Here's the Scoop: October 2, 2013

Looking for an escapse claws
From time to time, I have mentioned how our cat, Holly, is a such a big part of our family. She dominates, really, in her own quiet, feline way.
Holly has a few dog-like traits, including loyalty. Even better, she doesn’t bark or drool. And there’s no need for a pooper-scooper. I believe that I may have noted previously, Holly also enjoys watching baseball with her father. She’s a cool cat, as they say.
Some might argue (and they have been known to do so), that I tend to spoil Holly. That could be slightly true, but she’s deserving of a little extra attention. I can’t rake rocks all the time and petting the cat isn’t nearly as tiring.
I like to consider myself a relatively peaceful person. Sure, I have moments where I lose my cool, but that’s generally not my nature. I feel that calmness is a trait that Holly has learned partially from me. Along with the simple pleasure of a nap in the sun.
That’s why both Holly and I find it so troubling that a neighborhood bully cat continues to torment her. If they had kitty restraining orders, this pest cat would be a prime candidate. Pure and simple, this other cat is a stalker. I’m not even sure where the cat came from, it just sort of showed up. And won’t go away.

She gets her way
Holly, being a spoiled (in a good way) sort of pet, isn’t really used to sharing. She runs her household and is happy with the power structure. Being stalked isn’t high on her list of leisure activities. Unfortunately, the new cat on the block doesn’t seem to take Holly’s choices into consideration. The other cat stalks and doesn’t take “Go away!” for an answer. Those are my words, not Holly’s. She can’t actually talk.
So, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” as the actors were fond of saying in the classic film, “Cool Hand Luke.” Because Holly doesn’t possess great vocal skills, beyond a raspy sound that translates into, “Hey, dad, I haven’t had tuna fish in days!” I am left to shout warnings at the intruding cat during its daily visits to torment our kitty.
One evening last week, we returned home to a familiar scene: Holly and Unwelcome Guest Cat in a standoff, staring each other down. Despite her mellow demeanor, Holly has suffered enough defense wounds over the years to learn that the vet’s office isn’t a trip she cares to repeat very often.

Double-whammy
Not only am I squeamish when faced with a bloody cat, I really get choked up over paying the vet’s bill, so I try to minimize these cat fights, as they are commonly known.
Moving over to Holly, I scooped her off the railing and whisked her to safety. Wanting to reinforce my dislike for Unwelcome Guest Cat, I then opted for a parting shout: “Get out of here!” I bellowed. This was a mistake.
The yelling part was fine, but the fact that Holly was in my arms during my loud warning was a judgment error on my part. In cat-speak, my hollering freaked out Holly. Startled, she let out a roar seldom heard outside a zoo. Her claws were flying like a hummingbird flapping its wings. Now, it was my turn to bleed.
Shocked by this sudden turn of events, I stumbled into the house and clutched at the area on the front of my head formerly known as my face. I knew I had been hit by claws several times, but I wasn’t sure of the extent of the damage. As it turns out, on a paper towel cleanup scale of 1 to 5, this episode rated a three.
I certainly didn’t blame Holly for slashing at me after I frightened her. We have since made up, but in our first real spat, the score was: Holly: One. Me: Ow.
— Brian Sweeney