Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On getting attacked by a cat.

So as you may have heard, I got attacked by a cat last week. We were cat-sitting for neighbors of the family that I nanny for because we are always looking for ways to make money while watching Woody Allen movies. Scot and I were very excited for a four day stay-cation at their beautiful condo in Wicker Park. We had really exciting plans for the weekend, like washing our clothes and bathing in a shower which has anything resembling hot water and water pressure. All-in-all, our visit lasted a brief 12 hours. The apartment's wifi network is called "S____'s world" after their cat S_____. And indeed, it was S's world... and he wanted us to get the hell out. On Thursday night, he welcomed us with hisses and began to watch us rather creepily from behind counters and couches. Perhaps in retrospect we should have been more concerned about his mounting rage. But what would we have done about it anyway? Cats get mad. Cats pee on things. Cats don't usually try to eat you. Tigers try to eat you.

In middle of the night, the little tiger began to try to speak human outside our door making a bizarre braying sound which I have never heard a cat make before. In the morning, I gave him his constipation medicine (yes really). He took it well, but when I reached out to pet him, he bit my hand hard. Destructokitty then chased me around the kitchen, launching at me multiple times to bite and scratch my right arm and leg. It was like that scene in The Grinch where the cat from the garbage can clings to Jim Carrey's face.  Scot somehow got between us, sent me to safety in the hall and got the cat locked in the bedroom. I'm so grateful he was there, as my own defenses were simply to shake, cry and say "GET HIM OFF OF ME." All in all, I had about two dozen scratches and punctures.

My hand.

Scot took me to work at the hospital and they sent me to urgent care. In some bit of cruel irony, Immediate MD on Clybourne Avenue is next to Paws Chicago, a cat adoption storefront with about twenty cats in the window and cat posters the size of small cars. The folks at urgent care power-washed my punctures, bandaged me up, tetanus booster-ed me and sent me on my way with a prescription for antibiotics. I'm expected to fully recover. Most importantly, I was about to knit after only 3 days. The owners, of course, feel terrible and plan on taking the cat to a cat whisperer (yes really). Mom said, "Time for kitty to go night-night forever." Scot's concern was really sweet. One night shortly after the attack, he said, "I like animals better than people generally, but I really, really hate that cat." But I'm happy to take one for the team because fortunately, he attacked the one of us who has health insurance.

People's reaction to the attack have been the best part of it. The theater community is particularly good at spreading dramatic tales quickly. The other night at a reading an actor I know came up to me and said, "I heard what happened to you. Shelley was acting it out at work!" Now, I've not seen Shelley since this happened. Ed at Northwestern told Shelley about it and she ACTED IT OUT for my co-workers at Kaplan. I really really want to see her performance of what happened to me. It's the best game of telephone ever. At Northwestern, I just began working with a local actress whose work I particularly admire. The cat attack became the topic of our first conversation. Before work the other day she said to me, "I heard about what happened to you and I think about it all the time. I spent a long while last night staring at my cat and wondering if he wants to attack me." As Scot said, "It's a moment for all of us to pause and consider our feline relationships." Another SP I work with, but had never talked to, said to me, "You don't know me, but I was at dinner the other night at my friend's house and she said that a terrible thing had happened while they were on vacation. Their cat attacked the cat-sitter! And I thought, I KNOW THAT PERSON!" It's a small, small world.

In conclusion, maybe humans should let cats that can't poop without assistance move on to the big yarn basket in the sky. I'm never going to be the cat lady that my grandmother is (11 cats and counting) and I'm definitely a supporter of de-clawing now.

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