The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

March 17, 2014

Me-ow! Your fur would be flying, too, if someone pulled your tail

Monday, March 17, 2014 — I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m a cat person.

Most people gravitate to dogs. And don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, too. When I married my wife nearly three years ago, I also married the dog, Ramy. But I also married the two cats, Outlaw and Josie.

When I wasn’t busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking party, I used to take the dog out walking in the neighborhood for exercise. It was always a good way to get the day started, spending 30 minutes to an hour going up and down the streets, hoping my shoulder wouldn’t be separated as I held the dog as best I could on the leash as she ran all over creation sniffing out stuff.

Talk about a workout.

As much as I enjoy that, there’s just something about cats that I’ve always enjoyed. We had cats around the house growing up. And, because of good genes and a little bit of elusiveness, we’ve never really been short of cats. And because of watchful eyes when, for example, starting up the car on a cold morning, those cats tended to live long lives.

Part of the love I have for cats is likely because my mom loved them and even took care of them for a short time when she worked at a vet’s office back home when she was growing up. I can only remember the names of some of the dogs we had on the farm. I can remember a lot more names of the cats we had.

After coming home from a long day at work, it’s always nice to curl up on the couch and watch some T.V.  Pretty soon, one of the cats, usually Outlaw, will come up and sit with me on the couch. Not long after, he has this look that I can only describe as “Why aren’t you already petting me?”

Outlaw is the hugger in the family. He’s easy to pet and generally very friendly to my wife and I. He’s not very fond of strangers, though, and — as Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” would put it — tends to tinkle, tinkle, tinkle when strangers make him uncomfortable.

Josie is the mugger of the family. And by mugger, I don’t mean she’s photogenic. I mean she has a temper at times that makes you think she’d break out a .22 Magnum and use it on you just because you made the wrong move or stepped the wrong way.

And like one of the gangsters of old, she’ll sit idly by and wait for the right opportunity to “enact her revenge.” That may come in the form of her breaking out her claws and scratching my legs or arms like she’s trying to draw blood for use by the Aerican Red Cross. Or, as I love so much, she’ll give her review of the latest meal or hairball she’s enjoyed by hacking it up right where I’m sure to walk.

God love ’em.

Fortunately, I’ve never had a situation where a cat chased me into a room and made me lock the door while cowering in fear and dialing 911. That would probably be embarassing, to say the least.

Which I’m sure is exactly how a couple in Portland, Ore., felt after that happened to them last Sunday.

It turns out Lux, a 22-pound part-Himalayan housecat, trapped Lee Palmer, his girlfriend, Teresa Barker, their 8-month-old son, Jesse, and Smokey, the family’s black Pomeranian dog, in their bedroom after the cat attacked the baby. And it all started when Jesse pulled the cat’s tail.

Let’s stop right here and make one thing clear: as the song states, you dn’t tug on Superman’s cape and you don’t pull on a cat’s tail. That’s only inviting trouble. Besides, how would you feel if you had a long appendage-like part of your body that someone pulled without your permission?

Don’t answer that … and get your mind out of the gutter.

We’ll have to give the benefit of the doubt because the instigator of the matter doesn’t even know how to walk yet. Or poop without a diaper. Still, that didn’t stop Lux from enacting his revenge.

He swipped at the baby, drawing blood in the process. Palmer acted quickly and kicked the cat away.

That was a very bad mistake, Lux would later prove to show … and tell.

Lux went ballistic and scared the family so much that they ran into a nearby bedroom. Palmer tried calling animal services but got nobody to answer. So the next step was to call the cops.

The 911 tape was released on Monday, and you can hear the cat screeching at the top of his lungs in the background as Palmer tried to explain to police what was going on.

“He’s charging us. He’s at our bedroom door,” Palmer told the 911 dispatcher. He also said the cat had been violent in the past.

Officers quickly arrived and found the cat sitting on top of a refrigerator. A dog snare was used to capture the animal, which was placed in a crate

Despite the attack, Palmer said they are not getting rid of the cat and, instead, will see a feline veternarian and visit a pet psychologist.

The story quickly gained national attention after police issued a news release and released the 911 tape. Palmer said the family has had offers from people to take Lux off their hands, but they won’t let that happen.

Palmer agrees he should not have kicked the cat but felt he was acting in defense of his son. He said his son pulls the dog’s tail all the time but that the dog doesn’t seem to mind.

Oh, but Lux here is a different story.

Palmer acted in much the same way as my dad would have. My dad was a farmer all his life and knew how to handle unruly animals. His size 11 foot would no doubt have made a better impression on Lux, literally and figuratively, than Palmer’s did.

And, chances are, a pet psychologist wouldn’t be needed when it was all over. Maybe a pet funeral director or a pet clean-up crew.

Let’s hope Lux gets the proper attention he needs to get past this unfortunate incident. In the meantime, let’s also hope that baby knows better than to try his luck twice with Lux’s tail.

Otherwise, as Randy Quaid’s character Cousin Eddie said in the film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” if that thing had nine lives, he just spent them all.”

Or at least that’s how my dad would have summed it up.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 21 or at jason@stanlynewspress.com.

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