Wednesday, February 11, 2009


People who own cats get scratched on occasion. Sometimes it happens inadvertently, such as when a cat is sitting in your lap and is startled; the cat may leap off your lap with a push of his rear feet, leaving scratches on the top of your legs. Other times a kitten will try to climb up your body as if you were a tree or a couch, and those scratches smart! But cats don't do these things out of meanness. Being scratched is part and parcel of being a cat owner.

Now if you don't laugh, I'll tell you how I got my most unusual cat scratch without my cat ever knowing he did it.

As most of you know by now, Tigger, who died earlier this year, was a real part of our family and we always tried to accommodate him in many, many ways. He was crazy about spiders and if he saw one on a wall, he'd jump and swat at it, and if he was lucky enough to knock it off the wall, he had a wonderful time harassing it. (Needless to say, the spider never won).

One evening while I was finishing up in the kitchen I saw Tigs leap up on top the microwave, which was sitting on a cabinet next to a short wall between our kitchen and dining room. He was stretched out his full length up the wall, going after a spider that was nonchalantly sitting out of his reach. I said to him, "Tigs, do you want that spider?" and of course he said he wanted it in the worst way. So I walked over to him, grabbed him with one hand under his behind and the other on his chest and lifted him up over my head and against the wall so he could reach the spider.

(I know, I know!)

I was trying to watch what was going on, but as his body was quite substantial, I couldn't see behind him very well. Suddenly I caught sight of the spider plummeting down toward me and I quickly stepped back. Tigger, in the meantime was bound and determined to follow the spider down, and in the ensuing confusion, Tigger's back claw got hooked on the nose-piece of my eyeglasses and his weight caused the glasses to cascade down my nose. And all this caused one back claw, the most wicked of all a cat's claws, to lay a scratch from my bridge of my nose to the tip, at which point the glasses flew off to the carpet, the cat thudded to the floor, the spider scuttled behind the cabinet, and I ran pell-mell into the bathroom to see what on earth my nose looked like.

I was sure it was flayed open as if a dull surgical scalpel had been laid to it. It wasn't, but I really did have a substantial scratch. I grabbed the peroxide, drenched a bunch of cotton balls with it and laid them on my poor schnoz. After a suitable time, I slathered Polysporin on the long scratch -- and then went into the den to show Jerry what had happened.

I didn't get a lot of sympathy from him, as he was never as much into babying the cat as I was. All I could think about was how I was going to explain my poor nose at work the next day. Once the nose stopped smarting, I began to see the humor in this episode and by the next day, I felt I could get a lot of mileage by telling the truth. Sure enough, everywhere I went I was the center of attention. Luckily, those people knew me and my fondness for old Tigger (who actually wasn't so old then) and the cat people understood. The others just thought I was crazy, I suppose.

To this day, every morning when I stand in front of the mirror and put makeup on, I am reminded by that long white scar going down my nose of the day both the cat and I lost, and the spider won.


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