I was attacked, and I survived. I’d like to think the experience has made me a stronger person somehow. More resilient, maybe. Less fearful, perhaps. I know that my physical scars will never heal, but time has a way of healing almost everything else.
So, I’ve decided to write about my horrifying experience. The time has come to “let it out”, as they say. This may turn out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write. But, perhaps it will be worth it. Maybe I’ll help someone. Maybe my scars will fade just a little bit more. Maybe, in time, I will forget what happened on that terrible, terrible day.
It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining, sparkling brilliantly in a clear, cloudless sky. The leaves on the trees fluttered softly on a gentle breeze. It was the kind of day that always makes me think back to when I was a kid in school in the last few days of June, feeling the anticipation of the coming summer months. But for us unfortunate adults, a work day is a work day, regardless of how nice it is outside. I think it was a Tuesday.
My husband and I were working at the same building back then, and we decided to stop and visit friends of ours on our lunch break. My girl friend was out of town, and I found myself feeling left out of the conversation between the men at the kitchen table. Suddenly, I remembered something.
“Did Precious have her kittens yet?” I asked Joe. Precious was a beautiful, long-haired pastel calico cat and I had been eagerly anticipating the litter in the hopes that she would have a calico kitten I could someday take home to my children.
Joe said, “They’re down in the basement,” and I quickly jumped up to check it out. I was almost down the stairs when he added, “She might try and eat you, though.” I paid him little mind as I entered the basement and searched for Precious. I had been told long ago that it was always a good idea to pet a new mother cat before attempting to touch her young, in case the mother became jealous. I don’t remember who told me that, but I’ve never forgotten it.
But, after a thorough search of the room, I determined that Precious was nowhere to be found. Satisfied, I looked again and saw a makeshift bed on the floor which was dotted with little balls of fur. There they were! I knelt down carefully to examine the brood, when I found what I was looking for – a black ball of fur. I picked the tiny thing up, ignoring it’s pathetic mews. I examined the kitten and saw what I had been looking for. I had to look closely, but there they were. The markings were nearly invisible, but they held the promise of what would soon become a gorgeous tortoise-shell coat.
Satisfied, I gently placed the mewling kitten back in her bed. I stood up. I heard a sound. Startled, I wheeled around to see the source of the noise – an empty refrigerator box that appeared to be moving. I took a hesitant step towards the box, when suddenly, two yellow eyes appeared over the top of the box.
Oh. Shit. I thought to myself, as I took a step backwards. My voice was shaking, “Hi, Precious. Just relax, Kitty. I was only looking at your babies, Mama. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
The next few seconds seemed to take hours. The cat deftly leaped out of the box and came towards me with a purposeful stride. There was no mistaking the intent – the focus – that was in her eyes. I stood there, unable to move, watching her walk towards me in slow motion. Strangely, I had plenty of time to ponder my current situation. Okay. This cat is pissed. I shouldn’t have touched her kittens. She’s going to be over here right away. But, it’s just a little kitty – nothing to be afraid of. I’m way bigger than her, after all. Okay. Breathe, Bailey girl, breathe.
With a violent jolt, time began again. The cat was on me in a flurry of claws, yowling and hissing as she bit and fought with the determination of a mother who’s offspring had been threatened. Oh my God,I thought, she’s going for my face! I put my arms up in defense as I feebly pushed her away with my foot (I didn’t want to hurt her, after all). She’d barely stop skidding along the cement floor before she began the next attack. Ruthlessly, she came at me, again and again, with everything she had. My desire to see her unharmed was very quickly replaced by the desire to kill the wretched beast, and my kicks became stronger. Still, she didn’t relent, and I began to fear for my life. I’ll never get out of here, I thought.
And then, I remembered the men sitting upstairs. “Joe!” I cried, my voice breaking. “Help me, Joe! For the love of God, help me!” Joe appeared in the doorway, and I have never been more relieved to see another human being. He struggled with the cat, who didn’t seem to notice his owner was in the room. She only had eyes for me.
While Joe fought with the cat, I saw my exit. I turned my back and ran as fast as I could up the stairs and right into my husband. I sat down at the table, shaking uncontrollably and fighting back tears when my savior emerged from the basement. I told them what had happened, reliving every moment of the horrible attack I had miraculously survived. I looked down to survey the damage. My shirt hung in tatters and my legs were bleeding from bites and scratches, but I was okay. I was going to be okay.
“I have never been more scared in my entire life,” I said finally, waiting for my tremors to subside. The men looked at each other. An awkward giggle was followed swiftly by outright laughter. Laughter! I sat indignantly, waiting for the riotous guffaws to cease. Fifteen minutes later, they ceased, only to be resurrected at random times over the next couple of days in memory of what I’d gone through.
My scars have faded over time, but they remain a constant reminder of what happened to me on that beautiful summer day – the day my friend’s cat tried to kill me.
So there you have it. Laugh if you must, but it was a day I will never forget. I was attacked by a cat and I lived to tell the tale.