"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, March 31, 2006

Psycho-cat story sweeps nation

Welcome Carnival of the Cats readers! No doubt most of you have heard about the incident featured in today's CatBlogging Friday post, but here's the scoop for anyone who may have missed it. The time: last week. The place: Fairfield, Connecticut. The story: cat wreaks havoc in neighborhood: The perp: "Lewis" (above).

The media furor began when the 5-year old black-and-white cat was placed under "house arrest" by local animal control officials after allegedly attacking several neighbors. Owner Ruth Cisero was charged with reckless endangerment after letting Lewis outdoors in violation of orders from the state attorney's office. It is believed to be the first time a restraining order has been issued against a domestic housecat.

"It was on CNN this morning. It's ridiculous," said Elizabeth Oberhand, who lives next door to the tiny tiger. "The Associated Press probably got it on the wire and everybody ate it up."

Lewis's fame (or infamy, if you will) has spread far and wide, with hundreds of TV and radio stations, web sites, and newspapers covering the story. The paper that broke the news, the Connecticut Post, received thousands of hits and e-mails from across the country. Cisero said she was deluged with 120 phone calls from media outlets last week after the story first appeared; another 80 called Wednesday, including the BBC. "Inside Edition" dispatched a crew to Cisero's home and plans to air a segment on Lewis. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" also wants the cat to appear.

Two years ago, Donna Greenstein said she was attacked by Lewis while delivering an Avon catalog. According to her husband, "She was going to a customer's house, dropping off a catalog, and out of nowhere the cat jumped her leg and wouldn't let go. He bit right through her coat, right through her stocking. She is scarred for life." The couple have sued Cisero in Superior Court, seeking more than $5,000 in damages.

Another neighbor and alleged victim, Maureen Bachtig, recently wrote a letter to the state attorney's office complaining about the cat. "Although at odds with common perception, this cat is dangerous," she states. "Unfortunately, the owner of this cat continues to be in denial of this threat to the children and adults in the neighborhood. Cats do not attack humans. There is something extremely wrong with a cat that does attack a human." Bachtig wants the cat destroyed or declawed.

Lewis does have some formidable weapons: he is polydactyl, with six toes on each foot, and his claws are long and sharp. But on Wednesday, Lewis lay quietly on a carpet by Cisero's living room window, staring at the forbidden outdoors while a photographer snapped pictures of him. He did not appear to be anything like a psychotic feline terrorist, and in fact seemed to be calmly enjoying the attention.

For her part, Cisero claims the alleged "attacks" have been exaggerated, and said she opened her house to reporters because she worried her silence might lead people to think she is "a crazy cat person."

Cisero is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on April 25. You can bet I'll post a followup.


  • At 4/03/2006 06:30:00 AM, Blogger Wild*Hen said…

    Isn't that story AWESOME!

    I love it. 'Cept folks wouldn't think it so funny if it were a dog...and that is racist. Or uh specicist? I dunno.

    I'M BAAACK Mr. Toast!!! Come check out my new digs!

  • At 4/04/2006 03:27:00 PM, Blogger srp said…

    Cats are very particular about humans. They can spot an obnoxious, mean spirited, low life a mile away. Sounds like two such creatures live near the kitty.


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