It's spring. Honest-to-God, grass-greening-up spring. Warmer air, buds on the trees and... cats. The cats are outside once more. Lazing on sidewalks in sunbeams, trotting up to you when you "puss-puss-pussssss...", rolling around on their backs, begging for a tummy rub.
There I am, walking back from the bank - I'd already had my cat fix twice on the way there. Stooping to pet a tabby and some sort of Maine Coon mix. I am a pretty happy kitten myself as I walk home. Whisting off-tune, I spy the same Maine Coon cat on the other side of the street. Maybe I can get a double dose of kitty love.
"Hey sweetie..." He saunters over to me and "prrrrrrrrowls" his enjoyment as I scritch him behind his ears. Poor beast is matted beyond belief. He has a couple of shaved spots where his owner has attempted to rid him of the worst of them. He rolls on his back and I rub his tummy (just the way Steve likes it).
When a cat bites you? Really bites you? They really give no warning. One minute I'm rubbing his tummy the next I have two massive teeth marks in the heel of my hand. Maybe he didn't break the skin... It was probably just... Nope, there's actually torn skin... and blood. I'm bleeding.
Oh crap! Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! David is going to kill me if I have to get rabies shots again. Shit. Oh shit. The cat doesn't have a tag. He's wandering the neighbourhood - I have no idea where he lives. The cat is winding around my legs and 'prrrrrowling' at me. I absent-mindedly reach down to scratch him... maybe if I don't rub his tummy... will I NEVER learn? I take a breath. I look at him. He's not rabid. He doesn't look rabid. Plus, somebody shaved him, he must belong to someone and if he belongs to someone, they probably got him his shots. Right?
I'm formulating my excuses as I walk home. I sneak in the house - maybe David's not downstairs. I go over to the sink and rinse out the punctures. Still bleeding a bit.
"Could you go upstairs?" I lower my voice. "Up in the white cabinet in one of the cubbies is some hydrogen peroxide..."
"WHAT DID YOU DO!?!"
"Shhhhhhh.... nothing. Nothing's wrong. I just need some..."
"Daddy! Mummy's injured herself again!"
David comes into the room. "What did you do?"
"Nothing!" I hide my hand behind me.
He raised his eyebrows and gives me the look.
I roll my eyes and present my hand. "I'm sure he wasn't rabid. He was shaved in spots - that means he has someone who shaves him!"
David takes a breath to berate me and then closes his mouth. He knows there's no point. He knows that I will never give up touching stray cats. It will never happen.
"Rinse with the peroxide."
"If you start foaming at the mouth, I'm putting you down myself."