Truer words were never spoken. Last year I was bitten by a cat while I was foolishly trying to bath the darn thing. I only wanted to help the poor old guy. He looked to be about 100 years old, and his fur was dull and matted from neglect. So, my friend and I decided to play the good Samaritans and give him a bath. He seemed docile enough, content to let us stroke his thin body and pick him up for a loving hug.
We got everything ready?clean towels, shampoo, conditioner, nail clippers, saline solution to clean his ears, brush, comb, and soft washcloth to gently wipe his face. We first clipped his nails to prevent any deep scarring should he have other plans than to be totally soaked in a tub full of water. We were smart enough to recognize that this might be the case. Then we talked softly and lowered him into the tub. Big mistake?HUGE MISTAKE! This old man turned into a lean, mean fighting machine. He jumped like he had springs on his back legs, reaching for anything he could grab hold of with his front paws. This, of course, turned out to be me. He somehow sensed our fear as my friend and I screamed bloody murder, and then he kicked everything into high gear.
When he failed to do enough damage with his neatly trimmed front claws, he decided his teeth would suffice. Clamping down on my right index finger with a mouth full of blackened teeth worked. I promptly let go and began to put pressure on the bloody wound. We finally caught him and put him into a kennel until we could squirt him off and call it a day. Meanwhile, my finger was swelling like crazy, resembling a fire-roasted hotdog. I like to think I can handle pain, but my finger was pounding so badly by the next morning, I called the doctor in hopes of getting some relief. It took two days to get in for an appointment, and by that time nasty green puss was shooting out of the puncture. Doc gave me medicine and advised me to return in a few days if it wasn?t feeling better, and she got no protests from me. Right about that time, I was willing to amputate if it didn?t stop throbbing.
By Friday, the swelling had doubled and I was getting numbness in my entire hand. I went back to the doctor and she immediately sent me to the emergency room. At midnight I was having surgery to clean the wound in hopes of saving my finger. Three days and $27,000 later, I was out of the woods and ready to leave the hospital. I hate to admit it, but I was not feeling warm and fuzzy towards the old guy who decided to have me for lunch.
Maybe I should have offered him food before taking him for a swim?you know, been a little more hospitable. Perhaps that would have given him a better disposition. I knew, though, that I needed to be careful about what I fed him in case the food made him sick. I was so concerned about the food making the poor cat sick that I failed to see the potential dangers of giving a stray cat a bath when in all likelihood he had never had one. Obviously, I didn?t know he was hungry enough to eat my finger.
Seriously, most of us have just enough information about feline nutrition to get us in trouble. Face it?we consumers are being suckered by the pet food industry. They push us to purchase food for our cats that is loaded with carbohydrates, grains and sugars, with preservatives and artificial coloring, and a package sporting a fluffy wide-eyed cat dutifully showing its owner untold amounts of affection and appreciation. Resist the temptation. All cats require is a simple meal of meat and fat. As for the packaging, a plain cardboard box will do. You?ll benefit as well from hours of cheap entertainment as kitty squeezes into the bulging leftover box or slides beneath the box?s clawed bottom, determined to snag the formidable foe lurking somewhere deep inside.
Cats are not like humans, and for one I?m pleased as punch. They don?t need to eat from fancy dishes at a well-set table. Paper plates are perfectly acceptable. They don?t desire constant reassurance; they already know they?re the cat?s meow. They don?t come home complaining about work all the time because we humans allow them the luxury of doing nothing and expecting the world. For them, play is everything?a happy cat?s key to contentment. Unfortunately, in today?s households that is where cats are most deprived. Not enough stimulation. Nothing to stalk, pounce on from above, or climb up to in order to lord it over the other household underlings. That includes the poor, unsuspecting dog. Heaven help the dog that happens to unknowingly wander across a cat?s claimed battle field or territory. If this should happen, there is no stopping the enraged kitty. Flying fur reaches pandemic proportions, and it?s usually not coming from sweet little kitties back.
Isn?t it time we end the abuse of dogs by cats. The damage most dogs experience at the paws of their cat siblings is both emotionally and physically taxing on them. Let?s look at Fido?s scenario. All Fido wanted to do was wrestle around on the tile floor and bump the cats butt, but Fluffy wasn?t having it. Next thing you know the claws come out and the dog is running for dear life. Woops, can?t fit under the sofa, even though he has seen Fluffy hide there a gazillion times. Nope?not behind the television or under the bed either. Is every place in the house a haven for cats? Where is his dog house when he so desperately needs it? What happens to Fido? He?s backed against the wall, the claws come out, and Fluffy isn?t fooling around anymore. That?s when Fido learns that cats just don?t have a sense of humor, at least not like a dog. What?s worse, when mommy comes home she screams at Fido just because he may have, accidentally, tipped over the bedroom lamp in self-defense. Fido was only playing with the miserable rodent of a cat. Next, Fido?s once loving mom does the unthinkable. She scoops up the little Cheshire monster, speaking to her in that sickening sweet baby voice and soothingly hugs Fluffy to make it all better. She?s so relieved that she got home early to protect poor little Fluffy from her cat-aggressive dog.
Being the quick study he is, Fido tucks his tale and relinquishes his role as man?s (or woman?s) best friend. It seems as though Fluffy has taken over that position. He?s resigned himself to the realization that IF YOU?RE A CAT YOU CAN do just about anything.