Thursday, May 6, 2010

Newsbits: Cat mauls woman

Last week this news story came across my desk. I don't really know what to think, but I have a feeling that my take on the whole situation is probably the converse of what most people are thinking.

Woman after house cat attack: 'I was mauled for the kill'

REXBURG - A Rexburg, Idaho woman says one of her cats recently attacked her and tried to kill her sending herself and her husband to the hospital.

The Ostermiller family says their cat was completely normal until three days after it gave birth to kittens. But it soon became defensive, and the family says it tried to kill them.

It began last week on Tuesday at about 5:30 a.m. The Ostermiller's were sleeping when they heard a sound.

"All I heard was rrwwwrrrr hisss," Jackie Ostermiller said.

Jackie woke up and saw her cat, Renesmee, (named after the Twilight character) panicking. Jackie thinks a male cat had wandered by outside the home and Renesmee was protecting her kittens.

Jackie went to grab her cat to stop her from bolting out a hole in the screen door. That's when the kitty made its move.

"I was being mauled literally for the kill. She had got a hold of my nose first, my face first, my arms - I was literally screaming," she said.

Jackie's husband, Blaine, was able to pry the attacking feline off.

"I woke up hearing my wife scream, I didn't know what was going on until I looked over there, until I looked over there seeing (the cat) viciously attacking her," Blaine said.

But the cat had already made its mark. Jackie was left with 35 bite marks and 15 bruises.

The cat wasn't through. When Jackie was washing blood off her face, it came back and started attacking her leg a second time.

"She came at me with the deadliest eyes," Jackie said.

"I noticed she was looking at my wife with a weird look," Blaine said.

But even after this whole ordeal, the Ostermiller family hasn't turned their back on cats. They even plan on getting a new kitten soon. But they do have a word of caution.

"I want people to know how dangerous cats can be, they can turn on you in a dime. Believe it or not - cats!" she said.

Jackie feels that none of this would have happened either, if they had just spayed their cat. The family ended up giving up Renesmee to the Rexburg Shelter.

It's likely that it will be put down.

Okay, I am an animal lover (actually, it's probably obvious that I prefer animals to most humans), so my opinion and reaction to this bit of news shouldn't come as a total shock.

That woman should have NEVER gone near that cat. If a person spends enough time with a pet, that person will start to understand the animal's behavior and personality. It should have been obvious that this cat was not acting normally. If your pet is acting irregular, just like any other animal, give it space. After all, cats are animals and they have animal instincts.

This cat saw an outside threat to her kittens and was in protector mode. When the natural protection instincts kick in, the cat will act completely out of character and if you look in its eyes, it probably will look like a totally different creature. It will not respond to your voice or commands. The best thing to do it stay away until the threat has passed. After the threat is gone, the cat should be back to normal, but maybe a bit on edge. That's the time to put the cat away in a safe room or crate. You could probably take the cat to the vet, but there's not a lot he can do besides tell you how to calm a cat down with products such as Feliway.

My dear, sweet little cat has had these little episodes a few times. Usually it's when another dominant cat has come up and "marked" on the front step. Out cat will growl and hiss and he has attacked. It is painful, but it's important to understand what happens. I'm not an animal psychologist, but I am smart enough to know that when my pet is not acting himself, that I need to leave him alone and give him space until the whole thing blows over and he's regained his senses.

What really galls me is the last line of the story: It's likely that it will be put down.

This poor cat is going to be destroyed because it acted on its natural instincts as an ANIMAL. What would happen if a human mother was protecting her child and she lashed out? Self defense? This poor cat cannot defend herself and it drives me insane that her family is just giving her up to be killed.

But that's just my rant. What do you think about this situation? All opinions are welcome.