It was late and I was locking up, getting ready to head off to bed. As I snapped the lock on the basement door I heard a kitten crying. I opened the door, snapped on the basement light; hearing nothing I decided it must have been outdoors.
My regular morning rush consists of packing my lunch, raking a comb through my hair and getting my third cup of coffee into a travel mug. I stood by the basement door, ready to launch, when I heard it again. A kitten mewing…but this time I knew it was in the basement.
This is the point in my story that I have to confess to being a dog person. There are cat people, dog people, and a variety of other types; I am a dog person. The only Cats I've ever enjoyed I saw on Broadway.
I put down my lunch bag, my travel mug, my huge purse and a slice of toast. Tiptoeing to the basement door I eased it open; the stairwell acted as the sound conductor for a series of tiny mews. There was a cat in the basement…there should not be a cat in the basement of a dog person.
I called to my husband aand proceeded to head downstairs to look for the source of the sound. Quickly I discovered the cat was litter trained. A box of white sand I brought back from Florida to put around some houseplants had served the purpose. Drats!
Searching for the cat, Larry went one way and I the other. Finally I saw something move, then jump to the window sill.
A kitten, probably two or three months old, was pressed against the glass trying to escape. It was black as coal, its eyes were matted closed and it definitely had not had an easy life so far. This was the offspring of one of the literally more than a dozen feral cats that roam the area. Our neighbor thinks she is being kind, feeding the legion of strays that people drop off in our country setting. The numbers have continued to grow to an overwhelming wave of stray cats.
Now I stood trying to decide what to do about this one. It was small, very likely sick, and wild. I went for my trusty broom, a plan to sweep it out the door forming slowly in my head.
Larry chased the terrified cat behind a stack of picture frames, “Can you grab it from there,?” he said.
“Uh….noooooooo,” I replied. I mean really…who grabs a stray cat?
The cat darted under the basement stairs and I swished at it with the broom. From the laundry room I heard, “Get this off me!” Larry emerged from a corner with the cat hanging from his right hand!
I grabbed the cats back legs as they flailed around, trying to connect with his arm.
“Let’s work toward the door, when I get it loose toss it out the door,” I said.
In an “I Love Lucy” shuffle side-step movement we inched our way to the outside door. I let go of the cat’s legs and pried open his jaws, Larry flung it out the door! Blood dripped from his hands and seeped from scratches and bites on my own.
Without even seeming to touch the ground the cat shot off into the back yard and never looked back. Two other large cats stood watching us curiously, then turned their backs and sauntered off into the woods.
As soon as the cat hit the ground I realized we hadn’t thought this through very well. The cat could have been rabid; at the very least it looked sickly. Uh-oh.
We trooped upstairs to scrub with antibacterial soap and pour alcohol into the teeth marks and scratches. I called our family doctor for advice; the nurse agreed that someone should check us out, so we headed to the emergency room.
I felt pretty silly walking into the hospital emergency room to explain we had been attacked by a kitten. It crossed my mind to embellish my description of the animal, but I thought better of it.
The PA who tended to us explained that a cat bite/scratch is much more serious than a dog bite. In addition to the worry of rabies, there is catch scratch fever and some unpleasant infections that can follow an episode like this. More people are hospitalized from infections from cat bites/scratches than from dog bites/scratches. Who knew?
Two hours later, antibiotic prescriptions in hand and our freshly administered tetanus shot sites band-aided, we left in search of lunch.
A week later we’ve talked to the health department, they wanted to put an APB out on the black cat……good luck with that. They also say we might want to consider taking a series of rabies shots; we’re still kicking that around.
Like all experiences we have learned something from this….or at least I have.
1. Never grab a cat. Never. Ever.
2. Nothing in this experience changes the fact that I am a dog person.
3. If you’re in a tough situation with someone, get your plan straight.
4. Never use your hands for something you can do with a broom.
Life is Good