Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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The Cattitude Chronicles: When Bliss Goes Awry

Posted on Feb 11, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   26 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Funny how the topic of a blog post can change in an instant.

While preparing to begin this week’s post, I settled in at the kitchen table with a cup of hot tea—Bigelow Constant Comment, for the curious amongst you—and my laptop, Charlotte, named after a certain eponymous spider who, as it happens, was also a devoted lover of words. A picture window overlooks the back yard and a bird feeder hangs less than two feet away, so we see a close-up parade of finches, sparrows, chickadees, and the occasional red-headed woodpecker or cardinal. I love it when the woodpeckers arrive. They’re huge compared to the other birds and too big for the feeder by far, not that this deters them. The gyrations they go through to nosh at Chez Claro are amusing to say the least, and give a new meaning to the phrase “will work for food.”

Anyway, you get the idea of how I expected my afternoon to go.

Added to the birds was my cat Tabitha, or Tabby for short, who has been most unlike her usual self since the passing of her sister-cat, Bailey.

Where Bailey was gentle and sweet, Tabby is large and in charge, and I mean that in every way possible. Tabby rules the abode. Even the dogs do what she says, and they do it without argument or question. When she decides she wants some snuggle time, she scoots in as if a cat sleeping with a dog is the norm. The dogs accept her affection with resigned dignity.

Penny and Tabitha "A Study in Tolerance"

Penny and Tabitha

Anyway, I’ve often thought I’d love to possess Tabby’s self-image as she harbors not even a smidgen of self-doubt. She’s Queen, and you better believe it.

Tabitha

Queen Tabitha

But since Bailey crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Tabby has been affectionate in the extreme. Being affectionate isn’t unusual for Tabby, she’s always been a snuggler, but being so needy about it—that’s new. And that, Buttercup, is what I planned to write about.

Oh, yes, indeed! I had great notions of penning a heartwarming post about The New Tabitha (she says, dewy-eyed). The New Tabitha, you see, wants to be near me all the time. She lies on my lap in the evenings, a spot Bailey used to claim. Last night she slept snuggled with me where Bailey used to sleep. And she has begun, while I’m working, to sit in my lap and rest her head on the back of my hand and leave it there even as my fingers tap-tap the keys. It isn’t the most comfortable situation for either of us, but she seems to need the reassurance that even though her sister is gone, Love remains.

So, now to the point. I sat to write, all comfy with my tea and my birds and my cat. Ah, bliss! And then Luna, our resident domestic terrorist and Tabby’s feline nemesis, crashed the party.

Luna when she first came home, rescued from a storm drain

Luna when she first came home, rescued from a storm drain

Oh, wait. Wrong photo. Here’s what she looks like now:

Luna, domestic terrorist

Luna, domestic terrorist

Tabby took one look at Luna and the arched-back hissing match was on. I intervened in an effort to keep Luna from becoming an advertisement for skinned meat, and Tabby, in the throes of her murderous intent, bit the living *&$^%&^*! out of my hand.

This was not The New Tabitha. This was Ye Olde Tabby, and she left me with a deep puncture wound in the tendon area below my thumb. I leapt from my chair and danced around in “Ow, ow, ow!” mode (I said some other stuff, too, but this is a G-rated blog). The hubster, who is suffering a nasty cold, heard my bellows of pain through his substantial cold-meds haze and came running to pour peroxide into the wound and cover it with Neosporin and a Band-Aid.

A call to the vet assured me that Tabby is up on all her shots, but they stressed the importance of a doctor visit for antibiotics as cat bites can turn nasty in a flash. They weren’t kidding.

So there was the abrupt end to my tea-sipping, bird-watching, cat-purring, blog-posting, sweet-on-The-New-Tabitha writing celebration. And instead of a heartfelt piece about how Tabby has been impacted by the loss of her sister-cat, Bailey, I’m writing about how the old bitch bit the ever-loving sh** out of my hand and sent me to the doctor for antibiotics under threat of a tetanus shot.

So, yeah, like I said. Funny how the topic of a blog post can change in an instant. See, in spite of all the purrs and affection, Tabitha aka Tabby aka The Queen aka That Damned Cat is still the most cantankerous creature in the Claro castle.

Important stuff I learned:

  1. Never interrupt a cat fight with your bare hands.
  2. Water spray-bottles are a cat owner’s friend.
  3. A tiger doesn’t change its stripes, and neither will Tabby.
  4. Tabby’s neediness and efforts to fill all the holes left by Bailey’s passing may not be for her. Maybe, just maybe, that sweet, rotten, lovable, cranky old girl is doing it for me.

Update: No tetanus shot, as I had one just six years ago, but I’m on Augmentin for two weeks and must soak my sore and swollen hand in Epsom salts for 15 minutes, then elevate for another 10 minutes, three times a day for the next five days. What a royal pain in the arse. My critique partner believes this is the Universe telling me to stop working 18 hours a day and to take a break. And I will. Right after I finish my next book.

P.S. The New Tabitha is, at the moment, purring with her head resting on the back of my hand. Ye Olde Tabby is lurking beneath the still waters of The New Tabitha and is keeping out a watchful eye for her arch enemy, Luna. Little Old Me is armed with a full spray bottle, and I know how to use it.

Have you ever suffered a serious animal bite, and if so, what were the consequences? Also, do you have any clue how to get two warring cats to co-exist without fur flying? Please leave a comment—I need all the advice I can get.

Now, off to soak the hand.

Thanks for visiting!

Lisa

26 Responses to "The Cattitude Chronicles: When Bliss Goes Awry"

  1. Comment by Sioux
    February 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm  

    Lisa–

    Since your hand is injured, your husband will have to open the wine for you. 😉

    I’ve never been bit–thankfully–even though our two senior dogs try to get a little “meat” with their evening dog biscuit, but that’s just because they can’t see. (One of them I’ve nicknamed “Snapper.”)

    I hope you DO take a little time off (a few hours? one day?) to let your hand recuperate…But then I’m a slacker and you’re a published novelist…

  2. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    February 11, 2015 at 11:06 pm  

    You’re definitely NOT a slacker. Teaching third grade is proof positive that you’re a doer! My hand is still swollen and sore, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I’ll still pass your idea along to the hubster for the wine, though. It tastes better when he pours it. 🙂

  3. Comment by buttonsmom2003
    February 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm  

    Oh my! I know it wasn’t/isn’t funny but I couldn’t help but laugh at your telling of what happened. Fortunately I haven’t been seriously bitten by an animal since I was about 5 (over 50 years ago LOL). All I can remember of that encounter was that the dog was a German Shepard and I was nervous around large dogs for many years after that. I’m still a little cautious around big dogs even though I know little ones can do quite a bit of damage when they get riled up (see next paragraph).

    My mother and sister, who lived together, each had a Yorkie and they did not get along. My mom’s dog was much older and not as large as the younger dog. Unfortunately they both wanted to be Alpha. My mother and sister broke up many fights between the two and their bodies suffered for it. They were bitten too many times to count. But, they loved their dogs and getting rid of one of them wasn’t an option. The things we do for our pets. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 12, 2015 at 3:11 pm  

      Animal bites can be serious. We tend not to think so, especially when the animal in question is our own fur-baby. But no matter how much we love and spoil them, it is always good to remember that they will react according to their nature, which is not the human persona we’re so willing to imbue them with.

      Your poor mom and sister. That must have made for rough living conditions, with two alphas in the house!

  4. Comment by utahrob
    February 12, 2015 at 7:53 am  

    Touch bit me once when we were fighting over spilled beer. Life goes on.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm  

      Well, I hope it was at least a good beer. 🙂

  5. Comment by Leigh Lee
    February 12, 2015 at 12:15 pm  

    Ahhh, yes. There was one time I remember vividly. Both C.A.T.s, (Covert Animal Terrorists) had just received rabies shots. One, the one who owned me, had a bad reaction to the shot and ran a high fever. So I decided that as a precaution, I would take both to the vet. While trying to collar my owner cat, she bit me. I drove to the vet’s office with blood running down my hand and arm. When I got there, the vet treated me first, then the two Covert Animal Terrorists I had brought with me.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm  

      Hahaha! C.A.T. I love it!

      Well, at least your kitty had a good reason to bite—she was running a fever and so wasn’t quite herself. My Tabitha, on the other hand, was just being cranky.

  6. Comment by Claudia
    February 12, 2015 at 2:17 pm  

    I’m glad you took care of this right away. A friend was bit by a kitty last fall. Admittedly it was a sick stray and she was trying to help. The end was a very sick woman as she thought it would clear up. Doctor said (when she finally went) she could have lost a finger with a few more hours of wait! Sorry you have to endure this.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm  

      You know, Claudia, I was shocked to see how fast it turned from bad to worse, and I went to the doctor within just a couple hours of the bite. Fortunately, the antibiotics and soaks are working. The swelling is almost completely gone now. Still tender, but healing.

  7. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    February 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm  

    You’ve been having a rough couple of weeks, Lisa. I was so sorry to hear about your sweet Bailey. Though Tabby sounds like she’s a handful at times, I’m sure she’s missing Bailey too — even if Tabby is the certifiable Queen at your place! When our first kitty, Scooter, died, our other two cats really missed him. They went to all his favorite spots in the house looking for him — so pitiful to see.

    When I was five, I was bitten by a dog that belonged to my parents’ friends. It was a big dog, though I don’t remember what kind, a mommy nursing her pups. I was curious and got too close, and the dog was, I’m sure, just trying to protect her young. I don’t recall a lot about it, just remember the blood and that she got me at the back of my neck. Much to my dismay, I’ve been scared of dogs ever since 🙁 though I’d really love to get over that fear. I often say as long as I don’t see teeth, I’m good!

    Hope you heal quickly and start feeling better real soon.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm  

      Oh, Theresa, what a horrible experience for you. I’ve never been bit by an animal before this—unless you count my mother’s poodle back when I was a kid, but he never really hurt me, just warned me off. And I love dogs so much I always feel sorry for people who have been given a reason to be afraid of them. Maybe you’ll meet one some day that will have the spirit necessary to change your mind.

  8. Comment by Donna Volkenannt
    February 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm  

    Losing a pet is so hard. They are like family, and everyone mourns. It sounds like Tabby is feeling sad too.

    I’ve been stung by a wasp, scratched by a cat, and nipped at by a puppy, but I’ve never suffered a serious wound like you have. I hope your hand heals soon.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 13, 2015 at 2:37 pm  

      Thanks, Donna. I think Tabby is grieving along with us.

  9. Comment by Pat
    February 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm  

    You’re right. Cat bites are not to be taken lightly. I think it’s because kitty teeth are sharp as needles and just as good at injecting some pretty nasty stuff. Hope your “owie” is sealed and healed soon!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm  

      Thanks Pat. It is quite a bit better today. The antibiotics are doing their job. 🙂

  10. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    February 13, 2015 at 7:19 am  

    Lisa, I hope you are on the mend. I once took in a stray. It bit my hand, and I ended up on antibiotics, too. It is so sad for all involved to lose a beloved fur baby. My cat is very needy these days. He can’t get close enough.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm  

      Thanks, Linda. Yes, I am. So your cat is needy? I wonder if he’s feeling a little jealous of Liam?

  11. Comment by obermoeller
    February 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm  

    Well dear friend, sorry about your hand. But also so sorry about your sweet kitty loss. My daughter and her cat moved out and I noticed my cat being more needy than normal. Luckily he has no one to fight with, but you’re right about the water spray bottle. Also, reading previous blogs, you certainly have let out the Naked Truth about human behavior. It’s kind of funny because just recently when I was a little annoyed 🙂 at my husband as he wasn’t understanding me (ha, can you imagine?) and so later in the day, he asked me to do him a favor? Sure, hon, what? He then says, talk to me the way you talk to others on the phone. I then realized how I must have sounded when I was annoyed with him. Take some time for yourself and rest!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 18, 2015 at 10:08 am  

      Thanks, Lynnie. 🙂 The hand is almost all better now, only sore to the touch. I can move it around without pain. My first thought after being bitten was, “No, no, not my hands! I need them to write!” lol Love that kitty of yours, pretty baby that he is.

  12. Comment by T'Mara Goodsell
    February 15, 2015 at 9:14 pm  

    I’m so sorry you were seriously wounded, but you sure turned it into a funny story! I was once stupid enough to play tug-of-war with a German Shepherd I didn’t know well. He choked up on the stick and accidentally caught my thumb nail in his tooth, and it shattered the nail at the quick. Hurt so much I almost passed out, and that nail took almost 6 months to grow out. Sure made me appreciate how gentle my dog was! Anyway, hope you feel better and that New Tabitha sticks around. The nice one – not the biting one.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      February 18, 2015 at 10:10 am  

      Ooh, Tammy, that had to hurt! At least the dog was playing and not being aggressive in a deliberately mean way. Still, the outcome was the same for you, and most unpleasant. Regarding my Tabitha, she’s still very snuggly and needy, and still stalking after Luna. At this point, I think they both enjoy the chase.

  13. Comment by klelange
    February 18, 2015 at 11:05 am  

    Hope you are feeling better soon! It’s funny how many life lessons we learn from pets. I’ve had cats, dogs, fish, and rabbits and they’ve all taught me something. Then we have the lessons learned from our kids’ pets, which included a tarantula and other exotic creatures. Life is rarely boring. 🙂

  14. Comment by Kathy Matthews
    February 22, 2015 at 12:01 am  

    OMG … I am so sorry! I can only imagine the pain and frustration. You are so nice to let her still sit on your lap as you write. Did you kinda name her after Stephen King’s wife? Not that she would be a biter, of course. I love the picture of Luna the Terrorist too.

    Kathy M.

  15. Comment by Kathy Matthews
    February 22, 2015 at 12:02 am  

    Oh, and Penny looks absolutely thrilled to have the snuggle company, lol!

  16. Comment by Emily
    February 22, 2015 at 6:05 pm  

    I have a calico. I love my calico. They are emotionally unstable and a tad cray cray……. so I do understand……. I just picked up the hissing, spitting little sweetie and moved her off the bed so I could change the sheets…… sigh…… she is still sitting on the desk staring at me…. and the empty, made bed. Hope your hand heals quickly…… there is even a medical code for cat bite fever…… Hugs….


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