It has officially been forty-two hours since I have had contact with the feline incarnate of Satan. In an effort to avoid a lengthy bout of therapy- I’m not sure there’s a branch of psychology that deals with people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of encounters with a cat – I have decided to write about my experience.
It began innocently enough, well, now that I think about that, I question the innocent part. My dearest friend expressed panic because her cat sitter (apparently she knows the Mary Poppins for cats) fell through. She was thinking of asking the neighbor girls to help out, but she just “didn’t feel comfortable.” Well, now I know that’s a load of manure; the reality is most likely that her father, who happens to be her insurance agent, strongly advised her against enlisting the services of young children to care for the beast. Naively, I volunteered. I am the cat’s Godmother after all, which, by the way, I’m going to seek counsel from the church on how I can be excommunicated from such role.
Because I was not returning from Chicago until Friday, my duties would be limited to seven days, and her “malefriend” would take care of Sadie (her name, by the way, means “princess” in Hebrew) for the first two days. I had my doubts about malefriend, but was advised by text message that he had fulfilled his responsibilities and had even hung out with Sadie for a good portion of the day (of this anecdote I am very skeptical).
Day One: I arrived at the house of doom at about 1:00 pm. I figured I would feed the cat, hang out with her for a bit because she was probably lonely, and then head off to the nearby grocery store. I opened the door and Sadie was right there to greet me. I naively thought, “Oh, poor thing, she’s so lonely and happy that I’m here.” I said Hello, put down the mail, setting aside two magazines I thought I’d look at while I hung out with the cat, and headed to the couch to pet the cat who seemed much in need of attention. She was very loving, purring and rubbing up against me; she simply couldn’t get enough love. After a bit, I decided I’d go ahead and feed her and head out to hang out on the back porch which is one of Sadie’s favorite spots. I grabbed the magazines and started toward the kitchen. I had no sooner crossed the threshold to the kitchen when the onslaught began. Out of no where, Sadie started pawing at my legs (large blessing that she has no front claws, or I would have been mauled to death for sure), and trying to bite me. Dressed in capri pants and flip flops, I was not armored for such a surprise attack; I quickly lowered the larger of the two magazines to protect my legs and “shoo” the cat away. Well, apparently this maneuver was viewed as retaliatory, and Sadie went into full on battle mode, hissing, and making a blood curdling threatening sound which resembled nothing of a “meow.” I knew I had to escape. I headed for the porch, desperately trying to unlock the door before the cat reached the unprotected back of my legs. I made my way out to the porch, ego bruised, and decided that this was just an unusual incident and clearly Sadie had misinterpreted my intentions – she seemed to be “on guard”- possibly she was protecting her food (which, ironically, I was to be the purveyor of). I sat for a bit and distractedly tried to read the magazine. After a few minutes, Sadie sauntered out and I thought “OK, she’s happy to be out on the screened porch, clearly we just had a misunderstanding”. She came over and sat erectly on the floor directly in front of me. At first I thought all was OK, and then I saw it, the look in her eyes – it was nothing short of bloodthirsty. I admit, I panicked; all I could think of was how vulnerable I was just sitting here; she could leap up and be on my face in a matter of seconds. I bravely declared to her that I had had enough of her intimidation and was going to fill her bowl and leave – no nicey nice hanging out with the cat anymore. I made my way to the kitchen, all the while with an eye toward the door, and managed to get the cat food in the bowl before the aggressor returned. I waited, but Sadie apparently didn’t feel like coming in to eat yet. I was now faced with the dilemma of how to get the cat back in the house so that I could lock the back door – yes, it crossed my mind that I could just lock the cat outside, but I imagined her clawing her way out of the screen to go on a serial killing rampage throughout the otherwise quiet neighborhood. I was doubting that anyone had, as of yet, been over to care for the cat, because, surely, they would not have escaped unscathed, but then I saw the Fun Size Milky Way wrapper, undeniable evidence that “malefriend” had indeed been there. At last, after lurking in the doorway for a minute, Sadie came in to eat. She went right to her bowl and started to eat. I managed to slip by her, unnoticed, and locked the door. Great, now I could safely escape. I started out of the kitchen, and out of nowhere, there she was – she leapt in front of me prepared to avert my escape. I was now thoroughly confused, my theory about her guarding her food clearly did not hold true because I was the one who fed her. In the split second that I was pondering such, I was offguard enough to allow her another opportunity for attack, and she seized the opportunity. She started with the batting of the legs and the attempted biting when I yelled at her, “Sadie, stop it!” Well, that did not go over well, showing her alpha cat nature, she went fully up on her hind legs, opened her mouth, barred her enormous cat fangs and let out the most threatening deepthroated hiss one can imagine. That was it, I now started running for the door, hoping she was not in pursuit. I barely made it out alive.
After I had managed to calm my shaking, I called my “no longer so dear” friend and explained the situation. She explained that malefriend had described her as “frisky.” No, frisky are those cute little kittens who play with a ball of yarn on the Kitten Chow commercial – Sadie was far from frisky. As I shared more details about the attack in the kitchen, Sadie’s mother said that she does have a bad habit of biting, and she has started hissing lately – details not shared earlier, for obvious reasons. She also said that her other friend (not malefriend) who had come by earlier in the week said Sadie was like the Guardcat of the house. So, now I know I’m dealing with the equivalent of a feline Doberman. I went home and told Bryan about the episode and he flat out did not believe me. After all, he had been named the cat whisperer after taking care of both my cat and Sadie at my house for a weekend. While we were off for a “girls weekend,” he was texting us photos of the cats laying together happily in bed with him. Now, I can hardly believe I ever let that cat in my house. After one too many “Oh, don’t be ridiculous” and “You’re just exaggerating” comments, I decided that Bryan would have to accompany me the next day to witness the terror.
Day 2: The cat whisperer and I head out on our journey to feed that cat. It crosses my mind that we should have told someone where we were going – just in case we didn’t return. We entered the house, and Kujo was right there waiting for her prey. Bryan said hello and petted her and it was like a reunion; my heart swelled and I questioned whether I had just imagined the whole incident the day before. Just in case, I told Bryan to distract Sadie by petting her, while I made my way into the kitchen. I was able to get into the kitchen fill the food dishes and refresh the water without any sign of encroaching attack. Sadie came in to eat, Bryan helped himself to a fun-size Milky Way, as seems to be the trend with men, and we left without incident.
Day 3: Unwilling to admit to unrelenting fear, I asked Bryan if he wanted to go out for brunch. I chose a place near the lair. After brunch, I innocently suggested that we stop by to feed the cat. We arrived, fed the cat, and left – once again, all without incident. Prior to leaving, I had the foresight to put a bag of kitty treats in my purse, so that tomorrow I could use them as a decoy to keep the cat occupied while I made my way to the kitchen.
Day 4: The cat whisperer was busy all day, so I couldn’t rope him into accompanying me on my cat feeding duties. I procrastinated as long as I could, but then realized that allowing the cat to become to hungry would likely only bring out the worst in her. I contemplated calling my attorney and drafting a quick will, but decided that I was overreacting. I staved my fears as I turned the key in the lock. The guard cat was there to greet me, but she gave me a sad, almost innocent little meow. It was true, I had misjudged her, she was just lonely and confused. Surely, now she knew me – I was her caregiver, the one who feeds her. I petted her, spoke to her in that stupid high pitched voice that people use when talking to babies and called her affectionate names like Sadester, Pretty Kitty etc. I emptied a pile of treats on the floor and made my way to the kitchen. I had just gotten the food in the bowl, when the treat supply was exhausted and Sadie came into the kitchen. Sensing impending doom, I decided to be proactive and reached down to pet her. All seemed well until I stopped petting her, and then the batting of the legs started again. I petted her again and she seem to oblige, but she kept getting dangerously high up on her hind legs. I managed to set down the bowl of food while petting her and planned my escape. I had nearly made it out of the kitchen, when she came at me – running in front of me, blocking my path and batting at my legs. I told her to stop and go eat her food, and then, she bit me, right on the shin. I managed to escape, swearing at telling her that she was evil and didn’t deserve to be fed.
Day 5: After a restless night of nightmares about a giant black cat (the size of Godzilla) crushing my home, I woke up dreading my catsitting duties. Bryan was once again occupied, so I would have to go it alone again. Again, I procrastinated, putting away my clean clothes and organizing my soccer bag, when I had an epiphany. I would wear my soccer shin guards when I went to feed the cat – surely she wouldn’t be able to pierce through the hard injection molded plastic of my Adidas shin guards. I arrived at the house, put my shin guards over my heavy jeans (no more capris and flip flops for me), and was somewhat embarrassed thinking that the nosy neighbor Mrs. Cravitz might see me and wonder what was going on. I had a little trouble with one of the shin guards, it seemed the velcro had been compromised and the guard was only loosely attached – leaving a possible point of entry. I said a prayer and entered. I used the pile of treats tactics and made it to the kitchen with ease. However, upon my departure, the attack began. But, luckily the shin guards served as an effective shield. Satan seemed even more irritated at her defeat and I left the house muttering “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!”
Day 6: I had had a busy day of errands and was around the corner from the home of the housecat turned feral. I didn’t have my shinguards with me, but I was tired and didn’t want to go all the way home just to have to return and face my worst nightmare. Knees shaking, I approached the house. I took note of the “Protected by ADT” sign and thought what a waste of money to pay for an alarm system when you have a feline Doberman. I thought I might post Sadie’s picture under the ADT sign. I reached in my purse to pull out the treats and realized I had left them on the counter; I panicked. Thinking quickly, I decided that I would just pet Satan the whole time and maybe she wouldn’t attack. I entered and started in with the high pitched voice and the petting. It seemed to work. Hunched over, all the while petting the cat, I made my way to the kitchen. There were a couple of moments, like when I had to use two hands open the can of food, where it was touch and go because I stopped the petting, but I managed. I quickly put down the food bowl and made a very fast escape. Phew.
Day 7: I woke up with a sore back (from the hunching over to pet the cat) but singing “Glory Glory Hallelulja” it was my final day of catsitting. In all of my rejoicing, I forgot to take my shin guards out of my soccer bag from my game the night before; I realized this, of course, only as I arrived at the lair. I decided my petting tactic from the day before had worked well, so I went with that. For some reason, the tactic didn’t work as well today. As I crossed the threshold, the batting began; I tried to dance around it, but, apparently my sudden movements were met with dismay and, yes, Satan bit me right where my leg meets my foot – very tender skin. I screamed, which apparently scared her enough to retreat. I quickly filled the food bowls, checking behind me frequently, threw them down and burst toward the door. As I closed the door behind me a wave of relief passed through my shaking body – it was over, I had survived with all of my appendages intact. I texted my “not so dear friend” that she should be advised that her cat would likely be very happy to see her and then proceed to kill her in her sleep. So far, I think she is still alive.
For authentication purposes, I have transcribed the text messages from the days of my catsitting.
After my initial phone call graphically describing the horrific events of Day 1, I (K) received the following message from cat owner (A):
A: Was she just as bad today?
K: (no reply yet)
K: (no reply yet)
A: Now I’m worried, did she attack u?
(After my reply that I slept late):
A: Was Sadie as bad yesterday?
K: No, Bryan was with me so he petted her while I snuck into the kitchen.
A: LOL – Cat Whisperer – maybe she likes men better
A: The dog has officially dropped three loads today in my room!!!! Apparently the 5 day mark is when she’s ready for me to leave.
K: I think day 5 is max for your cat Kujo
A: Oh no, was she bad again?
K: Bry went with me again – so she was ok but I’m still scared of her
A: Sorry, I feel horrible
K: It’s OK, I’ll go into therapy when u return
A: I know she feels bad
K: No, I’m pretty sure she just loathes me and wishes me dead
A: I like to think she misses me and is protecting the homestead
K: For sure – she’s like a feline doberman
K: Sadie attacked and bit me today when I was walking out of the kitchen – she’s crazy!!!!
A: Oh no, I feel horrible!!!!!!!!
K: I thought I had a system down- gave treats at door – I keep them in my purse. Then, while she was distracted with treats, I do food, but today she trapped me in the kitchen.
A: I’m so sorry!!! 😦
K: It’s really quite funny that I am terrified of my Godcat.
A: I know. I know in her heart she really loves you.
A: Was it bad again? It’s ok to swat her or spray her.
K: My system now includes shin guards – works pretty well but she still attacks. Will try to send you a video
K: She did not even attempt to attack me today – I just petted her the whole time while I made my way to kitchen – did make fast escape though- feel bad
A: No worries, glad she was nicer
K: I think she’s saving all her energy because I’m quite sure she’s plotting to kill u in ur sleep
A: I’ll be home Saturday
K: We’ll plan your funeral for the long Easter weekend
A: How was Sadie?
K: Seemed fine at first then got bored w food while I was tending to plants so she bit me
A: I’m sorry, no shin guards?
K: No played soccer last pm and forgot to take them out of the bag
(After owner’s return)
K: How is ur cat?
A: She hissed at me and bit me but fine now thanks again!!!
K: Lol! I swear she went feral in ur absence. She needs a good brushing but lord knows I wasn’t going to attempt that – I might have lost a limb!
A: Right, will prob wait myself
K: Good plan
A: Sadie has an apology gift for you
K: Is she getting her fangs removed?
A: Sorry that was more than she was planning to spend.