I received the most unusual and unexpected gift last week from someone I’ve never met. She knows me from the work I do with feral cats and is a friend of a friend. So why did she give me a gift? Be patient, I’m getting there…
In this line of work, meaning TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), I meet some interesting folks. Let’s just say not all of them particularly like cats. Some downright hate ’em. But then not everyone is perfect, right? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying if you don’t like cats you’re a sociopath. But my guess is you’re probably close.
Anyway, my friend was telling this gift-giving person about my encounters with these as- yet-undiagnosed sociopaths. They’re the characters who not only make this work interesting, unpredictable and a little bit scary, but have taught me I should learn self defense. Like yesterday already. I’ve intended to take classes for about 10 years now but have I done it? Intended is the operative word there.
I happen to be 5’3″ on a tall day and have the upper body strength of a cricket. In case you were wondering, those insects have extremely weenie arms. Like mine, they’re essentially useless. So the thought of me being able to defend myself against a cat-hating man would be rather comical, don’t you think?
Lest you wonder the type of humans I sometimes encounter since I trap mostly at dusk and into the night, here’s a sampling of my nightly entertainment in the cat rescue business:
- A mentally ill homeless man living along a creek didn’t take too kindly to us trap-training a lost cat, thinking we were trying to kill it. So he smashed our trap like a piñata then wrote me a threatening letter basically warning me to be looking over my shoulder. I turned it over to the police and later learned he had been arrested for threatening a cop and possession of a firearm. Gulp.
- I once confronted a man who poisoned some of our colony cats when I suddenly realized something: the jackass had the upper hand being a foot taller, 80 lbs. heavier and 20 years younger. (Not to mention a whole lot meaner.) That’s when it dawned on me I need protection. A police whistle on my keychain was my solution. And a rather sorry one at that.
- I was threatened by a very large, loud woman who could have tossed me like a Frisbee but instead screamed for her hubby Leroy to come “BEAT HER ASS!” Luckily I’m quicker than I look and high-tailed it to my car before Leroy. I then promptly got the hell out of Dodge, or in this case, Novato. After that I bought pepper spray. But I always forget it in my glove compartment.
- In a previous post I mentioned trapping in a dicey part of Oakland. I was told by the homeowner to be careful of her neighbor whose yard I had to cut through to get to hers because, “He will jump you,” Lucky for me he wasn’t home because I forgot my pepper spray again.
Yep, I’ve been in some precarious situations these past 11 years. Which brings me to last week when I was given that unusual gift. You thought I forgot, didn’t ya? Anyway, it was a stun gun, better known as a taser. Can you imagine? The gift-giving stranger obviously isn’t aware of my ineptitude, nor my forgetfulness.
Therefore, the gift sits in a box in my garage where it won’t hurt a potential attacker but more importantly, render yours truly unconscious should I ever actually remember to carry it with me.