Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
people have to go to the wilds of the woods, explore nature trails, or
go on camping trips to encounter wild animals. Around my place, we
need go no further than the back door.
Last week, two neighborhood cats were fighting in the backyard, most
likely in an undeclared territorial dispute of some sort. Instead of
taking the sensible approach of either just letting them fight, or
swatting them with a broom, my daughter tried to separate them
manually. I can only wonder if she has been brainwashed by watching
too many Garfield cartoons on television.
Needless to say, these cats didnít welcome her involvement in their
business, and a big yellow tabby bit her hand as a reward for her
unwanted intrusion. It didnít seem all that bad at the time, and she
only screamed loud enough to be heard in two or three of the
I supposed if I had known, I might have suggested something less
fierce than a domestic housecat, like a brown bear or a mountain lion,
"Why did you get involved in a catfight?"
"Little Cat doesnít have any claws and I thought the other cat
would kill her!"
Nobel thought, but foolish action. As it turns out, it was not even
our cat, but a similar cat from the neighborhood. I never thought I
would be the mother of a daughter who would disturb the balance of
nature by interfering in the process of natural selection and survival
of the fittest.
She looked up the neighbor who owned the cat to be sure it had been
vaccinated. Of course, the owner felt badly, but probably wondered
like every one else, why she became involved in a catfight. "That
cat is always giving me trouble," he declared, making us wonder
why he had never noticed that the animal is practically a small
By the next day the hand was swollen and an angry red, obviously
infected. After two trips to the doctor for antibiotic shots and
enough oral medication to shrink my pocketbook into a small change
purse, her hand looked worse than ever.
"Iím putting you in the hospital," the doctor told her, in
spite of her gripping the treatment table and begging not to go -
until he pointed to the streaks starting to go up her arm.
Who would have suspected that a domestic cat is one of the worse
possible animals to be bitten by? Their mouth contains an enzyme of
some sort that frequently creates an infection, especially on deep
puncture wounds. The saliva carries infectious bacteria with ominous
names like pasteurella and staph. And I always thought they were
sweet, purring little fur balls.
When I tell people that my daughter is in a hospital because she was
involved in a catfight, they invariably think that she was fighting
with another woman. No one seems to think of real cats, the kind with
fur and whiskers, as being capable of severe injury.
Being the tenderhearted sort, my daughter forgave the cat, which was
after all, only defending itself, she asserted. After three days in
the hospital receiving antibiotics intravenously and suffering a
considerable amount of pain, she felt a bit less generous toward her
feline friend. However, I believe she was delirious when she was
talking about making cat dumplings.
Anyhow, the swelling finally subsided, and the doctor allowed her to
come home. Our cat has no idea that my daughter was gravely injured
trying to defend her.
And so, life goes on at our house, just one thing after another.
What happened to the cat? Oh, itís still around. When I came home
from work the other day, I could scarcely believe my eyes, as the
furry culprit was back sitting on my doorstep as if he owned the
place. Iím not certain if he came over to apologize or to look for a
Tempted by maternal instincts to defend my young, Iím wondering why
he canít sense my murderous urges to turn him into a feline fur
Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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