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Cat Attacks

Cat Attacks

by Michael
(London, UK)

Mind out ...its a cat attack. Photo by aylaujp (Flickr)

There is a story circulating in England that a 19 year geriatric cat who sleeps all the time, gets up to attack postmen and then returns to his bed! Three postman have suffered 'nasty injuries'. What for heavens sake is a nasty injury in this context? Maybe someone thought of cat scratch disease as a possibility.

As a result the glorious Royal Mail, that is no longer very royal in the level of its service, has decided to suspend deliveries to the owner of this cat, who by the way is called Tiger. Go get 'em Tiger!

Maybe Tiger is doing what we want to do because the standard of service of the so called Royal Mail has declined to almost unusable levels on occasions.

However, when did anyone suffer a nasty injury from an attacking domestic cat, particularly one that is 93 years of age by our standards?

If a cat is aggressive towards a postman there is a warning. Domestic cats don't stalk and pounce on humans as prey as we are a little outside their size range.

Given that an attack from a domestic cat is predictable it is fairly easy to avoid it. The first point that comes to mind is to present a friendly demeanor. Tiger is being defensive. If we present friendly body language and a calm voice that may do the trick.

If it doesn't we can always out psyche a cat. It is a bit like Sumo wrestling. If we watch cats fighting over territory there is a long period of Sumo style posturing. This is intended to avoid a fight and inevitable damage of some sort. It is about survival at a basic level.

A stray cat comes around to where I live and Charlie being territorial wants to fight with him. I want to avoid a fight as it might lead to Charlie getting hurt so I join in! I just play the cat game and out psyche the cat and out hiss him! We have a massive size advantage so a domestic cat will always back off.

Once domination has been established, the domestic cat will not bother to the same level unless desperate in my experience.

What I am saying is that the postman could have stood his ground and used common sense in out maneuvering the cat without being physically aggressive. It may well be that one of the three postmen who were so horribly injured (mauled even!) had been aggressive to the cat provoking a response.

The bottom line is that we can cope with an old domestic cat that is acting instinctively. The Royal Mail should continue to deliver. Perhaps the Royal Mail should run training courses on how to deal with cats and dogs as it must be fairly common for postmen to meet companion animals.

That said the cat's owner could have done something herself surely? She could keep Tiger in during the usual delivery times. Or watch what has happened and look for a suitable solution.

I just don't see a successful domestic cat attack on an adult man as a viable scenario. Something silly is going on.

Cat attack - See original Flickr photo

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Cat Attacks

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Apr 23, 2010
You'd be surprised
by: Anonymous

Many of you laugh at the idea of "nasty" cat injuries but it can happen. My cat has attacked myself and my husband without being provoked. One time she heard a noise and ran in and went after my husband. After many brutal bites and scratches he managed to back out of the room an shut the door blocking the cat out. His jeans were torn and he was left with 4 2 inch gashes and many deep punctures (the scars still show two years later). One person simply said to outsmart the cat or stop it. When an animal is crazed and quickly and repeatedly lunging it is not possible to simply get it to calm down. Even though we humans can outsmart a cat (as my husband did by moving and closing the door) we may still be left with very painful wounds.

Apr 20, 2010
Irresponsible Human reply
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I fully understand your post, Anonymous; however, it would have been given more credence had you the courage to sign your name rather than be 'anonymous.'

Although this particular story, I believe, has been blown up out of proportion by the media and the postal service, the fact of the matter is as I've already stated, if the homeowners have an issue with the post being slipped through the slot, why not install a free-standing mailbox on a post in the ground or on the fence and avoid the entire situation?

Apr 17, 2010
Irresponsible human
by: Anonymous

Hmm. I love cats and have had plenty and still do, but have met some who were unpredictable, angry cats. It's not always from abuse or lack of socialisation, I know some cats who've had no trauma in their lives and just are very territorial. They are not common, but the exception to the rule.
It should not be up to anyone doing their job, who may not understand cats, to have to change their behaviour to avoid INJURY, no matter how minor the injury may SEEM to you.
If you get scratched and get an infection, this may not be so minor, particuarly if you have pre-existing health problems. What if you get scratches in the same part of your body every day or so? You won't have healed from the last time and it's a cumulative effect.
If an inanimate object, such as a gate was causing someone doing their job to suffer minor cuts on a daily basis, you would not say the householder should not have to fix it. This is the very definition of negligence, knowing about a situation which is causing injury and doing nothing about it.
It is up to the cat's "owner" to be responsible. If your cat doesn't get along well with the mailman, the mail usually comes at a fairly consistent time, keep the cat confined at that time. Simple.
Why believe one cat owner with a vested interest in saying the cat is harmless over 3 different postal workers who have no reason to care about a cat? Yes, it may be an old cat. I have known an 18 year old cat which could still use her claws, senile though she was. Let's assume for a moment that the 3 mailmen are not lying or exaggerating and the cat is attacking them for whatever reason, perhaps it is territorial and does not like them putting anything in the mail flap. Perhaps they smell like the numerous dogs they would meet on their route. There is nothing the mailmen can do about this and even if there were, this should not be their responsibility. If it were a dog, would you say it's their fault and they should change or would you say the owner should take responsibility? There is a simple practical solution (keep cat confined when mail is due).
Demonising people doing their jobs by accusing them of being "soft" or exaggerating their injuries is no way to endear cat owners to non-cat owners or improve cats' image in the non-cat owning community.
Let's encourage responsibility, not implicitly condone irresponsibility.

Apr 15, 2010
It's gone too far
by: Ruth

I know exactly what you mean Michael.Not only that but it's the 'I'll sue' and 'I've got rights' culture too. Going off the subject of cats to children.My sister and I saw a little girl fall off her bike,naturally we ran to see if she was OK.She looked terrified of us as did the girl with her.Obviously saw us as a threat.I think anyone's first instinct would be to help a child up and give her a cuddle but if one of us had done that we could have been accused of innapropriately touching a child.Thankfully she was OK and both girls went off on their bikes.
But what is the world coming to when 2 mature ladies have to be worried about all the daft laws and rules there are now and could end up in trouble for helping someone's child !

Apr 14, 2010
Nasty Injuries
by: Michael

I would love to see what they consider to be 'nasty injuries'. I think the problem is that we in Britain have gone soft. We are part of a nanny state and we expect things to be done for us. Then there is the ever present 'health and safety'. Everything we do is governed by H&S. Then there is PC - political correctness. We are risk averse. We have lost our greatness..:)

Apr 13, 2010

I never knew of a 19 year old cat that could move that fast. Im sure the postman could have gotten out of harms way if he tried. I knew a 19 year old cat at a house that I used to do housework for the owner. She loved to sit on the counter and watch me do dishes or anything. When she passed I cried for days. I still have her picture on my mirror. She was a lovely old cat who wouldnt harm anything. Im sure if this cat was in that good of shape, cudos to the owner who has a 19 year old cat in this good of shape. What kind of diet did they have it on??

Apr 12, 2010
by: Jeff

Haha, funny article...It is def a dog attacking the mailman. No way can a 19 year old cat do damage and tear through a persons clothes.

Apr 12, 2010
No way Tiger!
by: Tracey

I've just seen him, no way could he inflict serious injuries! he really is just a Pussycat!

The Post office really ought to re-consider on this one!

Apr 12, 2010
Don't Use the Cat Flap!
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I just laughed out loud here in the office after watching the BBC clip with "Tiger" and his companion...what a bunch of silly buggers!

It sounded as if the postal carrier, at one time, put mail through the cat flap rather than the postal flap. If that's the case, no wonder Tiger got upset.

If that is not the case, all the postal carriers had to do, like Michael mentioned, is out-hiss the cat very loudly, stand your ground...but NEVER turn your back. I found that out the hard way.

My brother's cat, Midget, is this small, wiry, 15-yr cat with a sour disposition. He doesn't like to be held, for whatever reason. Even after feeding him, you may pet him once or twice, then leave him alone. Otherwise, he'll his, growl, then pounce with very sharp teeth. Who knows why? He's just ornery. Speaking softly still doesn't do it.

Some cats are just like that; however, once you know that, don't keep trying to change the cat's mind. Seems to me that, after the 1st go around, the postal people should've known better than to get close to the cat. I would also wonder why the human doesn't just put a free-standing mailbox at the gate entry, rather than depending on the letter slot in the door? Wouldn't that solve the problem?

Apr 11, 2010
Thanks Finn
by: Dorothy

I watchd it. I still can't believe it. Tiger is still beautiful. What a strange story.


Apr 11, 2010
Cat Attacks
by: Finn frode, Denmark

It's a cat alright. If you Google 'Leeds postal workers boycott house over cat attacks' you'll find the BBC news clip. The 93 year old looks quite peaceful - all he wants is to stay in the safety of his transport box... 😉

Apr 11, 2010
Sounds odd....
by: Dorothy

I think the postman needs glasses. It was probably a Chihuahua biting at his ankles.


Apr 11, 2010
What cowards
by: Ruth

That is just ridiculous, as if a 19 year old cat could do much harm ! I don't suppose the poor creature has many teeth left nor the strength to scratch through a postman's clothing.
Maybe one postman has hurt the cat at some time and the cat remembers the uniform as cats never forget abuse, and a cat will attack if on the defensive.
But not enough to do that much harm.
Now the Royal Mail has built it up out of all proportion. What a cowardly lot !
Like you Michael, if our boys get into a confrontation with another cat I go out too and the stranger usually backs off.
Our neighbourhood cats politics are established though so we don't get many cats around our gardens who don't actually live here and don't know their place in the feline hierarchy.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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