Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Not To Play With A Cat

Zena, our youngest cat, is at that "playful but predatory" stage. This means that all the ankles in the house are to be stalked and pounced upon at any time, without warning. Zena is also a jumper, so elbows are also considered to be likely prey. Actually, anything that is moving is considered to be prey to this cat. My older cats don't do this. They never did. I'm not used to being pounced on by things with claws.

I had the bright idea that if I played with Zena, maybe she wouldn't be so eager to pounce on everything. I couldn't find any of the toy mice we had for her. So I sat on the floor, placed my hand on the carpet and moved my hand back and forth quickly.

Zena's eyes locked on my hand with laser precision. She put her head down and her butt in the air. Her head moved with the motion of my hand. Her back legs did a little two-step, and then she was airborne. She landed on my hand and immediately started to bite me as she gripped my hand with her front paws. And claws.

That was when I remembered that you aren't supposed to DO what I was doing, because it teaches the cat to bite hands that might want to pet instead of be clawed. I bought all kinds of books when I acquired my first cat, Isobel. That was over ten years ago, and I've slept since then. But it was too late. Zena's back paws were digging into my palm and her front claws were digging into the top of my hand and she had my index finger in a death grip with her teeth.


I was feeling like an idiot and hoping that I don't drip blood on the carpet. I remembered that you aren't supposed to pull away when a cat has their claws in you, because that makes any injuries worse. I did try to get Zena to loosen her grip, but that just seemed to make her dig in deeper.

So I sat there and was as still as I could be in spite of the pain, but Zena determined that my hand was not dead for several more minutes. Finally, she was satisfied that my hand had been vanquished, and she released me and loped off. Only a couple of the puncture wounds were bleeding, so I cleaned them as best I could, and we all went about our day. I felt very stupid about the whole episode.

Zena just took a nap. Cats are cool like that.


  1. I love cats! Their nonchalance is hilarious. Our cat seems to think she's a wild tiger on the Serengeti and she stalks butterflies and bees. Someone should tell her XXX

  2. Ouch! We had a cat that went through this phase..she would climb up curtains and then pounce on us as we walked by. I still have Post Traumatic Stress from that cat.

  3. Hi! I once tried to take the bubble gum out of my mom's dog and have the scar to prove it. I am a new follower from Follow Friday hop! So glad I found your blog! Please stop by to say hi & return follow! :)

  4. I once practised my cat-whispering skills on a neighbour's cat. All went well until without warning it turned to the dark side and attacked my hand! I found out later it had been born feral ... At least I had an original excuse for my absence from work the next day!!


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