"

Multi security camera setups are pretty common. Enough that Costco around here for the longest time sold 4 camera systems as a regular stock item
posted by Mitheral at 9:06 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


It is SO interesting how the dog notices something (the kid, presumably), goes to check things out with very little hesitation, trots around the side of the car... and then clearly decides to go for the attack. You can virtually see the point at which the dog moves from being curious (with the potential to get aggressive) to being full-on aggressive.

The cat is my hero. A couple of years back I was attacked by a pack of three dogs. Two started attacking from the front while the third circled around to attack me from my other side. At the point that I got saved by a passer by, they had my arm and I was being pulled down to the ground. This was despite my best efforts to kick them away and to throw rocks at them. I'm very lucky.

I wish I'd had an attack cat come to my defense - three cheers for the super moggy!

Also, to the people who say Bakersfield looks nice: Yes, that house and neighbourhood looks nice (apart from the uncollared roaming dog). But have you been to Bakersfield!??! Let me just say that the security cameras are an excellent idea.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 9:10 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Super-cool cat vid AND depressing evidence of panoptic dystopia.

I always wonder how this all makes Tim Berners-Lee feel.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:12 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Struggling to understand why a) someone would have footage of all this, b) why mom left the kid after the attack, and c) why anyone would post graphic shots of their kid's wounds on the internet. With artful captions. WTF people.

I can't remember. What's the opposite of "burying the lede"?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:14 PM on May 14


37 comments in, and the dog apologists have yet to appear.

I guess that first MeFi post was kind of prophetic- Metafilter is for the cats.
posted by keep_evolving at 9:24 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I have to admit, I don't know if I would have believed it was that awesome if there wasn't actual footage. That wasn't a cat, that was a missile.
posted by double bubble at 9:31 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


This reminds me of the video of the cat who started relentlessly attacking the babysitter after his human breaks a glass and starts crying. That cat wins an award for valor if not for the ability to correctly read a situation.
posted by dgaicun at 9:45 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


So, when I was reading about this earlier today, The article said the dog was under observation. Does that mean it wasn't vaccinated? That's what they did with the cat that bit me, since it didn't have it's shots.
posted by annsunny at 9:46 PM on May 14


"why anyone would post graphic shots of their kid's wounds on the internet."

The wound and stitches gives more context to the story, since the severity of the attack is ambiguous in the video. The dog isn't just dragging the kid around by his clothes, but ripping into him.
posted by dgaicun at 9:51 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


Bricoleur, I had the same response--I'm so glad that cat was there, but was boggled that the parent didn't help their seriously wounded child up off the ground. The first time I saw this, I assumed that the child was uninjured, because I couldn't fathom someone just walking away from that.

Annsunny, some places (Kern County, where Bakersfield is located, included, apparently) require quarantine for any biting animal, vaccinated or not. I'd imagine that Kern county is particularly tetchy about that, as iirc, a couple years back they had several domesticated cats (not ferals) come up with rabies.
posted by MeghanC at 9:56 PM on May 14


Man. I feel like I'm gonna be labeled "that guy" for this. Let me say that I have no reason to doubt anyone's story (and I don't, overall), and I don't have a er... dog in the fight.

That wound doesn't look like a plausible wound resulting from the attack in the video to me. My only dog bite story is that a chihuahua bit me in the calf, though much more briefly than that. I was not dragged any distance, as this kid was, nor did the dog do the meat-ripping head shake, as this dog did. It produced a similar, though smaller wound, but bruised all to holy hell in not much time at all. I have a friend with a nearly identical story (double anecdata!). This is my experience with semi-comparable situations.

Are they really good at reducing inflammation before applying stitches now or something?

Just an observation that led to me questioning the situation. I don't hate mauled toddlers.
posted by cmoj at 9:58 PM on May 14


Thanks, MeghanC! I was really wondering.

cmoj, I think the bruising may take a bit longer to show up. My cat bite continued to get more spectacular for the first few days. Since the wound looked so clean in the picture, my guess is that the family was already at the ER.
posted by annsunny at 10:03 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah -- my kid went through a pane of glass in a particularly gruesome way a couple years back, and despite extensive gashes, she was bruise-free...until a day later, when suddenly her arms blossomed with giant purple splotches.

Also, having just looked at the article again, I'd kind of like to give that mother a cookie--I think it's impressive (and laudable) of her to say, you know, accidents happen, we don't blame our neighbors, they're not at fault here. I mean, I basically feel like that's the ideal response (when there's no reason to believe that the dog was maltreated or anything), but it feels like it's an increasingly uncommon response, and it's nice to see it modeled in a high-profile case like this one.
posted by MeghanC at 10:14 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Watching the video, I just went What the Fuck, dog? Because it came around the car and just attacked for no reason in a vicious fashion. As soon as it happens, just after the cat bullet, the boy's mother runs out, checks on her son, and then goes to chase the dog away because it looked like it might come back. Especially with that much footage, I'm not going to doubt it happened, call into question the mother's parenting, or try and explain why the dog did what it did.

Bad dog, good cat.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:35 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Wow, that's a feline cannonball right there, some serious cat-fu. Hope the kitteh got some tuna or catnip or whatever as a reward!
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:00 PM on May 14


If this is real, it's amazing, if this is fake, also amazing. I don't think for a second that our cat would do this for my kids, but I'm pretty certain our Cocker Spaniel would take on any size creature that attacked them. The only thing I thought was odd about this was the paved over front lawn. The war against dog poop has been won! But at what cost?!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:04 PM on May 14


I love dogs and cats (don't tell my bride about the latter).

A group of people I really loathe? Those who let their dogs run free. Those people are, to a person, assholes. They're usually "oh, he's a nice dog" as the dog is standing over a pile of offal which used to be an old lady.
posted by maxwelton at 11:34 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


There are two things I thought were interesting. At=17-19 you can see the dog enter the classic "pointing" pose. And also, the cat slammed into the dog sideways. I didn't think they could or would do that; I would have expected a cat to attack with claws and teeth. Also,
GOOD KITTY.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:03 AM on May 15


Multi security camera setups are pretty common. Enough that Costco around here for the longest time sold 4 camera systems as a regular stock item

Of course, they also sell four packs of pianos...
posted by nzero at 12:40 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Some of the comments here (and elsewhere) are just plain bizarre.

People questioning the multiple cameras - Did you even watch the video? Home owners install multiple cameras so they have good recording coverage of the area they wish to monitor. This video is practically an advert for multiple camera security. These systems are cheap, unobtrusive and you maintain control of the video. If you're worried about crime and want to have quality evidence in the event of a crime (eg a burglary, a dog attack) then the system this home owner had would seem a good choice.

People questioning the mom running off - Did you even watch the video? She runs in the direction of the dog. This is basic crisis management at work. (1) Check the kid and establish that his condition isn't life threatening or likely to rapidly get worse without intervention. (2) Check the threat and establish it isn't coming back for a second attack on the kid or you. If the child had been bleeding to death she would presumably stayed with him and tried to stabilize his injury, but that clearly wasn't the real danger - the real danger was the dog. A wound like that isn't going to deteriorate significantly for hours, a dog can return and inflict massive injury in seconds.

People questioning the photos of the wounds - Without these you don't know if the dog was using its teeth and truly attacking or mock attacking, a common trait in domestic animals. The photos are context and in no way embarrassing or exploitative of the child. They also inform the people that don't know how dangerous animals like dogs can be just how much damage a small dog can do in a matter of seconds.

Kudos to the cat.
posted by samworm at 1:30 AM on May 15 [34 favorites]


Hero cat: the aftermath.


I love the way they're trying to get the cat to stay by the kid and it's all, "Hey, I saved the little punk's ass, don't try to tell me what to do. I'm still a cat, you idiots."
posted by Decani at 2:04 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Judging by the cat's name it's female, which isn't surprising. I've seen a lot of female cats make a connection and figure out that children are essentially funny looking kittens and get maternal and protective near them.
posted by unreason at 3:11 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


No, the dog got euthanised.
posted by trif at 3:27 AM on May 15


It has to be done. It says they will observe the dog for 10 days, to see if it shows signs of rabies I guess, and then euthanize it.

I was bit by a dog once. It later went on to attack 2 more people, and that was the end of that dog. The dog was left by itself, tied up in the yard, most of the time, which is, I think, how it became so aggressive. I really hate people who get dogs but do not care for them well.
posted by thelonius at 4:01 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the video, but it irritates me that both cat and dog are running loose outside, which is just not the way things ought to be.
posted by sonascope at 4:20 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the video, but it irritates me that both cat and dog are running loose outside, which is just not the way things ought to be.
posted by sonascope at 12:20 PM on May 15


Cats would vehemently disagree. It's one of those huge differences between the UK and the US, this. Over here, we believe it is actually cruel to have an "indoors only" cat. We feel that it is an affront to a cat's basic nature not to allow them access to their outside environment. So much so, that animal shelters over here frequently stipulate that cats for rehoming will only be given to people who can guarantee access to a garden, etc. The only times they say otherwise is when rehoming cats that are adult, and who have been kept indoors by their previous owner, and are therefore not used to the alternative. But generally, the feeling is very strong that it is cruel to deny a roaming beast the freedom to roam.

Plus, we're not inclined to agree about cat welfare with a nation where declawing is still legal. ;-)
posted by Decani at 4:42 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]


Over here, we believe it is actually cruel to have an "indoors only" cat. We feel that it is an affront to a cat's basic nature not to allow them access to their outside environment. So much so, that animal shelters over here frequently stipulate that cats for rehoming will only be given to people who can guarantee access to a garden, etc.

That's all very well and good for the cats, but the hundreds of birds and small mammals killed by loose cats for fun may disagree.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:57 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


showbiz_liz, we're getting into muddy water there. The options are that we deliberately keep a cat confined (inhumane), we let the cat roam free (humane) to kill wildlife (inhumane?), or we stop breeding cats all together?

My downstairs neighbour has two cats, and they are lovely and sociable, but I can't for the life of me get any birds on my bird feeders. I really want my cake and to eat it as well on this one.
posted by trif at 5:06 AM on May 15


My mom was taking the trash out once and spotted a Doberman wandering up the alley. As it passed our yard, our cat casually dropped off the top of the garbage bin onto the dog's back, bit and clawed furiously, then hung on for the ride as the dog shot yelping back down the alley. My mom almost died laughing, as kitty walked daintily back home, looking extremely smug.

Cat vs. dog, when dog is expecting it? Don't think cat has especially good odds. But cat vs. dog, when cat launches a surprise attack? Sorry, doggy.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:10 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I had a friend in college who told a story about her cat, Frank Nitti. One day a small boy appears at her door holding Frank. As he hands her the cat the boy says, "Your cat killed our dog." It turns out the dog in question was a fully grown Lab. It apparently died from shock or heart failure after Frank latched onto its head and went after the eyes repeatedly...
posted by jim in austin at 5:12 AM on May 15


In Europe, they regularly decided that cats were satanic and massacred them, so I'm not going to assume a sanguine intellect with deep insight into the natural world is responsible for the millions of feral cats wandering around Rome.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:41 AM on May 15


What causes some dogs to go nuts and savagely attack humans, sometimes mauling them to death? Some predator/prey instinct that gets flipped on?

But then why don't cats do this? Cats are carnivores too, and it's not simply a size thing, dogs are perfectly happy attacking humans larger than them.


My theory is that it partly relates to the differences in the ancestral species: dogs were domesticated from wolves, which can weigh up to 100 lbs and routinely work in packs to hunt prey weighing up to half a ton. Cats, on the other hand, were domesticated from small wild felines (probably the African wild cat, which weighs less than 10 lbs) that only hunt small prey. Cats may viciously defend themselves against larger animals if they feel threatened, but they're never going to look at something like a 40 lb child or a 150 lb adult as potential prey.
posted by drlith at 5:43 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I don't doubt that cats occasionally entertain thoughts about what the world would be like if they were just a little bigger and we were a little smaller.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:45 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Chester Copperpot got a little something extra in his bowl last night before bed. Call it an insurance policy.
posted by echocollate at 6:01 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


echocollate: "Chester Copperpot got a little something extra in his bowl last night before bed. Call it an insurance policy."

Sloth love Chunk?
posted by Sphinx at 6:27 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


You can feed Chester forever, but one day he shall have his revenge for that name.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:45 AM on May 15


You can feed Chester forever, but one day he shall have his revenge for that name.

As a kitten his name was briefly Beef Slabrock. Uncertain whether he traded up or down to be honest.
posted by echocollate at 7:11 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Yes, awesome cat, bad dog. But the people who are taking this as evidence that dogs = bad and cats = good are bad humans.
posted by ChuckRamone at 7:16 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Cats would vehemently disagree. It's one of those huge differences between the UK and the US, this. Over here, we believe it is actually cruel to have an "indoors only" cat. We feel that it is an affront to a cat's basic nature not to allow them access to their outside environment. So much so, that animal shelters over here frequently stipulate that cats for rehoming will only be given to people who can guarantee access to a garden, etc. The only times they say otherwise is when rehoming cats that are adult, and who have been kept indoors by their previous owner, and are therefore not used to the alternative. But generally, the feeling is very strong that it is cruel to deny a roaming beast the freedom to roam.

First of all, that's incredibly irresponsible. Cats destroy wildlife on a massive scale.

Second, it's based on utter bullshit. Cats are perfectly content to live indoors. And if you really cared about your cat, you'd want to keep it from getting squished by cars or eviscerated by predators. (Maybe you'd need predators bigger than a little fox to understand.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:40 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Once I was walking down a street in Chicago and a dog, some brown mutt looking type just walked past and bit me on the leg - not hard enough to tear the clothing but enough to leave a mark. By the time I turned around the dog was running away, looking for all the world like a teenage dirtbag running from a prank. I've always been suspicious of Chicago since then, as they let unruly teenage dirtbag dogs play pranks on tourists.
posted by The Whelk at 7:47 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Yes, the mother ran off because she hates her kid. She ran off just to fuck with him. That's what mothers do! Makes perfect sense.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:47 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


@symbioid, here you go. Slow motion giffed out.
posted by mroben at 7:50 AM on May 15 [17 favorites]


First of all, that's incredibly irresponsible. Cats destroy wildlife on a massive scale.

I live in the U.S. For what it's worth (maybe nothing), my parents are veterinarians. I come from a family that places a high value on pet health/happiness.

Cats have lived outdoors forever—rodent control was and is still one of their main functions in a lot of places (including my house/yard). Yes, they kill a lot (my neighbors have full license to swat at/throw things at/release the Pekingese hounds on Chester if they see him loafing around their bird baths), but pitching them as an ecological disaster is over the top.

This "if you really cared about your cat" stuff is snooty twaddle. A lot of factors go into pet quality of life, and while not getting hit by a car is one of those, it's not the only one.
posted by echocollate at 7:54 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


pitching them as an ecological disaster is over the top.

Not according to the most recent scholarship.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:05 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


[Folks, it's your choice but turning this thread about something else into "Cats: ecological catastrophe or fuzzy widdle adoreballs?" might not be the best way forward.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:07 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


How much to cats actually kill?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:09 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


the dog apologists have yet to appear.

I think this story is getting so much attention precisely because you never hear about cats doing awesome things for their humans, while such stories about dogs are common. Or, put another way, this cat behaved like a dog, which most cats would never in a million years do.
posted by jbickers at 8:10 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


All of the vets I have seen have given me a pamphlet about the dangers of allowing cats to be outdoor cats and all the various diseases and accidents that regularly befall them. And urged me to keep them indoors (which I do). Also shelters interrogate people to make sure they will keep cats indoors.

A lot of factors go into pet quality of life, and while not getting hit by a car is one of those, it's not the only one.


I've had friends whose cats were found flattened by cars, or with their throats ripped out by dogs. I know my cats won't be around forever, but I'm not submitting them to a fate like that. It's not inhumane to keep cats indoors. They are tiny animals. My apartment is their entire world. They seem very happy there. I think there's this myth about cats that they're "assholes" or "hate people" "badass predators" etc but they are tiny animals that actually do well with human socialization and are subject to many dangers outside (and kill wildlife).

I'm surprised a pair of US vets would say, great, let your cat roam around the neighborhood, good plan.
posted by sweetkid at 8:12 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I don't really have a dog in this race (heh), but here's a pretty balanced view on indoor vs. outdoor cats: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterwedderburn/100005735/is-it-cruel-to-keep-cats-indoors-all-the-time/
posted by barkingpumpkin at 8:14 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


[But if you're going to talk about outdoor cats, you pretty much need to not be a snarky jerk about it?]
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I am very pleased by this video because it serves as proof that a cat story I have told many times happened exactly as I said it did, despite the many doubters of my quality as an eyewitness.

One lazy summer afternoon, my gigantic orange tabby started banging on the front screen door and making a hideous noise like an air raid siren with no warning at all and for no apparent reason. When I went to the door to investigate and to let him out as he so obviously wanted as evidenced by the incessant -bang- -bang- on the door, I saw a dog I had never seen before barking furiously with his two front paws on a tree across the street. Meanwhile, the tabby was flying like a missile directly towards the dog, so I followed. As I got closer, I realized that our other cat was cowering in the lower branches of the tree. The tabby (weighing 20 odd pounds) simply plowed into the side of the dog at full speed, sending him tumbling end over end. When the dog regained his footing, he was facing the tabby with what I processed as an astonished reaction, but the cat apparently thought he was insufficiently apologetic and swatted him on the snout. The dog fled, the treed cat was coaxed down into my arms and we all walked back into the house.

As my vet said about the same beast, "You can't beat a good cat."
posted by Lame_username at 8:28 AM on May 15 [16 favorites]


the dog apologists have yet to appear.

yeah... i was on the fence about posting in here but it's gotten under my skin a bit. in my mind the dog is not the asshole here, even though what the dog did is messed up. the dog attack is just a symptom. the real problem is the owner who neglected to train this dog properly and who then let this untrained dog run free. i see that the dog has been euthanized... what punishment has the owner faced, if any? any community service, dog obedience courses, fines/fees/apologies? is this owner prevented from owning any animals in the future?
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 8:30 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


in my mind the dog is not the asshole here, even though what the dog did is messed up. the dog attack is just a symptom. the real problem is the owner who neglected to train this dog properly and who then let this untrained dog run free. i see that the dog has been euthanized... what punishment has the owner faced, if any?

Yeah, that's what keeps me from 100% enjoying the story, awesome as it is. I feel bad for the dog, for having a shitty owner that let this happen.
posted by COBRA! at 8:33 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Well, for some reason my bill to euthanize bad dog owners didn't pass the state Senate.
posted by happyroach at 8:36 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


I really quite like cats and have jointly-owned cats in the past but the moral paradox of owning them means I can't deal with having one any more:
Want to let it roam outside (good) but it kills wildlife (bad) but keeping it inside means I have to clean the litterbox all the time (bad) and constantly stop it from running out the door (bad) whereas outdoor cats poop outside and rarely in the litterbox (good) and are easier to leave alone for a few days (good) but instead they poop in other peoples gardens (bad on a karmic level - I've been on the receiving end of this big time and cannot sanction causing it).
Our last cat was also stolen once*, taken to a vet or animal shelter by well-meaning idiots twice, and hit by a car twice (second time fatally).

*Knocked on neighbour's door, neighbour answered, I said "hi our cat has gone missing, it's small and black and white, have you seen-" and at that point our cat ran down their stairs, out their door and down the road towards our house. "Oh. Um. Nevermind. Bye."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:45 AM on May 15


That "slam-into-side-and-bounce-off" trick is apparently not unique.
posted by adipocere at 8:48 AM on May 15


The dog got away from its person while she was taking him somewhere in the car.
posted by thelonius at 8:52 AM on May 15


Eight months old is still in puppy territory. So the owners have this for "punishment" so far: their puppy has been killed.
They will have to pay for that, and to have his corpse taken care of. They'll have to pay for any tests the county does to find out if the dog was rabid, or certification that the dog was not rabid.They'll likely be paying the medical bills for the boy and his mother.

Is that enough for a start, cristinacristinacristina?
posted by merelyglib at 8:57 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Also, the dog was an 8 month old Lab mix. I had a labrador growing up, and at 8 months old they are really still puppies. This isn't some Rottweiler who was left chained up all day, or a dog who was trained to fight or anything. It's a dog, less than a year old, who suddenly turned out to be aggressive.
posted by KathrynT at 8:57 AM on May 15


The only thing I thought was odd about this was the paved over front lawn.

Bakersfield has a desert climate. To much of California, particularly the desert places, a "lawn" is just a place for spiders, snakes, and scorpions to hide. My mom now lives in the middle of the Mojave. Somewhere I have pictures of the time her dog got bit in the lip by a sidewinder.

Regarding the in/out cat/dog debate: my now-18-year-old cat was the kitten of a barn cat that was not ours. I firmly believe my cat reached 18 years because he is an indoor cat. I think he is happy. But I don't speak cat fluently so can't know his feelings on the matter. (He thinks I understand him, though, which is adorable.)

The cat that gave birth to my cat was very sweet and not house trained, but she became our de facto outdoor cat after we had her spayed. She was as good as any guard dog. She would growl at cars she didn't know, launch herself like a cannon at foreign cats (this video surprises me not at all; it is common cat behavior despite comments to the contrary), and then she disappeared one day never to return, likely eaten by a dog or a hawk, or run over by a car as happens to so many neighborhood cats, or shot by some local idiot.

There are now about 5 neighborhood outdoor cats who regularly roam my yard. Somebody feeds them regularly, because they are all fat, but I don't think anyone claims them. I found one of them last spring hiding in my barn with a gaping wound on his neck. He and I became sort-of friends, and I gave him food. I don't want him as a house cat, but I didn't want him to die or suffer either.

I have multiple bird feeders and have no trouble keeping 10-20 different bird species from visiting daily and constantly. But, I live in the country in Michigan. My situation is not everybody's situation, which I guess is why there is such a thing as a local ordinance and no federal law governing cat liberty.
posted by tempestuoso at 9:05 AM on May 15


showbiz_liz: Not according to the most recent scholarship.

From the linked abstract:

The magnitude of mortality they cause in mainland areas remains speculative, with large-scale estimates based on non-systematic analyses and little consideration of scientific data. Here we conduct a systematic review and quantitatively estimate mortality caused by cats in the United States. We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually. Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality.

I can't read beyond the abstract, but the emphasized text above seems more than relevant to the ecological issue, as we're talking about owned, domesticated animals. The abstract also doesn't distinguish between types of wildlife. I'm more concerned about my cat killing local birds than I am moles, squirrels, rats, and chipmunks, all of which are plentiful and a nuisance in my area.

Whether it's right to keep your cat indoors depends largely on your location. If you live in a city, in heavily trafficked areas, or areas with a high population of feral cats, limited exposure to outdoors makes absolute sense, and I fully endorse it. I personally live in a back corner of a large residential area with large green areas, light traffic, and few feral cats (I've observed none in the four years I've lived here; several neighbors have indoor-outdoor cats as well). Concern on the part of veterinarians about feline diseases (feline leukemia, FIV, rabies, etc.) are mitigated in part by your cats potential exposure. Likewise, concerns about automotive deaths. Vaccination affords a measure of protection against disease but, in the case of Feleuk and FIV, not 100%. Also, light traffic doesn't mean no traffic. There are always risks.

It's not an exact analogy, but I personally feel that pet ownership is a lot like having kids in that you want to minimize the risks while maximizing their freedom. This requires careful thought and balancing in the choices you make as a pet owner. My point is not that indoor-outdoor or outdoor-only is superior or optimal to indoor-only. My point is that circumstances matter, and that blanket accusatory statements about what is or is not best for someone else's pet without any information as to their particular environment is snotty and rude.

Sorry for the derail, mods.
posted by echocollate at 9:05 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


What is the criteria for putting an animal down? I read somewhere that the dog continued to be aggressive when animal control showed up but if it's an adolescent can't this behaviour be fixed? Also, don't the authorities usually wait a week to ten days to euthanise? It seems like all the media attention may have led to an earlier decision.
posted by Partario at 9:08 AM on May 15


The dog got away from its person while she was taking him somewhere in the car.

That's not what the article says: "Upon arrival, Grubbs said police officers learned the dog had wandered out of a nearby backyard shortly before biting Jeremy, when its owner opened a gate to put her car away."

Basically the same amount of oops, though.

That said, both situations would be preventable with an "airlock" system. In the the former scenario, that'd be as simple as closing the garage door (assuming a garage) before opening the car door; in the latter, it would mean installing a fenced-in area around the gate, so you can close one gate behind you before opening the second gate with the excited dog on the other side.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:10 AM on May 15


What is the criteria for putting an animal down?

The video evidence is pretty clear. The dog wasn't tussling or playing, it was going in for a kill. It's going to be trouble, no matter what comes next, and an unacceptable risk to public safety.

That said, both situations would be preventable with an "airlock" system.

A trainable and trained pet dog would be a much better solution.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:14 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


It also came *back* after the kid despite being driven away by the cat and an adult. That is not a dog that you could ever regard as safe with any amount of training. It wasn't provoked, it wasn't skulking like an abused, traumatized dog -- the body language is very happy and alert as it comes around the car after the kid. It's a dog that for whatever reason apparently regards small humans as prey, and dogs like that have to be put down.
posted by tavella at 9:23 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


A trainable and trained pet dog would be a much better solution.

Well, yeah. Or, better yet, no pet dog.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on May 15


Bunny Ultramod: I don't doubt that cats occasionally entertain thoughts about what the world would be like if they were just a little bigger and we were a little smaller.

See Sandman, issue 18: "A Dream of a Thousand Cats." A cracking good read, IMHO.

"The game of cat and man. Prrrrrr."
posted by panglos at 9:25 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Why? Pretty much anyone who has dogs and doesn't treat them abusively (ie, lock them up inside in a cage 24/7) will have a dog escape at some time. They'll shrug off a collar, they'll yank the lead out of a hand, they'll climb a fence, they'll dig under a fence, they'll learn how to unlatch gates, they'll push a screen open, they'll dart past someone opening a door. It's just one of those things that happen. It normally isn't an issue because dogs are a domesticated animal and will not attack humans unprovoked... but some of them are miswired and in that case they have to put down. Others might have been normal and were abused or neglected, but some perfectly well treated dogs bite humans too.

It's possible the owner mistreated the dog, and in that case they certainly shouldn't get another, but if they were good owners there is no reason for them to not get a saner dog.
posted by tavella at 9:29 AM on May 15


But generally, the feeling is very strong that it is cruel to deny a roaming beast the freedom to roam.

Great. Find a time machine, travel back in time and tell my parents and childhood me after losing one cat to a garage door mishap and later, another to a pack of dogs roaming free. Maybe the sense of smug superiority will drown out the hurt from losing two outdoor cats.
posted by indubitable at 9:32 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


My childhood collie was bred from a tradition of sheepherding dogs that roamed the countryside with their masters, outdoors in the nature. We didn't let him run around the neighborhood wild, herding random animals because that was his calling.

Why on earth would it be different for cats? I can understand on a farm cats are useful and have healthy lives outdoors, but in suburban areas it's a ridiculous assertion that it's a wild beast roaming free. What is it that is supposedly so very different about cats vs dogs and any other pets that they should be let loose around neighborhoods?
posted by sweetkid at 9:40 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


And I can tell you from experience.... I was horrified to learn my black lab had bitten a girl. I couldn't do enough to try to make it up to her and the memory churns my gut to this day. He wasn't taken and killed because in those days it wasn't mandatory (and he was up on his shots, had current tags and clearly well treated). The girl wound up with four stitches and Marty never bit anyone again.

I don't know those people but if they're anything like me they're feeling pretty shitty right about now and that's not going to go away any time soon. Just a bad scene all around once you get past Tara's amazingness.
posted by merelyglib at 9:42 AM on May 15


the dog apologists have yet to appear

I'm not so much a dog apologist as I am angry that people continue to take on dogs without the least thought that there's a responsibility involved in managing your dog.

First, that damn dog shouldn't have been free roaming the neighborhood. I know there's all sorts of people who have the same Southern attitudes about dogs that my father and all his Georgia family had and have, which is that it's somehow unnatural to keep dogs leashed and penned up, but it's unnatural to have cars everywhere, and complex social situations with strangers. My father never had a dog that lived longer than a few years in his youth before it was killed by a car, and that's in an era when everyone didn't have two cars and drive everywhere.

Second, dogs are as crazy and unmanageable as their owners. I've got two dogs, and I make training and reinforcement a part of every interaction I have with them. They aren't hypervigilant, because I don't leave them that opening. My former dog, on the other hand, was an abused rescue that could not ever, ever be around children, and I managed that as well. "Is your dog nice? Can I pet her?" they'd ask, and I'd say "No," and "I'm afraid not."

It's odd that I am a dog person now, as it happens, because I was mauled by my neighbor's damn Chow on more than one occasion in the seventies, was chased and bitten by whole teams of marauding hillbilly guard dogs in then ruralish Scaggsville, and otherwise was harangued by dogs throughout my youth. I became the neighborhood's fastest tree climber and spend more than an afternoon in the upper branches like a treed raccoon, miles away from a damn dog's "home," hollering for help and being glad I often carried a book when I was out playing. Uncontrolled dogs are unacceptable.

My larger dog is a Carolina Dog, a pariah breed related to the Dingo and Jindo, and they're famous for an extra revved-up prey drive, being of self-sustaining feral stock, but I've worked with her over the years I've had her to change her focus. One of the things both dogs are trained to do is to go directly to my porch, without passing GO or collecting two hundred dollars, if their collar comes off or their leash is dropped, or they otherwise are suddenly loose. I tend to practice this at the end of our walks or yard time by stopping at my walk, unclipping Daisy's lead, and saying "Go'onup." She is, thus far, flawless, even to the point that, when my friend was walking her in the next block and had her back out of her collar, she took off and ran directly home to the porch, because he wasn't versed on the little angry grunt I make that means, to her, stop, don't move, don't do anything else, and just get low.

I was returning from a walk a few weeks back and I'd sent Lou, the tiny beagle, to the porch, and unclipped Daisy just as I realized that I'd unclipped her with a rabbit standing literally three feet away. I hadn't seen the rabbit hunkered down in the long, heathery grass, but she had.

She stood there, rigid, vibrating like a tuning fork, looking to the rabbit, then to me, then to the rabbit, then to me. I wasn't sure if I should move, try to clip her, or just—

"Daisy," I said. She looked up at me, eyes wide.

THERE'S A RABBIT. THERE'S A RABBIT AND IT'S RIGHT HERE. DO YOU SEE THE RABBIT?

"Daisy, go'onup."

RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT.

I made the angry little grunt. She stopped vibrating and took off for the porch, so fast she skidded straight up to the door there. The rabbit unfroze, then schlomped off to do rabbit things, and I mused on the actual look of cognitive dissonance at work in a relatively simple-minded animal.

"You were very good, Miss Daisy, and I think you're going to get two treats this time."

Still, like owning a car, a firearm, a kitchen, or a selection of power tools, you can never, ever be complacent. Dogs have this inbuilt tendency, and one that's been useful in our coevolution, to create defensive perimeters around the things that their hazy little minds think are important and then be absolutely nuts about maintaining them, so we have to get it right, for our dogs, and for those around us.

As for loose cats, I've spent a couple weeks chasing the neighbors' dozen roaming sadists away from the little rabbit warren where the aforementioned rabbit is rearing three little fuzzy kits in my phlox and daffodils, and I'm not averse to snapping them hard with a rubber band so I don't have to euthanize three half-gutted crying babies that some damn cat decided to terrorize and torture to death over a period of hours (I know this from experience). I'm also not particularly happy to find yet another cat run down in the street or to have the traumatic experience of hitting one myself as they flash out in the dark from under parked cars.

Domestic animals are domestic animals. That's a responsibility. We can choose to accept it or shirk it, but the latter will create nothing but suffering.
posted by sonascope at 9:43 AM on May 15 [13 favorites]


I don't think it's always mandatory...one of my friend's dogs bit my other friend's EYE in high school and wasn't put down, or under observation, or anything. More recently another friend's dog bit people routinely and she ended up rehoming him but he wasn't put down.
posted by sweetkid at 9:44 AM on May 15


I've only been really bitten once, though I've been chased on my bicycle many times.

I was 12 and walking down the street in my baseball uniform toward a game I was supposed to pitch and not paying attention, when I felt a very sharp pain in my right calf. I jerked around to see a mid-sized pure white dog just standing on its lawn with a curled lip, not making a sound. "Hey," I shouted to the owner, who was clipping his hedge, "your dog just bit me!" He came running over as I bent down to investigate the bite. When he saw all the blood on my hand he started crying, but at the same time the ineffable weirdness of the fact that this dog happened to be living in the exact house my family had moved out of maybe eighteen months before to a house six blocks down the same street finally began to really sink in and I started laughing, perhaps a little too much.

He was just crouching down there kind of staring up at me and stammering apologies, with tears on his cheeks and his dog in his arms (the dog still had not made a sound), and I realized I wasn't mad, and that the dog probably just thought that this person he'd smelled so many times had come back to take their house away and he had to defend it, so I said something like 'don't worry about it; I'm late,' and left.

The stocking on my leg was torn, but the blood didn't show too much against the bright red, and when my parents asked about the wound later, I told them I'd gotten spiked.
posted by jamjam at 9:52 AM on May 15


Well, the dog was half lab and half chow according to the account I read. While labs are mellow, chows are infamously bitey. I had the misfortune to see a chow go wild at a party, biting 4 people in one episode, including the owner twice. You never saw so many people entering a swimming pool fully clothed in your life!

Frankly, too many people buy dogs based on the appearance of the dog (cute!) with complete disregard for the dogs basic temperament. I am so tired of hearing stories of how dogs didn't work out when the owners sole criteria for purchase was how cute it was. A dog is a sentient being and requires considerable work on the part of it's owner. When dogs bite people it is NOT always an issue of training. A lot of the problem is the temperament of the dog is not congruent with the situation the dog is put in. Ultimately, most dog problems are owner problems that are manifested by the dog.
posted by jcworth at 10:03 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


We didn't let him run around the neighborhood wild, herding random animals because that was his calling.

Now I'm picturing a collie herding a heap of fifty utterly confused but ultimately obedient pigeons down the street.

Domestic animals are domestic animals.

And they are also animals. It's great that you've trained your dogs so well, and that they're so obedient. Other people, despite hard work and the best of intentions, have not been so lucky. Dogs, like humans, are fallible. They have bad days, and make wrong decisions, and sometimes, even though they were raised with kindness and trained, they turn out to be compulsive barkers, or lickers, or just straight up mean. Training, like anything, has its limits.

If the owners had turned out to be neglectful or abusive, or had trained their dog to attack, or hadn't put a fence around their house, I could see holding them responsible. However, that's not what happened. Their eight-month-old lab-chow mix escaped their fence (they don't seem to have had the "Southern attitude" you cite), and promptly attacked a kid. It's tragic and awful, but owners aren't omnipotent, and there are some things, in some dogs, that training can't fix.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:06 AM on May 15


We didn't let him run around the neighborhood wild, herding random animals because that was his calling.

Now I'm picturing a collie herding a heap of fifty utterly confused but ultimately obedient pigeons down the street.


My friend's Australian shepherd herds people to their seats when we come over for dinner. It's simultaneously adorable and annoying, especially if you were maybe planning to go to the bathroom first, or get a glass of water, or help the hostess bring out the brussels sprouts.

Nope, you are TO BE SEATED.
posted by sweetkid at 10:10 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


This almost certainly has nothing to do with training, lack of training, or abuse, barring some truly weird circumstances. Some dogs simply are not pet material. There's a huge difference between a dog who reactively bites when he feels threatened or is defending his territory, and a dog who actively seeks out a small child as prey, sneaks up on it from behind and goes in for the kill. Even an abused dog will not ordinarily do that; this behavior is the result of something more fundamental, usually a temperament flaw due to poor breeding (most likely in this case due to the dog's young age), brain tumor, etc. I'd be willing to bet that this dog's aggressive temperament was in evidence from a very young age--8, 10, 12 weeks. It's not a situation that a regular pet owner can handle, no matter how responsible they are.
posted by HotToddy at 10:14 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Second, it's based on utter bullshit. Cats are perfectly content to live indoors. And if you really cared about your cat, you'd want to keep it from getting squished by cars or eviscerated by predators. (Maybe you'd need predators bigger than a little fox to understand.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:40 PM on May 15


You're wrong of course, not least because you are taking no account of what cats prefer, given the choice, and you are resorting to the glaring fallacy that because cats can tolerate living indoors, the option they generally prefer is irrelevant. People can tolerate living in ways they'd prefer not to, too.

But you know what? This isn't the thread for a derailing argument about how wrong you are, so I'm going to refuse to get drawn into it.
posted by Decani at 11:36 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


And apologies for the minor snark in that last sentence. Didn't see Jessamyn's comment until after I posted it.
posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on May 15


It's fine if you value a given cat's relative happiness over the lives of the many other animals it will kill if allowed outside, but not everyone shares that opinion. Cats are an invasive predator species, as cute and cuddly as they may be.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:07 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


What is right for one cat in one part of the world may not be right for another cat in another part of the world. Could we maybe leave it at that, and move on?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:39 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Finally! The one cat who is not an asshole.
(NOT CAT-IST. Some of my best friends are cats, y'know.)
posted by Omnomnom at 12:47 PM on May 15


Article title: "Dog attacks boy, cat attacks dog, world cheers"

Young boy mauled, dysfunctional puppy/beloved family pet is euthanized, Universe seemingly calibrated for and indifferent to the suffering of sentient beings, Werner Herzog cheers.
posted by dgaicun at 12:50 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


While labs are mellow, chows are infamously bitey.

I don't think you can really say that about Labs. It's a common perception, but Labs actually do bite people pretty frequently, often seriously. They're the top breed identified in serious dog bites in my state, by a long stretch. And I think that's partly because people tend to think of them as 'mellow' or unusually docile, so their breed tends to get a pass when they do bite.

Labs bite people all the time, often with as little provocation as that one seems to have done. You just don't hear about it unless there's something else newsworthy about it is all.

They're good dogs, just like all other kinds of dogs, but they are also prone to violent attacks in a small minority of cases, also just like all other kinds of dogs.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:52 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


ha! my husband sent me this video yesterday which was apt because our crazy ten pound cat chased a 70 pound Golden Retriever out of our front yard just last week, and he Meant Fucking Business doing it, too. Don't let those dreamy blue eyes fool you, he is straight up gonzo batshit where dogs are concerned. He looks about eight times his size when all that fur is standing on end and he's in full-bore Tasmanian Devil mode.

I'd link the video my husband shot of him stalking the neighbor's (adorable) yellow lab puppy this morning, too, except it's locked down on FB privacy settings. Fortunately they were both separated by our back fence which is a combo of cat fencing plus a layer of chainlink, and the puppy was doing that hilarious puppy thing where they're all PLAY?! OMG PLAY!! YAY!! bouncing around and bowing and yipping in joy, and Pixel was all flat and slinking along the ground and hackled up growling like "dude if I could only get over this fence I'd straight up murder your yellow dog ass".

As I understand it the dog in the OP video not only bit the kid, he also bit the mom - when she runs out of shot the first time it's because the dog was coming back around the front of the SUV to go after the kid again and that's when the mom got it too. The cat ran under the car and back out the front to keep herself between the dog and the child - she was stone ready to give that dog another taste of the pointy bits.

From what I've gleaned from interviews and such, they adopted the cat as a young cat / kitten right around the time their son was born (they're both 4), and it's highly possible knowing what I do about how territorial and loyal female cats can be that it's not just that the dog was invading her turf, but she's also protective of the child in that way only female cats can be when they're family-bonded.

The dog in the OP is being kept under observation until the 10 day rabies watch is over, at which point it will be euthanized. Which is sad and unfortunate but my colleague also went through this about six months ago with a mixed breed rescue they tried their best to train and socialize, but their dog wound up biting one of their kids, and they decided based on the situation that the best course for everyone involved was to put the dog to sleep (the dog had already been re-homed multiple times). Truly, it doesn't matter how conscientious you are, some dogs simply can't be trusted in a family / neighborhood setting and it isn't always completely obvious when you adopt them that they'll act this way.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:56 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda of boggled at the number of commentators elsewhere who were criticizing the mother. The kid is on the sidewalk and then in his own driveway, safely playing. The mother enters the frame within five seconds of the dog appearing around the car and three seconds of the bite, so she was clearly within a few feet and paying close attention. Then she's securing the path to the door in case the dog comes back (which it did). But there were still people saying she was a bad mom!
posted by tavella at 1:00 PM on May 15 [8 favorites]


welcome to the internet where total strangers feel absolutely justified in making cruel / snarky / judgey comments about other people's lifestyle / actions / habits based on... nothing much, really.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:02 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


As a non-dog owner I find it startling how normal it is for dog owners that, yeah, some dogs just bite kids and in that case you have to put them down.
I don't think I could do that - take on a pet with the understanding that it could be a) a killer and b) put down. A sounds alienating and B sounds heart breaking - at the same time.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:35 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


It can certainly seem a lot more prevalent when people are talking about it, but serious dog bites are actually very very rare. Best estimates are that about one third of one percent of dogs will seriously injure a person in its lifetime, and not all of those are unprovoked, and I suspect that only a small minority of them result in the dog being killed.

There is some small chance that a dog you take in will exhibit violent behavior, but those chances are greatly minimized with proper training and containment. One of the main reasons that dogs bite children is poor training and supervision. If you look at the data on dog bites, the greatest risk factors are preventable ones, like chaining and leaving (especially male) dogs intact. You spay or neuter your pet and have it live in the house with you, and that dog is less likely to seriously injure anyone than your human child is.

And take that in light of how often dogs rescue someone by keeping a lost child warm and safe when they're lost outdoors, alerting people to fires and medical emergencies, things like that. And that's not counting the all the little day to day things, like keeping lonely people company, sedentary people active, isolated people connected to their communities, and just making lives better in general.

Dogs are awesome every single day to the point that it's barely even notable most of the time. You hear more about violent incidents because they are so rare.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:24 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Now I'm picturing a collie herding a heap of fifty utterly confused but ultimately obedient pigeons down the street.

Brief derail - my parents' dear sweet goldendoodle is not even a herding dog, but for some unknown reason he has decided that I, and I alone, am in desperate need of herding. Whenever I am walking with him, he will start circling me and then nudging me along to make sure I am going at an appropriate pace; if I slow down too much, he'll just stop and wait until I catch up. This can be pretty annoying if I'm not the one holding his leash and someone like, say, my sister suddenly finds herself walking around me in circles. Not anyone else, not even larger groups of people. Just me.

I've decided he must think I'm a very lost sheep.
posted by bookgirl18 at 2:45 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Appears the British have real penalties for owners whose dogs bite :

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it
- injures someone [or]
- makes someone worried that it might injure them.
A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if :
- it injures someone’s animal [or]
- the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

You can be fined up to £5,000 and/or sent to prison for up to 6 months if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years and/or fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.

If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years and/or get an unlimited fine.

If you allow your dog to injure a guide dog you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years and/or fined.

posted by jeffburdges at 2:58 PM on May 15


I don't think I could do that - take on a pet with the understanding that it could be a) a killer

Well, the same applies to having kids. The difference is it's more likely that a son will one day kill a person, much more likely he will kill multiple people, and infinitely more likely he will engage in rape, torture, terrorism, or genocide.
posted by dgaicun at 3:11 PM on May 15


That only really applies to outdoor kids though.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:28 PM on May 15 [13 favorites]


It's pretty easy to avoid adopting a dog that will grow up to commit genocide, if you know what to look for.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:40 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


DO NOT ADOPT.
posted by dgaicun at 5:18 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


evidenceofabsence: "Now I'm picturing a collie herding a heap of fifty utterly confused but ultimately obedient pigeons down the street."

Our border collie could herd anything. When we rebuilt our chicken coop/run we defined an area to Lady in the middle of our yard and she herded the ~50 chickens there and kept them there for the whole day and then herded them back into their new, improved run. Ducks, pigs, cows, chickens, and goats were all in her wheel house.

ernielundquist: " It's a common perception, but Labs actually do bite people pretty frequently, often seriously. They're the top breed identified in serious dog bites in my state, by a long stretch. And I think that's partly because people tend to think of them as 'mellow' or unusually docile, so their breed tends to get a pass when they do bite.
"
On shear numbers labs are going to lead the way simply because a lab or lab-X is such an extremely popular (21 years as top choice) family dog choice; at least around here. I'd guess 25% of family dogs are labs of some sort in my area. IE: even if labs only bite 1/100 as often as poodles (often vicious little buggers IME) on raw numbers they are going to be involved in more biting incidents.
posted by Mitheral at 5:36 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


On shear numbers labs are going to lead the way simply because a lab or lab-X is such an extremely popular (21 years as top choice) family dog choice; at least around here. I'd guess 25% of family dogs are labs of some sort in my area. IE: even if labs only bite 1/100 as often as poodles (often vicious little buggers IME) on raw numbers they are going to be involved in more biting incidents.

One of the problems with that is that that popular breed list is compiled by the AKC, so it only acknowledges or counts certified purebred dogs registered with them. The vast majority of dogs in the US are not purebred, and the majority of purebred dogs are not registered with the AKC.

Not only are there no remotely reliable statistics on dog breeds, there really aren't any reliable ways to determine breed at all. There are DNA studies, but those are sloppy and incomplete.

So we really have no idea the proportions of different dog breeds that are out there at all. Labs are very popular in some areas, but in other areas, 'pit bulls'* and/or chihuahas are far more common and I think it's actually likely that one or both of those would outnumber Labs.

Labs are pretty popular, though, and that does play some role in their frequent bite incidents.

* Pit bull really isn't even a breed. By most definitions, there are at least three discrete breeds that are classified as 'pit bull,' and if you believe the media and some sloppy legislation, just about any short-haired, medium to large sized dog could be a pit bull if that serves your purposes.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:59 PM on May 15


Bakersfieldnow article about why the dog will be euthanized:

“The bottom line is that at shelters we have to euthanize a lot of animals every year that have never bit anyone, that would love to have a second home. Those are the animals we really want to try and give that chance," [The executive director of the Bakersfield SPCA] said.
posted by creepygirl at 7:03 PM on May 15


So, umm, about that cat: Cat That Saved Boy From Dog Attack Will Throw Out First Pitch.

I will never understand you, America.
posted by maudlin at 9:58 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Cat saves sleeping boy from fire.
posted by Brian B. at 11:21 AM on May 17


So, umm, about that cat: Cat That Saved Boy From Dog Attack Will Throw Out First Pitch.

I will never understand you, America.


I know, I don't even. Cats hate baseball.
posted by sweetkid at 11:23 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Preventing a catastrophe and precipitating a catapotheosis.
posted by jamjam at 12:40 PM on May 17


More Cheers as Tara the Hero Cat Throws Out 1st Pitch

From the video it looks like they were trying to do something with with Tara hitting a ball on a fishing line with her paw, but it didn't work. Jeremy's dad eventually just touched Tara's paw to the ball and then threw the ball. It was nice to see Jeremy get a couple of throws, too.

I had misgivings about taking a cat to such a crowded event, but she looked really mellow out there. What an awesome cat she is.
posted by creepygirl at 10:12 PM on May 20


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