Chairman Mao has had his 3rd serious psychotic episode. I'm not referring to a hiss, a firm bite to indicate annoyance or any of the like. I mean a 100% flip so that when you look into his eyes you see a blank sea of inexplicable fear and hatred. Until he flips back. It's like a switch.
It's not fun, it's not acceptable and it's not going to be tolerated when there's a toddler around. Which is deeply depressing, but non-negotiable.
The first time was when Minh-Minh, his half sibling, came on board. He really was a nut, for a couple of days, before becoming an apprehensive but vaguely sane creature and adapting soon after. Because I'd read that that's what cats do I accepted it, but was apprehensive. You'd have to see it to know the extent of the contrast, the flip.
The second was the last time we put him, with Minh, in the cattery, where previously he'd adjusted well and been loved by all the attendants. He did the flip again, and no-one could go near him until we arrived to take him out.
When we next holidayed we got a cat sitter. I hoped that was the last time we'd see it.
Today he did what he does quite often: jump the fence to explore the 2nd garden, then wander under the house. Usually you wait 10 minutes at most and he wanders back out, and when you grab him at first opportunity he might struggle to get away and keep 'playing' but he takes it all with fairly good humour.
But this time he spent an hour. Though he'd been in a good mood beforehand, as far as I could tell, he stayed under there glaring at me, and hissed when I showed him Minh. Hissing at her is a good sign he's flipping I think, because usually he defers to her and is affectionate.
When he eventually wandered out, looking quiet and benign, I reached down and grabbed him- pretty lightly- and he absolutely flipped. I couldn't control him properly because my other hand was holding her leash and when she saw him flip she panicked and started jumping around as well.
I made a split second decision that if I let go of him while he was flipping he'd potentially disappear for days so I held onto both of them while trying to wriggle back through the front door.
He absolutely gave it to my hand and wrist, big, deep bites that bled all over the ground and the walls in the house. When I had her in the door and could use my other hand I got him under control but not before he put a good couple of toothmarks in that hand and wrist as well.
He copped a slap far less than he deserved and is currently locked in the laundry until he cools. Minh keeps wanting to know what's going on but if she gets close while he's nuts he'll just put holes in her.
I guess all pets are wild animals, but perhaps the difference between those that genuinely adapt to domestic life and those that can't is the threshold it takes to snap them into pure, psychotic violence against the hand that feeds them.
I don't think he'd last long as an outside cat but we are going to have to do some thinking. I've already heard a number of sad tales of pets who couldn't handle newer additions to the family. I don't want us to join that, but there really is no room to move in the order of priorities.
Depressing. But the hands that feed are currently bandaged and bleeding, and I'm off to the doctor to discuss tetanus shots tomorrow. This will NOT happen again.
UPDATE: By late eve he was sheepish but sociable. Completely calm (4 hours in the laundry did the trick apparently). This morning jumped up for a nuzzle. I reluctantly let him, and his eyes closed with that adoring look he gives when he's handing out the love.
It was, as I suspected, a psychotic episode rather than some ongoing malaise. A slight wariness is all he displays to show that he's got any memory at all of the incident. Meanwhile, I'm off to the doctor.
On a slightly more comical level, apparently my mother got a full earful of everything. She'd called just before he came out, insisted on talking to beloved who'd just arrived home, leaving me with a cat in each hand when it was action time. However for her recalcitrance she got to hear the cat screaming like a banshee and me shouting "fucking c..[not cat]" at the top of my lungs.
I'm pretty loud. She might agree to call back later next time there's a crisis.
Bright as a button - No idea where that saying comes from but that's what the old girl was like today. My sister was astounded. I was astounded that my sister went back for a ...
6 hours ago