The Attack

Saturday afternoon, three o’clock. We still sit, all of us, in our family room, poking at our devices. We’ve done this for hours. All except Eli, he worked this morning. He came home at noon and went straight to bed. Everyone’s a little hungover. Last night was rough. It started with a screech or a growl or a howl.

The four of us worked in the kitchen, throwing together a late dinner. An Asian stir-fry. Beef for Eli and me, chicken for Susan and Sophie. We all wanted broccoli and onions and of course Jasmine rice. Sophie made a fish sauce to drizzle.

Those cats, Tommy really. His appetite is insatiable. We fed him an hour earlier, but he still hovered around his food bowl, making mopey eye contact with anyone who looked his way. Roz wandered past. She looked like hell. Susan and I commented on this earlier in the day. She’s lost weight, she’s limping more these past few days. Sleeping a lot. Not eating. We suspected that her long expected diabetic decline arrived. We dose her twice a day with insulin, but at some point her body will just quit trying. That’s what happened with Spooky.

Tommy attacked Roz. He does this when he’s hungry. It’s a ploy to get our attention, but it never gets him food. If Pavlov was right, Tommy should have stopped this behavior years ago. We never reward him, and someone always stomps after him, chasing him from the room. He ducks behind furniture with a puffed-up tail.

Last night’s attack was vicious. It lasted three or four seconds. That might not seem long, but the typical length is about a second and a half. Sophie ran into the next room to scare off Tommy. Things quieted down, Sophie said “Ummm…” like when someone is searching for the right words to describe something upsetting. “Ummm, Roz threw up or peed or something.” I went into the next room. A white, milky liquid splattered the hardwood floor. I stepped in it wearing only my socks.

“Oh no, something’s spilling out of Roz’s side.” Sophie pointed into the next room. More milk trailed across the floor and pooled under the weight bench. Roz sat beneath an end table with wet fur matted to her skin. Eli and I googled all night animal hospitals. The closest one in Maryland, almost an hour away.

 “I’ll go.” That was me. “But someone needs to drive me, I can’t drive at night.” I grabbed my wallet and phone while Sophie scooped out a couple of bowls of stir-fry for us to eat on the road. Susan and Eli coaxed Roz into the carrier.

Susan pulled me aside. “You might need to make some hard decisions.”

“That’s why I volunteered to go.” My lack of emotions makes those decisions easier for me than anyone else.

Roz had an abscess—a big one. A week-old injury, undetected by us, and probably inflicted by Tommy, became infected. Tommy must have torn it open when he attacked. Roz was easily treated, minor surgery, cleansing, a massive dose of antibiotics, and we were on our way. We stopped at 7-11 for ice cream bars for the ride home. I got Dibs.

Susan and Eli went to bed when Tommy was discharged. Sophie and I didn’t get home until after one o’clock. Except for Eli who left for work at dawn, we all slept deep into the morning. I woke with a headache. My addictive coffee consumption should have started hours earlier. Tommy seems shook up. He didn’t eat anything all day. This morning, he sat off to the side and watched while Roz ate from his dish.

Roz seems fine. A shaved area on her hip with two large, scabbed over gashes appears to be healing—or at least not bleeding. She’s more alert now than she’s been over the past week. That infection must have been dragging her down. Today is something of a loss for us all, humans and cats. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Photo: Roz during a relaxed moment.

17 thoughts on “The Attack

  1. Z and I have a cat sitting job to do soon for my stepdaughter. Now, you’ve probably worked out that I am always abuzz with emotions, so I don’t want any funny stuff like ‘The Attack’ happening on my watch. Pudding (that’s the cat, not Nina the stepdaughter) sometimes attacks Sugarlulu (that’s the other cat, not John, the step son in law) and I sure hope he doesn’t play up when his devoted servants are away. Mind you, Z is unflappable so why should I worry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope your pet-sitting is drama-free. I don’t think my cats would fight like that in front of a stranger. They don’t even do it when just my kids are home. It’s clearly aimed at the adults as a way to get some attention and food, but it never works. Maybe it did at first for a short period of time and they won’t let it drop.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe Tommy will finally get the point! Awww… these are cats, they do what they want to, when they want to🙄🤦🏼‍♀️
    I’m glad Roz is feeling better. Those “hard decisions” suck! I’m glad you didn’t have to make it. And ice cream is definitely deserved! Too bad Roz is diabetic, she could’ve had a lick for reward too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We Roz didn’t get any ice cream, but when we got home I fed her some of Tommy’s “good food” rather than that diabetic crap she normally has to eat. She might view his food like a bowl of ice cream.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very much an early bird (except when I’m out late trying to get my cat patched up). That weekday hour of 5AM – 6 is my favorite of the day (I know, bizarre right?). My wife can drink caffeine at any hour and sleep fine. Me? If I drink an afternoon cup of coffee I’ll be up half the night. Then sleeping late is guaranteed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cat drama: endlessly fascinating. I am glad Roz is okay. Tommy’s reaction is so interesting. He really sounds affected. I wonder what is happening there.


  4. I’m so glad Roz is okay and will heal. She must have been pretty uncomfortable with an abscess like that for her immune system to deal with. In a way, I wonder if it was a blessing that Tommy attacked her (odd thing to say, I know) because, if that hadn’t happened, Roz might have got more and more ill and, who knows, might not have made it. I’m so glad she did. How old are your cats?

    I worry about Peanut needing a vet at night, as there isn’t one I can get to, and I could hardly wake my neighbour (who hates cats anyway) and ask them to take me to one. I have a mobile vet, who comes to me now and then, but not at night. Touch wood; the problem hasn’t arisen so far. Famous last words!

    As for Tommy, perhaps, he’s suffering from a guilty conscience for attacking Roz. Is that Tommy or Roz in your photo? I have to say; I’ll always have a vision of a cat with mopey eyes and a fluffed-out tail in my mind. Peanut has a habit of sitting at my feet, staring at me with soulful eyes when she wants feeding. If I’m in the middle of writing, we have a debate – me asking her to wait for a while and her saying (under her breath/purr), who do you think is the boss in this house!? She always wins.

    I’m glad you managed to get some ice cream bars on your way home – much deserved by the sound of it. I’d never heard of dibs, so I had to Google it. I’m not sure if we have those over here – perhaps, a type of American sweet or candy, as Google told me. 🐾😺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dibs are tasty, but the serving is huge. Eli used to like to get them as a treat and it always stressed me out that he was getting too many calories. I was starving the other night and they really hit the spot. Tommy still seems to be acting funny. He’s been really quiet and he hasn’t gone after Roz a single time. I have to assume he understands what he di based on how he is acting. All has settled down in my house. No catastrophes this week (so far).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad all is quiet and calm in your house now. How is Roz doing and has she recovered from her surgery? I think, perhaps, Tommy has a guilty conscience! Perhaps, he’s seen the error of his ways! Glad you enjoyed your dibs. Have a great day, Jeff.


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