Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bit by the Devil

So, today I do not feel well, and I know exactly why.

One of our cats, appropriately named Diablo, bit me--twice--on the right wrist Monday night. Of course, it hurt pretty bad right after he attacked me; his bite, when delivered with intent, is very forceful. His teeth broke the skin in three places, and one tooth penetrated to deep muscle.

That night, it was hard to sleep because it hurt so much, and all the next day I tried to shake it off, to no avail. It just kept swelling and the infection was obviously spreading. So much so, that when I went to a long-standing dentist appointment Tuesday afternoon, he advised me to go straight to a doctor, which I did. The doctor at the minor emergency clinic told me that ninety percent of cat bites become infected, so it was almost inevitable, even if I'd cleaned the wound properly, which I had not.

I took the day off from work yesterday and though I expected to be active and not allow the injury to slow me down, in fact the infection has dragged me down further than I ever expected to go, especially considering that I got treatment fairly quickly. Last night was still a bad one, full of crazy dreams and fears, like I literally have bugs running around in my brain.

This is not the first time that Diablo has bit me, or others. He has bit us all at one point or another, and he doesn't stop with us. He regularly ambushes the other cats--especially the youngest, Peaches--who avoid him at best and are downright afraid of him at worst. In short, he is a bully. And, I think, he knows it.

I can't help wondering why he would attack me. The act was deliberate, even though the doctor was required to indicate that the attack was 'provoked' by me because I was petting him at the time. Had he crossed the room to attack me for no reason, it would be considered 'unprovoked', but to me the distinction is a false one. This cat really had no reason to bite me, especially twice, for we were not 'playing' nor was I teasing him. I sat down on the floor and he came over to let me pet him. No sooner than I touched his head, he turned over and seized my wrist with a force that would surely end the life of a small bird or rodent.

But I am not a bird or--depending on whom you ask--a rodent, so it seems to me that he had to know what he was doing. It is not enough to absolve him by say, 'Oh he didn't know what he was doing' because, I think, he did know what he was doing. It wasn't a simple scratch or warning; in fact it came without the warning I needed to protect myself.

So, I have a new way to keep from getting hurt; I will not touch him again for some time. It's his loss, really, but I haven't any choice.

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