That is one tough cat

Some time ago, I discussed the question of how dominant cats were compared to dogs and the consensus seemed to be that it depended on the cat and the dog. But now I read of a case where a 22 lb Himalayan cat in Oregon is so dominant that not only is the family dog intimidated but so is the entire family. They had to lock themselves and their dog in a room and call 911 to recue them from the cat.

The full sequence of events that resulted in this strange situation can be read here and was triggered by the father kicking the cat after the cat scratched their seven-month old baby’s forehead and drew blood after the baby had pulled the cat’s tail. So there were plenty of acts of violence all around, escalating with each retaliation.

Owner Lee Palmer told dispatchers the 4-year-old male cat “has a history of violence,” and had scratched his 7-month old son in the forehead.

Palmer said he tried to get the cat off his son: “I kicked the cat in the rear, and it has gone over the edge. He’s trying to attack us — he’s very hostile. He’s at our door; he’s charging us.”

Police arrived and managed to capture the cat with a snare. The cat is now back with the family as they ponder what to do. There have been many offers to take the cat off their hands and criticisms of the father for kicking it but for the moment they are not parting with it. They have also had offers to appear on an Animal Planet TV show called My Cat From Hell. (Talk about niche programming!)

People tend to be very reluctant to part with a pet but a cat that has scratched a baby may be one that is jealous of it. It may be hard to imagine that a domestic cat can so intimidate two adults and a dog, but a cat’s claws can be dangerous and intimidating weapons.


  1. AnotherAnonymouse says

    Something to think about–the guy admitted he kicks his cat. How badly have they abused this cat over the years? What was the baby allowed to do to the cat? Any animal that’s routinely abused can snap and lash out.

  2. badgersdaughter says

    AnotherAnonymouse #2: You are so right. One of my two cats was going to be taken to the pound because he was supposedly violent toward the other two cats in his household and didn’t get along with them. I knew the big sweetie too well to blame him for being picked on, and I took him home, where he has been a good boy and gotten along well with everyone from my other cat to Mormon kids on bicycles. 🙂

  3. badgersdaughter says

    If I wasn’t moving overseas and I needed a cat, I’d honestly offer to rehabilitate this little boy. At four he’s young enough.

  4. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    It’s not likely a seven-month old child could do much harm to a cat if they pulled its tail, or even hurt it much. On the other hand, if the cat “has a history of violence,” it shouldn’t have been near the baby.

  5. mnb0 says

    “for the moment they are not parting with it”
    I really don’t get this. After the cat attacking your 7-months son and having called 911? It doens’t matter if it’s the character of the cat or the failure of the owner. If this family and the cat haven’t passed the point of no return, then where is that point?

  6. karmacat says

    I love watching “My Cat from Hell.” Most cats will run away from babies and children. There is something about children’s voices (maybe just a higher pitch) that really worries cats. Cats generally only fight when they feel trapped.

  7. Dunc says

    There is something about children’s voices (maybe just a higher pitch) that really worries cats.

    I know exactly how they feel…

  8. AnotherAnonymouse says

    @sc_: a 7-month-old baby can do a lot of damage to a cat. 7-month-old babies can sit up and some have the strength to pull their bodies up from the floor. They can hit, they can kick, and they can bite. The man admits to kicking the cat–no doubt abusing the animal is something the child has seen its parents do.

  9. AnotherAnonymouse says

    @badgersdaughter: I’ve fostered cats (and sometimes dogs) for a local rescue group for the past 25 years. Easily a hundred cats have come through my house on their way to their forever homes, and not once have I had a problem with an aggressive cat attacking me. Any cats in my home were exposed to dogs and children (ages from birth to late teen depending on the timeframe). I’ve never had a cat attack my child–even when my kids were babies. Most cats will simply leave the area a baby’s in. A couple of the bigger cats seemed to enjoy being around babies, but I certainly never left a baby alone with an animal or allowed a baby to maul an animal.

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