Saturday, 23 March 2013

Neighbourhood Power Struggles and My Apparently 'Killer' Cat - Adrienne's Suburban Chronicles: part I

This dopey fellow down below is one of my cats:

His name is Oscar, he's like, I unno, 4? He's a purebred Bengal, scared of everything, and adorably kinda slow. He is also a giant. He was the biggest Bengal the breeders had ever seen, and he's about twice the size of our other Bengal, who's the same age and his half-sister, Rosie. She is pictured below. Cuuuuute.
So Oscar, right? He pretty much defines scaredy cat. If he hears a car in our street and is somewhere 'vulnerable' (anywhere other than already hiding under the stairs/anywhere he's not currently sleeping) he freezes, and if someone (God forbid) actually ENTERS THE HOUSE, he is a blur as he runs to hide under the aforementioned stairs.
Oscar is also the biggest sweetie. Yeah, he's kind of like Seth Rogen in any Seth Rogen movie (your friendly neighbourhood stoner - though obviously we don't actually give our cat drugs, I can just imagine him being the kind of guy who's 25 and spends a disproportionately large amount of his time staring at a lava lamp), but he also loves teh cuddlez and patz.
Now, Oscar and Rosie have always been indoor cats. I don't know precisely why, though I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that our previous cat, Biggles, had always been allowed outside and had been bitten by a brown snake twice and eventually ran away. But Bengals are known to be quite active cats, and whether it's because of that or something else, Oscar was quite stressed in our house. He would go through periods where he would pee on at least 3 beds/chairs every week, to the point where my dad and stepmum considered getting rid of him (I assume 'selling him' get rid of him, not 'hit him in the head with a shovel' get rid of him). This is an option I could not and would not ever consider, and though it was made clear to me that I had absolutely no say in this, they decided that they would trial letting him and Rosie outside. If this didn't work, Oscar would be a goner.
So a few months ago, Oscar and Rosie were released into the (not very) wild lands of our backyard, and allowed to finally roam free among the grasses and drink from our very chlorinated pool. Yay, right?
And it was a yay! Oscar stopped peeing on stuff that wasn't intended for peeing. SCORE! He seemed happier and seriously loves the outside. SCORE! Rosie, well, she doesn't really care about outside but at least she has the option. SCORE! Oscar started beating up another neighbourhood cat. SCOR- wait.
About a month or two ago, Oscar came home with his belly sorta kinda ripped open. Later, a guy from the house directly behind ours came knocking at our door. Our cat had done $2000 (!) worth of damage to his cat. He wanted us to pay. We said no.
Oscar gets along well with Rosie, and with the other cats and dogs in the neighbourhood. Except this cat. I haven't seen this cat personally, but apparently it's pretty small and as mentioned, Oscar could cosplay as Godzilla. The $2000 worth of damage to The Other Cat was followed by another $1000 worth of damage, and then more. I don't know how much, exactly. I think there have probably been about 5 serious fights. After the second, we made an agreement with the guy who owns The Other Cat that we'd bring Oscar in at 4pm and they could let their cat out. This is kind of hard to do, because cats, amirite? They're not known for their immediate response to their owner's call. But we do try.
It hasn't really worked. Last night, they got into another fight. I should mention, Oscar hasn't come out of these unscathed, though he's doing a lot better than The Other Cat. He's had the initial belly-rip-open, a hole through his ear, been very shaken up, and countless other scratches. Obviously, this doesn't really compare to internal bleeding and broken ribs, but still. Worth mentioning.
The Other Cat owner wants to report Oscar as a nuisance. This afternoon, my dad spoke to Mrs Cat Owner, and she called Oscar a 'killer cat', which like - OK, he's messed up your cat real bad but it's not dead?
I feel bad for their cat. I really do. And I feel bad for them. It must be awful having your cat come home of an evening, and be bleeding everywhere or whatever and be in so much pain, and taking it to the vet and not knowing if The Other Cat is going to be OK or if the $3000 you've spent in vet bills for the last 2 months was for nothing. I can't even really imagine how awful, and what I'm imaging feels pretty awful.
But also, it's not necessarily Oscar's fault. While he clearly ends up winning the fights, there's no evidence of who starts them. While you'd think The Other Cat would have learnt by now to maybe stay away from this giant omen of terror [see above image], I also know that Oscar is a complete wuss. And I don't mean just with people. He's scared of Rosie, and she's half his size.
So now Mr and Mrs Cat Owner are threatening us and Oscar, and I'm worried one day he just won't come home, while there will be a freshly dug and covered hole in Mr and Mrs Cat Owner's yard. Because while I can understand how awful it is, I don't blame either cat. They're being cats. Yeah, it's terrible that my cat doing so much damage to your cat, but just because my cats wins, doesn't inherently mean it's his fault. And I don't want their cat to die just as much as I don't want Oscar to die. But they seem to see Oscar as this vicious villian who's a plague to (cat) society and should be treated like someone wearing a turban at an American airport. (I don't know if that's actually an accurate stereotype, but that's how mainstream media depicts American airports. I personally have never seen a turban wearer at an American airport, and nor have I seen an American airport treat someone differently because of a stereotyped identifier like a turban. I am also not saying that if you wear a turban you are or should be treated differently by American airports. Or their staff. FYI.)
Currently, Mr and Mrs Cat Owner are just fighting for their cat to have more time outside, which should be fine, as long as Oscar being inside more doesn't make him a stressed out Pee Machine again.
In conclusion, I want no dead cats, no injured cats, and happy times all around. I feel like that may be an unrealistic hope. And just because Oscar wins, doesn't mean he started it. If the tables were turned, would Mr and Mrs Probably Very Nice But Due to Their Attitude Seem Basically Awful pay for Oscar?

Just for a sense of completion, here are my other pets. They have no criminal record. Yet.
Cch Pounder