Woody: Cat strikes blow for fearless pets



Somehow, “Snowball to the rescue!” doesn’t exactly resonate with drama and excitement, but that’s what happened recently in Bakersfield, California.

A vicious dog attacked a kid on his bike and was in the process of mauling him when the family cat, Tara, came racing in to save him.

The cat smacked into the dog -- five times his size -- driving the mutt off the kid and sending him high-tailing. The feckless feline proceeded to guard the terrified, bleeding tyke until his mom arrived on the scene.

The cat was hailed as a hero but -- as cats tend to do -- Tara shrugged it off, curled up on the sofa, and took a nap.
I’ve always admired cats. When our kids were growing up we always had one or two on the premises. My favorite was Kenobi, named by our son Brian who was into the Star Wars craze of the time.

Kenobi was a brindle color with streaks of calico and big amber eyes.

Inside the house he mostly purred and dozed, but outside his inner-tiger came out.

Kenobi stalked the woods back of the yard and seldom came home without a chipmunk, mouse, mole, vole or some other woodlot delicacy for supper.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Kenobi was also a terror to songbirds. He didn’t consider the mockingbird our state bird -- he considered it his state dinner.

(In Kenobi’s defense, it was difficult to explain to him why it’s OK for us to chow down on fried chicken, but wrong for him to eat a songbird.)

Kenobi was loyal and devoted. He just didn’t make public shows of affection as dogs do. When Brian would come home from school, Kenobi didn’t lope down the driveway and jump up on him, licking and slobbering like our dog Buddy.

Kenobi’s greeting was more sedate and dignified. He would simply rub against Brian’s leg and purr, “Hi. How’d your day go? Wanna see the mouse I caught?”

When Brian watched TV or did his homework (usually simultaneously) Kenobi would curl up in his lap or snuggle beside him on the sofa.

I don’t understand why we have the expression, “a faithful old dog,” but not “a faithful old cat.”

When somebody gets really ill, they’re said to be “sick as a dog.” Well, cats get sick, too. A cat can be as “sick as a dog.”

Then there’s the disparaging expression, “scaredy cat.”

Why not “scaredy dog?”

Cats are just as brave as dogs. Never mind the Cowardly Lion; remember Richard the Lion-Hearted.

With the exception of “Catwoman,” cats have largely been snubbed by Hollywood.

There’s no feline counterpart to TV’s Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. Sergeant Preston had King, Roy Rogers had Bullet. Nobody rode the range with their faithful cat at their heels.

Horror movies and literature favor dogs. Cujo was a vicious mutt, as was the Hound of the Baskervilles. Somehow “Kitty of the Baskervilles” doesn’t have the same ring.

That’s why it was good to see the heroic California cat get some well-deserved credit for its cat-chases-dog act of bravery.
I’m sure our old tomcat Kenobi, who simply vanished one day, would have done the same for Brian in a similar situation. He would have laid down his lives for him -- all seven, if necessary.

He was one fine feline.