Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cat Advice

So the cat and I are sitting on the couch together last night watching "Mrs. Henderson Presents," when the neighbor's really stupid cat, Brinks, shows up and starts flirting with Ermengarde through the screen window.

Ermengarde rushes to the window and starts screaming bloody murder, hissing and smacking the screen with her paw. Brinks looks mildly confused, meows loudly and keeps patting at the screen with his big, dumb paw.

I run over and yell at Ermie to stop it! stop it! Because I'm afraid one of them will actually smash through the screen window and kill each other. More specifically, I'm afraid that Ermengarde will get killed because her first human DE-CLAWED her.

So I'm screaming at her and trying to get her away from the window and she is YOWLING so loud it makes my hair stand on end, and I'm screaming at dumb Brinks to GO AWAY GO HOME! And Erm is kicking at me and howling and her tail is the size of a horse's. In fact, she's so puffed up she looks like a raccoon.

So we're SCREAMING at each other and she's kicked a big bloody tear into my hand, and I'm bleeding and finally scream her down onto the floor away from the window. Brinks is long gone and she's still raging and hissing at me and I'm going, "Don't you DARE talk to me like that! Don't you DARE!!" -- using all three of her formal names. Her eyes are enormous saucers and she's totally possessed, and I can see the surprise in her eyes that Human Lady can get this loud, since she's never ever heard me scream like this.

I get her into the middle of the room and she is still growling and hissing at me, only with a bit less gusto. She runs up to me and smacks me with her paw -- twice -- but the second time she does it I give her a swat on the behind as she runs by. "Oh NO you don't, young lady!"

It is a total stand-off, and I am hoarse with screaming at her. I have never in my life yelled like this. I'm hollering, "You are such an IDIOT! I am trying to keep you from getting KILLED! Brinks is DUMB AND HARMLESS! You are RIDICULOUS! NO ONE IS GOING TO HURT YOU OR ME!"

Finally, after she tries to whap me one more time and doesn't make it, and after I clean my wound and put Neosporin on it, we settle down. Her tail slowly de-puffs and I watch the rest of the movie, and every time I talk to her I use a low, "Mommy's Still Mad At You, Missy" voice. She is very nonchalant and doesn't climb into bed with me at midnight like she always does, although she does do a quick drive-by check-in at about 1:00 a.m., but real quiet like she doesn't want me to know she's doing it. She does a tour around my body and sniffs my hair and then goes to spend the rest of the night on the parlor couch.

In the morning she's curled up by my head, as always, and kisses me good morning like nothing happened. Which for her, it probably hasn't. I don't think cats have a very long-term memory, but I could be wrong.

I keep showing her my wound today. "SEE? THAT's what you did! And who gives you kibble and brushes you and scoops your litter and loves you and pays for all your clothes and takes you on nice vacations and saves for your college fund?"

So, Cat People, what do I do, short of keeping the windows shut against the cool breezes of a New England summer evening or asking my neighbors to keep Brinks behind an Invisible Fence (which they'll never do, even though they have buckets and buckets of money and live in a semi-palatial estate with a tennis court and swimming pool)?

How do I get her off the window ledge and out of sight of intruders without turning her against me? Should I have gotten out the spray bottle of water and hit both her and Brinks? That was an initial thought but I was scared to leave them alone.

Brinks, btw, is a boy and Erm is a spayed female. She isn't giving off girl smells or anything.

Please advise.

Someone very beautiful and striped is asleep next to me as I write this and would love to know what you think. She would also like to share that, in her memory of the event, she totally kicked my ass and even managed to out-scream me in the volume contest.


Blogger Jess said...

Spraying them with water probably wouldn't have done much, since they were already so riled up. We had this issue in a first-floor apartment once, and what finally worked was a full bucket of water flung through the screen on the neighbor cat. It got things wet besides the cat, but it also got the point across.

Otherwise there are various cat repellents available, usually made out of fox or coyote pee, which you could spray on the outside window ledge. But that's kinda icky, even if the bottle says it's "odor-free."

Blogger Jamie Goodwin said...

Get an empty soda can, put some pennys in it, and if something like this happens shake it like hell in their direction..

It is loud and annoying enough that it will startle both cats.

Same problem as the water bottle though. Unless you have it handy by the time you run and get it the problem would escalate to a point it might not do any good.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

TheCSO installed cat-proof window screens at our house, so we pretty much ignore other cats and even our un-neautered male doesn't get out through the windows any more.


Blogger Donald O'Bloggin said...

One of the non-offensive cat and other animal repelents is Hot Pepper Wax. It works pretty well at keeping the cats and squirrels out of my garden.

It also works when you aren't there, unlike the water bottles. I'm not sure how your throwing arm is, but a coffee filter filled with ground hot peppers, twisted closed at the top, with an explosive delivery to the snout or the ground in front of the cat, will be a major deterent.

Blogger ms. kitty said...

SweetPeace, I sympathize with your Ermie vs. The Other Cat situation. But I have found that screaming just makes it worse, so if you can, next time, don't scream. Cats panic easily, even if it's their beloved owner doing the screaming.

I live on an 8 acre wooded plot of land with deer, bunnies, owls, bald eagles, and coyotes, several of whom would eat my cats if they dared to leave the fenced-off deck area.

Nevertheless, Loosy the Love Cat leapt from a low place on the deck a couple of weeks ago and, oblivious to my concern for her safety ("Mom, I can take care of myself!"), she eluded capture for several minutes while I did the panicking and finally got hold of her.

If I had screamed, she definitely would have headed for the woods and become part of the local food chain.

I know how troubling it can be to be attacked by your normally-benign cat, but chalk it up to instinctive behavior on the part of the cat and try to keep your own instinctive behavior muted.

Blogger Roger Kuhrt, PhD said...

PB: Erm secretly told (intuitive telepathy) my Malika that everything is just the way she planned it! She needed you to "lose it" and then have to reflect in a penitive manner on the fact that Ermengarde is totally in charge of everything. She circled you in the night to assure your safety and joined in the AM with the "lick of love", not to apologize, but to let you know she has forgiven YOU. It is a good relationship--congrats. to both of you.

Cheerfully, RK

Blogger Not Your Usual Missionary Position said...

Poor Kitty and Poor Kitty Carbon-based Human Kompanion Unit, PB. Lordy Lordy I'm a cat fool, too, & I never know what is right or how to keep your cat out of therapy. Can you cover your window OUTSIDE with some serious hardware cloth or screen? Beckett (Samuel, please--who should have been named Cromey because he's so much like Robert Warren Cromey His Holiness) once burst through a screen in our house in Oakland. I went totally berserk that the laughing neighbors helped search for him ("Lord, she loves those cats like children."..."Honey, they ARE her children. Good thing she doesn't treat Kenny that way!") and the little Houdini FINALLY returned after 3 hours of searching and my dehydration from crying. So we literally NAILED serious hardware cloth AND screencloth over the windows. We all got the breeze; we all were even cooler with screencloth; and the cats could get all the out door smells and other non-human creature visits safely. But I still checked those windows everyday to make sure all the seeming hundreds of nails were nailed in.

I thank CC for mentioning cat-proof window screens but what ARE they?


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