Reflections on Lux, Sam, Chester and Mel Gibson

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heard about the cat in Oregon that terrorized his humans until they barricaded themselves into a bedroom?

In case you didn't, here's the scoop, courtesy of CNN: The male Himalayan, named Lux, is owned by a woman named Teresa Barker. (Now THAT'S funny, I don't care who you are.)

One fine day Lux attacked Barker's seven-month-old son. The baby's dad, Lee Palmer, reprimanded the cat by kicking it in the rear. Lux went loony, to the point that Mom, Dad, baby and dog fled into a bedroom and called for help.

Lux, who weighs a whopping 22 pounds, “has a history of violence,” Palmer said in his 9-1-1 call to Portland police. “He is very, very, very hostile.” A dispatcher noted that she “could hear the cat screeching in the background.”

Palmer said Lux charged every time they tried to open the door. “He's kind of a violent cat already. But he's really bad right now.”

Officers were dispatched while the 9-1-1 operator remained on the line with the family. When police entered the front door Lux went on the lam, but was cornered in the kitchen. Officers used a dog snare (oh, the humiliation) to snag the cat and put him in a crate.

“It's only funny when it's not happening to you,” Teresa Barker pointed out. Which is true of many things, not just a fat, homicidal cat.

Apparently the family still has Lux, which is crazy to me. I'm not going to feed something I'm afraid of. Don't get me wrong—I like cats. I've been owned by a few.

The first one I remember was Sam, a feral Siamese rescued by my mother. In gratitude, he clawed every member of the family except her. He sat on her feet and purred while she sewed.

Sam was a housecat, but one night he decided to stay outside—and bed down in the backseat of my father's lovingly restored 1934 Chevy. Dad got up at 4 a.m. every day for work, and was often half-asleep as he backed out of the driveway.

On this particular morning he heard a guttural yowl from the back seat, and a hairy projectile hurtled past his left ear and out the driver's side window. Dad backed over the rock garden and two azalea bushes, screaming like a girl. Then, trembling from head to foot, he marched back in the house, woke Mother and said a few pithy words.

Within 24 hours Sam had a new home with a kind spinster who did a lot of sewing.

Then came Chester, a docile gray tabby. He was so mellow he often slept on my pony's back in the sunshine. He didn't even attack our sexually-confused poodle, Jacques, when Jacques attempted to molest him. Our cool cat just backed into a corner and meowed until we dragged Jacques away. Sadly, Chester grew deaf in his dotage and wandered in front of a Greyhound bus.

My last cat, Mel Gibson, broke my heart. I was in college when I adopted him from the SPCA. He was a striking black-and-white dude who alternated between cuddly and coldly aloof, which only made me love him more.

After two years of bliss, Mel G began disappearing. He was gone for hours, then days. I searched the apartment complex and put up fliers. You know where he was? Two doors down. He left me and my dry Friskies for a 12-year-old who fed him canned cat food. I never got over it.

This explains why I now have dogs. They're more trouble than cats, but at least they're loyal.

Julie R. Smith, who may get another cat in her dotage, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.

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