Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Misha's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day


This is Misha, the grey tabby we adopted from the Southside Animal Shelter back in 2002. She's pushing eight years old now, although we don't know exactly how old she is (she was a young adult when we adopted her). 

She's a fat cat, with a purr as loud as a motor, and a super sweet personality.  She likes to give head butts and make "biscuits" on your tummy - that is, if she likes you. Sometimes she can be shy with strangers, and many times when people visit us, they don't even know we have a cat because she stays hidden. She loves being outdoors, loves hunting voles and mice - and for this reason (as well as reasons of safety) we prefer for her to stay indoors. Sometimes, though, she escapes. She likes to sit on the grass and watch all the action going on around her.

Misha gets along well with the dogs. She's known both Cody and Chelsea since they came to live with us, and to see them together you would never think they were of different species. They play, they snuggle, they kiss each other and sniff each other's butts. Sometimes they even talk to each other.

They say that cats have nine lives. If that's true, then Misha lost one of hers yesterday. She was attacked by our new neighbor's very large German shepherd. This dog was out for a walk with his teenage owner when he saw Misha (minding her own business, sitting in one of the flower beds in the front yard) and went totally berserk. The girl completely lost control of him and in an instant, Misha learned that all dogs aren't as sweet as her canine siblings.

I heard screaming, and when I opened the front door, I wasn't sure what I was seeing. Have you ever heard that expression "the fur flew"? Well, it did. As soon as it registered with me that Misha was the target of this very large dog's aggression, my mother instinct kicked in. I grabbed his leash and pulled him off of her, then helped our by then crying neighbor get her dog home and out of Misha's sight. Then I ran back to Misha, who was in shock, covered in mulch, and drooling something that had a little blood in it. She growled at me, so I just opened up the garage and let her come in. She hid underneath my car, out of my reach. I was unable to examine her without traumatizing her further, so I called our veterinarian's office to ask for advice. I learned where the closest veterinary emergency clinic is. But as I saw no additional blood and it appeared that Misha was becoming more calm, I decided to wait things out.

An hour later, I opened the garage door and she ran inside. When Cody and Chelsea saw her, they could sense that something was wrong. Usually they bark whenever they first see her,  but the barking only lasted a nanosecond. The three of them disappeared into the back bedroom, and under the bed. Curiously, I got down on hands and knees to peek under the bed to see what they were doing. It was as if they were trying to comfort her. Chelsea seemed to be licking her clean, and Cody was protectively spooning her. It was a sweet scene, so peaceful.

Misha spent the night under the bed. This morning she came out for a while to eat and get some water, and then she disappeared again. The good news is, she seems to have escaped the attack with only a few scrapes. But I can tell she has lost some of her innocence, a lot of her pride, and it will probably be a long time before she'll want to go back outside. Poor kitty.