My wife has her cats. She loves her cats. The cats love...themselves and about nothing else. No, I'm not a cat person.
The cats do hate some things. Number one on their list of hated objects is children. My son falls into this category and is Public Enemy Number One to Sassy and Micah.
One day, my wife needed to take one of the cats to the vet to get his shots. She told my son that she would take care of catching the cat and putting it into the cat carrier when she got home from school (she's a teacher). My son, wanting to help, got home ahead of her and proceeded to try to catch the cat for her.
When Tory got home from school, she opened the back door. As she opened it, she saw a quick blur as a multi-colored cat flashed by on his way to freedom and safety. She looked up to see what the cat was running from.
By my wife's feet was an opened cat carrier. My eleven year old son stood just inside the door, wearing oven mitts, carrying a broom, and with two dogs standing beside him. He had been trying to herd the cat, with the help of the dogs and broom, into the cat carrier. The mitts were in case the cat tried to bite or scratch his hand.
The site was too funny not to laugh, and the humor overrode her anger at his trying to catch the cat. He had bolted only to get away from that menace with the broom and his companion dogs.
When I got home from work, my wife had already been all around the neighborhood a few times looking for the cat. I helped. I drove, and she walked. Then, I walked and she drove. No luck.
We didn't want to set the cat's food outside because we knew that it would attract skunks, raccoons, bears, and other, sometimes undesireable forest life.
We looked again the next day.
Occasionally, over the next few months, we would see the cat in the neighborhood. He would spot us and run. I guess he was still traumatized.
One night, we heard the sounds of something underneath the house. We checked the crawlspaces, and actually saw the cat, but could not catch him.
My boss at work did a lot of trapping for a living and had small traps he used for smaller animals. We borrowed one, baited it with cat food, and went to bed. The next morning, we had a cat.
I had actually approached the trap cautiously in case we had gotten a skunk, but relaxed when I saw it was just Micah in the cage.
I picked up the trap and carried it inside.
Micah stunk. It was obvious that he had tangled with a skunk. There was also about an inch of fur missing on his tail in a full ring and the bald spot had sores and was bleeding.
My wife took the cat to her mother's house so that they could bathe it to get rid of the stench and doctor the tail. They also wanted to check for other injuries.
Well, just picture this. You've got a cat that's been living outside for two months. It has tangles with skunks, area dogs, raccoons, and other animals. It spent much of the night in an animal trap. It then had to ride in a cat carrier 45 miles to my in laws house. It smells bad and knows it. It has a huge sore on its tail. Do you think this animal really wants a bath?
About the time the tail hit the water, the cat's teeth sunk themselves into my wife's finger. They clamped shut. She couldn't get the cat to let go. Pleading and swearing only made the cat bite harder. My mother in law pried the cat's mouth apart and removed the cat's mouth from my wife's finger.
If it had been me, I would have taken my hand, flicked it against the wall a few times, knocked the cat unconscious, had my finger free in just a few seconds, and then finished beating the cat to death. The women, however, were afraid to hurt the poor kitty.
Now, logic says that when you get any kind of cut or bite, you are going to wash it well and then clean it up with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Then, you are going to put some kind of disinfectant on the cut, add a bandage, and take care of it.
Logic, however, did not enter the heads of either of these women. The only washing the cut received was in the same water the cat was bathed in (yes, they continued with the bath).
When my wife got home late that afternoon, she told me of her experience and showed me the wound (unbandaged, of course). I asked if it had been properly washed. You know the answer.
An hour later, my wife's hand started to swell and the whole thing was red. The redness and swelling both begin spreading up the arm. I took her to the emergency room.
By the time I left the hospital and went home (after midnight), the redness and swelling had spread up her entire arm. It turns out that 99% of all deep cat bites cause serious infection. In addition, the meal we baited the cat trap with was canned seafood catfood. My wife is allergic to seafood and this went into her bloodstream along with the cat's saliva.
Heavy antibiotics were pumped through my wife's system for all three of those days to try to kill the infection. They finally worked.
Three days and $7000 later, she got to come home.
Six months (and a couple thousand dollars more in physicall therapy) later, she finally got all movement back into her right index finger (yes, she is also right handed).
There are a couple of morals to this story:
1. When a cat wants to run away, let it go.
2. Never bathe a cat in a bad mood, unless you are wearing a suit of armor.
3. Chain mail will suffice if the cat is in a good mood.
4. The washing machine and the dishwasher are probably better options.
5. While all dogs do go to heaven, all cats go to hell.
And now, for the epilogue:
Micah is not a personable cat. The only person the cat wants anything to do with is my wife. He runs in terror at the site of my son or me. As I never really have to see, hear, or put up with the cat, that's all fine with me. It is almost the perfect housepet (except when I write out the bills).
Sassy, the other cat, is also terrified of Billy. She, however, loves to torment me. Her favorite things to do include trying to sleep on my face, using my pillow as a litter box, and batting at the newspaper when I try to read it. My wife, however, loves this cat and we are stuck with it until it dies.