I wonder if every human ponders what their reaction might be in a crisis. Have you? I think it must only be natural to wonder how one might react in the face of any trauma.
I have faced situations with other humans in crisis before. I tend to stay pretty level headed and move into reactionary mode without too much drama. It is only after the fact that the reality of the situation hits, the emotions come into play and I begin to attempt to reflect on what the hell just happened.
In contrast, I have watched stories on the news detailing people who have found themselves in the middle of a crisis with an animal and wondered if I would behave rationally in that situation as well. This morning I got to find out. The answer to my query is mixed.
My old, deaf, senile cat had an encounter with a dog inside our house this morning. Parts of the story are still being worked through in my head, such as why the dog was allowed in my house to begin with. I don’t have an answer to that right now. In a surreal moment, from an out-of-the-way room I realized that my cat was at her food dish, that I was hearing the clinking of a dog collar, I screamed, “the cat” while jumping up and through the door, and came face to face with my screaming daughter, her screaming friend and too animals, one of which was hell bent on eating my cat. I can now say that I know how I will react in an animal crisis, (perhaps not so well) and that I had no thought to my own safety. My cat was the top priority so I would probably be one of those folks who gets mauled trying to break up an animal fight. At least if one of the animals was my own.
What ensued just outside my bedroom door is not pleasant to remember as it involves vivid flashbacks of teeth, fur, panic, fear, and definitely anger. I don’t want to again see the images that I remember from this morning, so no more descriptions than that. The cat got away, the dog was removed, I was more than furious and scared and in disbelief. I also discovered that I was bleeding all over myself and my floor. I remember pain during the struggle and figured out that the cat, in her own panic and fight to free herself from the jaws of the dog, had sunk not only claws into me, but also her teeth.
As to the cat, once free she bolted for the back door, and I let her escape into the back yard while the dog was cornered in the house. As I was trying to staunch my flow of blood I went back to see if I could locate the cat. She had disappeared, and as of this writing seven hours later, has not reappeared. There was no blood trail that I could find from her. There were numerous fur balls and cat claw pieces, but thankfully no blood other than my own.
No need really to rehash the words that were coming out of my mouth. I know that the daughter’s friend felt horrible. She had a bite as well and I advised her to get it checked. I don’t know if she decided to do that or not. I decided to bandage myself as best as I could and drove to the local clinic as I remember reading (and with confirmation from my nurse daughter) that cat bites (even from known cats) can be nasty.
One tetanus shot, ten days of antibiotics, three separate wounds washed and antibiotic anointed and bandaged later, and I am sharing this story with all of you. One wound is very minor. One, maybe a bite or possibly a double scratch, is making the back of my left hand rather puffy. The final, a bite or two on my right thumb is still oozing even with three band-aids. She not only bit, but tore down to the tip as well, probably as the dog was pulling on her. As the nurse-practitioner noted, “We don’t like to suture punctures with tears like this unless absolutely necessary…infection risk you know.”
I assume that no one wants to see pictures.
You’re all lucky as I don’t have any anyway.
Now I continue to sit and wait to see if the cat returns while trying not to think about her being injured or worse. I know she’s traumatized. I can only hope that hunger will drive her to check back soon.