Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How And Why I Once Punched A Cat

I deplore animal violence. I think hunting is unfairly biased towards those with guns, cheer for the bulls in bullfights and rodeos and don't even like it when Kitten Mittons are affixed to a cat for comedy.

Well, that last bit was an exaggeration. Charlie Day and his Sunny mates can do no wrong. But you get the point. Before I get into this, I want to make it clear that although I have punched a cat, don't regret it and am about to tell a funny story about how it happened, I don't think it's cool to hit any animal, much less a tiny, defenseless one.

Let's go back to fall of 1999. I was living in the most deplorable setup of my life - along with one of my best friends and his girlfriend, a demonic hellbeast who brought two cats into our shared apartment without my permission. If my roommate was the devil, these cats were her arch-demons.

They pushed me into a state of constant sneezing, due to my allergies. They woke me up by jumping on my face. They barfed, pooped and peed on the kitchen floor, my bed and keyboard. They jumped into my cereal bowl in the morning. I hated them with my entire being, yet none of these reasons was an impetus to slug one.

And then came the tipping point. My friend ordered a Nintendo Entertainment System off of eBay, as well as my favorite game, Blades of Steel, which I hadn't played since I was a kid. I set up the game, re-upped as my favorite team, New York -- "they have no weaknesses," correctly read the instruction book scouting report on the squad -- and set to rekindling my nostalgic virtual ice hockey flame.

I powered through my overwhelmed computer rivals, racking up one inspiring victory after the next. Finally I advanced to the championship game against Pittsburgh, and was carefully protecting a 3-2 lead in the third period.

And then one of the cats pounced behind the TV, ripped the cord from its socket and then stared me down. I can still see its defiant gaze in the recesses of my darkest memories.

So without thinking, I leaped off the couch and gave the cat a little uppercut. The kitty took it in stride, running off without a whimper. I am sure I didn't hurt it, but it was not for a lack of trying.

I will always remember that outburst of anger, which is odd because I have never been in a real fight, nor attacked anyone outside of an occasion in YMCA basketball in which I shoved someone who fouled me too hard, and another time in which I punched my friend in the stomach after he dumped out my pretzels to punctuate a Mario Kart victory.

I realize I shouldn't have hit the cat. If I were back in the same situation, I wouldn't repeat my cat punch. But I do wish I had a video of that moment, because in that time, in that place, that damned cat deserved what it got, and I delivered.

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