Our Dizzy Cat attacked me and the baby on Thursday afternoon. I don't mean he just swatted at us, or hissed, or bit my hand. I mean, he full out went nuts and sent us to the hospital. The Maddie Bear has two stitches on her ear along with some small cuts on her face, legs, and back. My face, arms, back, and legs are covered in scratches. I also have several cuts under my hair including a large gash that required three staples.
The attack was unprovoked and completely unexpected. Our cat has never been aggressive toward us, and has never been at all threatening toward the baby.
I was playing with Madeline on the couch when it happened. I was lifting her over my head, and we were babbling and giggling at each other. Madeline was up in the air when the cat suddenly jumped from behind the couch and latched onto her. He knocked her out of my hands, and she tumbled head first onto some pillows on the couch. (Thank God she didn't fall onto the floor.) Keep in mind Dizzy is seventeen pounds, and Madeline is only fourteen pounds.
The rest of the incident is one big scary blur. Dizzy was making growling noises I didn't know he was capable of making. I immediately went to pick up Madeline off the couch, and Dizzy came after us again. I was blocking Madeline with my body so that's when he scratched up my head and face. In shock, I scooped up the wailing Maddie Bear to my chest. The cat continued to hiss and lunge at us while I threw everything within my reach at him. The weirdest part is that he would not back down.
I tried to walk calmly, yet briskly, to the door to escape, but Dizzy latched onto my back and legs. He got in between us and the door to block us from moving forward. With very slow movements, I managed to scoot around him to get out the door.
I feel like I've always been able to stay calm in an emergency. I've never been one to break down in the midst of a crisis. The freaking out usually doesn't hit me until the event is long over. Good fight and flight responses!
Therefore, I was very calm as I walked down the hall to the apartment office holding my screaming baby. Blood started dripping down my face and onto Madeline, and I realized that I was hurt too. Obviously, the office was locked. I paused to check Madeline's wounds and think about what to do next. I had no shoes, no keys, no phone, and I had a baby I needed to get to the hospital stat.
I learned some things about people then:
- One...if you scream like you're being murdered while you're alone in your apartment (Like I was while I fought off the cat.) nobody will come to your aid. Keep a knife handy at all times in case a murderer actually does come to your apartment.
- Two...when you're covered in blood and holding a crying baby, the first two people you meet will pretend they don't own a cell phone (I'm sorry, but what twenty-something female doesn't own a cell phone??) and refuse to help you.
- Three...The third person you meet will be an angel and, although she really doesn't own a cellphone, she will bring you to her apartment, let you use the phone, give you shoes, a jacket, and blankets for the baby.
- Four...Custodians will legitimately offer to go kill your cat so you can go back in your apartment.
Eric and my parents showed up around the same time, and that's when I started to lose it. Eric, who is always calm, took over the roll of brave parent, and I was allowed to start freaking out...mostly by unfairly yelling at Eric about where he parked his truck. When Eric went into the apartment to get our stuff for the hospital, the cat acted like he hadn't just tried to kill me and the baby by rubbing lovingly against his ankles.
Madeline was an angel at the ER. After her initial scare, she spent the rest of the night smiling and giggling at everyone who glanced her way.
The doctor didn't think our wounds were too bad when she first saw us, but she clicked her tongue in disapproval when she saw Maddie's ear, and she literally gasped at the gash in my head.
P.S. They don't numb your head when you get staples. I got a lousy ice pack. Double P.S. I could be a doctor. All you need is an ordinary staple gun.
Watching Madeline get her stitches was the worst part of the whole night. They had to hold her down, and she screamed, and screamed, and screamed. Poor baby.
Madeline fell into a deep sleep as soon as we got home, but I tossed and turned all night. I couldn't feel safe with the cat locked up only two rooms away. In fact, he even escaped once because that cat's a God damned Houdini. Eric put him back and blocked the door with a chair.
Trying to get rid of the cat was an even bigger nightmare. The shelter won't take an animal who attacks a human unless it's been quarantined for ten days. (They want to make sure he doesn't have any diseases that could have been passed on to us as cats have notoriously dirty scratches and bites.) We live in a three room apartment....there was no way in hell we were going to keep the cat in here for ten days after what happened. Meanwhile, the Vet couldn't give us a straight answer about boarding the cat.
At six pm, as much as it pained me to do so, I called the Vet and asked about the possibility of putting Dizzy down. The receptionist gave me this response, "We're not doing that. He's a healthy animal. I'm sorry he scratched you and your baby, but..." Something about the way she said, "scratched," set me off. I lost it. I strongly stressed that he hadn't just scratched me, that I have three staples in my head and my daughter's ear got ripped apart.
In tears I explained that we love our cat, but we couldn't possibly keep him, the shelter wouldn't take him, the vet wouldn't take him, and I wouldn't just let him lose in the street to have a long and painful death. What were we supposed to do? She made us an appointment for 8 am this morning to discuss all our options with the vet.
This morning Eric brought Dizzy to the vet and said his goodbyes. They're keeping him for ten days to watch for any signs of illness. After that, Eric will have to go pick him up and bring him to the shelter. The shelter will ultimately decide what to do with Dizzy Cat. They may try to adopt him to a family without children. They may decide to put him down. Either way, we don't like to think about what will happen to Dizzy.
I know that sounds stupid because he just viciously attacked my daughter and I should want to kill him myself. Trust me, part of me does. But part of me also remembers that Dizzy has been a part of our family for the past four years....that before we had Madeline, Dizzy was like a child to us... that when I first came home from the hospital after losing Ellis, he curled up in my lap like he knew I was sad and stayed there gently purring for hours.
This is a sad situation for everyone, including Dizzy. We hate that it had to come to this.
The doctor at the ER told us that she doesn't have any pets because she too often sees what happens when they attack their owners.
It's scary. These furry little creatures who love us and become a part of our families are, after all, still wild animals. When you see cat or dog attacks on the news, you tend to think that the animal must have always been aggressive or unruly. That's simply not always the case. Dizzy certainly never gave us any indication that he would hurt us. Other than typical, playful cat behavior, he never so much as scratched us.
If you have a child and pets, please be careful. No matter how much you love your pet, don't think you can always trust them. I don't know why Dizzy freaked out. My guess is that something about the way Madeline and I were playing spooked him, and since he was behind us, I didn't see that he was getting all riled up until it was too late. His animal instincts took over and he just couldn't help himself.
I thank God it wasn't worse. Madeline's face could have been badly scratched. He could have gotten her eyes. Thank God he didn't snap while Madeline was on her play mat or in her swing by herself. Since I was so close, I was able to keep him away from her for the most part.
It sounds stupid because it was just a cat attack..not a brutal home invasion or anything...but I keep getting the creeps sitting in the house. I don't feel like Maddie is safe. I can't trust our environment. Besides, along with the relief that Dizzy is gone, there's also the sadness of not having our little pal around anymore. Again, this was a sad situation for everyone...
When my mom asked me if I was going to blog about this, at first I said no. It felt too horrifying and even humiliating. Then she said that she thought people should know that things like this can happen with pets. (For all of my ten or so readers...now you know!)
I thought it about it some more, and thought, "Heck! If I share the fact that I spend a lot of time pantsless and have had to pee into a big orange bucket, I certainly shouldn't be afraid to share this information!"
Hold on to your children and hug them tight. Hold on to your pets and hug them too! But, also? Keep your eye on them.