Attacked by Kittens: A Cricklewood Road Tale
It was supposed to be the best day of my little life. I was gonna be the proud new owner of a couple of kittens, or, even better, three kittens. Three little balls of milky mew-ey fur. They were so damned adorable. And sweet, oh they were so sweet. Or so I thought…
I came out of the womb loving animals. But they didn’t always love me back. Maybe I loved em too much, like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. But really, I was too little to wring the life out of a worm, let alone a mammal, and I think, even at a tender age, I had more sense than poor Lenny. But hey, I was the one who got bit by Aunt Mary’s hamster and scratched by Aunt Paulines cat and chased by Uncle Arts rooster, so maybe I was a little too demonstrative. I was just trying to feed that hamster a little lettuce and besides aren’t they vegan, so why is it chomping my finger? I was just trying to pet that coon cat, or maybe it was an actual racoon. And I was just looking into the chicken coop when that bastard rooster took chase of me and tried to peck my eyes out.
Regardless, I did love animals and those kittens had to be mine. So I gathered three of them up in my arms and headed towards my house to show them to my Mother, with Mary and her dog Spot by my side.
Now Spot was a hunting spaniel or beagle or something and he did not get along with my little fox terrier Corky. Nobody got along with Corky. He was a little dog with a little man complex, a real pain in the ass, always running around, street fighting with dogs three or four times his size and coming home all chewed up. We would rush him to the vet and he’d come home with lots of black prickly stitches and sad, pain-filled eyes. We’d nurse him back to health, sure he had learned his lesson, until the next time he tore off after the meanest German Shepherd on the block, the one all the un-brain damaged dogs gave a wide berth to in every encounter. That Shepherds name was Diablo and he must have understood Spanish because he lived up to his namesake–big, evil and bad ass. But Corky was too stupid to get out of his way. He would just charge right at him, seething and snarling and growling like the Tasmanian Devil charging Bugs Bunny. The result for Corky was never humorous. God he was an idiot. But I loved him.
So here I was approaching my driveway smothered in a fur collar of kittens when Corky decides to charge down the driveway at Spot. They immediately broke into an ugly fight with lots of noise and teeth and flying fur. Well, those sweet little milky fur balls went ape shit. They climbed up my head, down my back, around my shoulders, up and down my arms and round and round my chest like squirrels in an old oak tree, all the while tearing the shit out of me with their needle sharp little claws. I couldn’t grab them and get them off because of the claws and all the scrambling around, and the more they scrambled, the more they shredded me. I had to close my eyes and cover them with my hands. My friend Mary was mortified. I don’t remember how we finally disengaged those kittens from me, but I do remember my Mom running down the driveway and escorting me into the house. I was completely traumatized. My beautiful little kittens turned on me, just like that! Thanks a lot Corky, you little ass hat.
Every where I had had kittens was covered in deep, red, bloody scratches. My Mom took my shirt off over my screaming head and put on her Florence Nightengale cap and started cleaning my wounds with soap and water. Those scratches were already inflamed and tender and burned like hell, but Mom insisted on painting me with enough mercurochrome to make me look like Sacajawea. Every little pat of the mercurochrome soaked cotton ball felt like a fresh bee sting. Oh, the agony! I was miserable and couldn’t wear a shirt for days. Lucky for me my eye balls were still intact so I could check out my wounds in the mirror and feel sorry for myself for the next couple of weeks.
And the whole time she was nursing me, she was lecturing me:
What were you thinking bringing those cats over here?
I…wanted…to show you…the kittens….
Whatever for? I don’t even like cats.
Well…I…I wanted to see if I might have one…for a pet…
Are you crazy? You can’t have kittens. We have Corky. Don’t you ever ever go near a cat again. Those dirty little animals. Look what they did to you! Do you hear me? Don’t ever touch a cat again as long as you live. They carry disease you know.
At which point I’m thinking “Oh shit, am I gonna die? God damn that dog”
I know this doesn’t make my mother look very flattering, but she was a wonderful lady, she just wasn’t much for animals. She let us have Corky and look at how that turned out. And she never did like cats. Probably got scratched a few times and having a more sophisticated intellect than mine, wrote cats off as mean and unpredictable. She was a quick study. She would not keep going back for more like that brain dead dog of ours. Or like me, going after every animal I could get my hands on and constantly getting rejected in that special way animals have of telling kids to f@c% off.
It’s funny how when you’re hurt and your mother talks to you, you really listen for a change. I didn’t go near cats again. They’ve given me the creeps ever since. Over fifty years later I still approach them gingerly. My cat loving friends don’t get me. They know I love my dog, any dog really. I’ll roll around on the floor playing with theirs if they have one. Then they come over cradling their pride and joy cat and I go all cool and stand offish. I might talk to it, touch it’s head (with one finger), but there’s no way in hell I’m hugging that fuzzy ball of latent fury to my chest or rubbing my cheek on it’s feather soft ears. Might as well ask me to give Chucky a little hug and kiss on the forehead.
My friend T loves all animals equally: cats, dogs, chickens, horses, her old man. She used to randomly throw cats at me. She was either trying to desensitize me or freak me out, I’m not sure. It didn’t help that she had the original Chucky cat, an orange tabby that wandered into her yard one day from the bowels of hell. The day I watched her try to lovingly shake Peaches, aka Chucky, off her arm as she dangled there by all eighteen claws was the day I knew I would never, ever, love a cat. So much for cat throwing therapy.
Even cats’ eyes kind of freak me out, the way they stare at you without any recognition of your humanity sometimes, all Donald Trump like. When my dog Cosmo stares at me I imagine him saying “Mommy, I love you, but I wish I knew what the hell you’re talking about.” When a cat stares at me I imagine it saying “I’ll bet you taste like tuna.”
I’ve tried to forge relationships with cats a couple of times since the attack. But I’m done at the first love bite or prick of those razor sharp claws, which is inevitable, cats being cats and all. I like my pets to like me. I want to hug ’em without harm. Which means a big goofy dog with soft doe eyes and a loyal and loving disposition. No kittens, no cats, and no freaking fox terriers…definitely not.
©2017 by Ilona Elliott