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March 16, 2014
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Publisher's Notebook: What happens when an infant pulls a cat's tail?

I know we’re no longer supposed to act like men. I read recently where we are becoming more feminine and that it was a good thing because it allows us to cry during “Sleepless in Seattle” and laugh when we see cute squirrel videos on YouTube.

It’s hard being a man and America’s hope is that we all wake up one Sunday morning and decide to do our nails.

“Hey, Jeff. What’s up?”

“Not much. Just doing my nails.”

“Want to watch Oprah on Netflix?”

“Sure. See you in a few. Maybe we could scrapbook?”

The emasculation of American Man is nearly complete and for proof we need look no further than Portland, where a man was unable to protect his family from the family cat.

I know — it’s Portland and what do you expect?

Besides, the cat that kicked the entire family’s butt (including the family dog) was no ordinary cat. It weighed 22 pounds.

According to reports, here’s what happened:

A young couple and their dog were enjoying a Sunday evening at home with their 8-month-old baby when the 22-pound cat decided to teach the 8-month-old baby a lesson in tail pulling.

Cats don’t like their tails pulled by anyone, let alone an 8-month-old. And if you’re a cat that outweighs the baby by 10 pounds, you like it even less.

So the cat gave the baby a couple of good swipes to the head and that’s when all hell broke loose.

According to news reports — the cat butt-kicking went viral — the dad gave the cat a quick kick and the cat went off, chasing the man, his girlfriend, baby and family dog (a Pomeranian named Smokey) into a bedroom, where they sought shelter from the rampaging kitty.

The dad tried calling animal control, but got no response, so he dialed 911.

Let’s stop right there.

What would have happened if there was no 911 option and the dad had to, I don’t know, deal with the cat himself. There was a time in America’s history when part of the job of being a dad was protecting your family. They still kind of do that in places like Alaska, only it’s giant grizzly bears knocking on the door and not fat kitty cats.

Imagine heading to a Fairbanks tavern after that episode.

“I’m still shaking.”

“What happened?”

“Had to call the cops on my cat. He beat the heck out of my 8-month-old son and chased us all into the bedroom where we stayed until the cops came.”

“Wow. That must have been scary.”

“It was. I’m still not over it and should probably see a therapist Monday.”

Anyway, the dad told the police dispatcher the cat had scratched the baby and was trying to claw through the door to get them.

“We’re not safe around the cat. We’re trapped in the bedroom. He won’t let us out the door!”

The dad told the police dispatcher if he left the bedroom he’d have to fight the cat.

Now I know Portland isn’t the largest city in the world, but I’m pretty sure the cops have their hands full with … I don’t know … robbers and gropers and thugs and things far more dangerous than a house cat which has obviously gone off the deep end.

And, for the record, I have a crazy cat myself and am pretty sure most cats are borderline insane.

There’s a great chance the family could have waited the cat out. Cats are also easily distracted, so it would have been just a matter of time before the 22-pound cat mellowed out, maybe wandered over to go potty in a shoe. Cats are vindictive buggers and will pee in your shoe all day if they don’t like you.

It’s also possible the cat would have gotten hungry. He didn’t get to 22 pounds by eating yogurt.

Or, dad could have grabbed a blanket and tossed it on the cat, or maybe smacked it with a pillow. There are a lot of things in a bedroom you could use to fight a cat, if it came to blows.

I have something in my bedroom that would calm a cat down permanently, which is probably how they handle similar situations in Alaska, or places where men are still permitted to grunt and eat with their fingers.

Unfortunately, this story gets worse.

After the cops came and stuck the fat cat into a crate, freeing the family from the bedroom, the dad started to feel a little guilty.

“I should not have kicked him, which I did barefoot and not even hard, but I don’t believe in hitting animals,” the dad told one reporter.

That came after PETA (People For Ethical Treatment of Animals) suggested the family should have used positive reinforcement to discourage the 22-pound cat from kicking the baby’s behind.

“Hey, you fat kitty. If you get your claws out of our new baby’s head we’ll take you to the movies.”

There was no response from PETI (People for Ethical Treatment of Infants) because it doesn’t exist and nobody could understand what the 8-month-old baby was saying.

The baby might have been encouraging his dad to grow a set. “Act like a man, you big sissy!”

One article said a pet psychologist had apparently been called in to counsel the cat.

“How did this make you feel?”


“Close your eyes and imagine a happy place. Next time the baby pulls your tail, go to that happy place.”

Smokey, the Pomeranian dog, may also need some counseling. He sounds almost as conflicted as the dad.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or

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The News-Review Updated Mar 16, 2014 12:04AM Published Mar 16, 2014 12:04AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.