Good News, Bad News

There’s good news and bad news in the tale of Lux, the cat who fought back against his abusers.

The good news is that on Monday, Lux made it to safety at the Multnomah County Animal Services shelter.

The bad news is that it’s apparently only a temporary reprieve for Lux. The family “may” retrieve him from the shelter. They said on Monday that they would be discussing whether or not to give him up permanently.

Why would they take him back? Simple: publicity. Animal Planet has announced that they will be featuring Lux on an upcoming episode of “My Cat From Hell” and that “the family assured Animal Planet they were going to keep the cat”.

So after dealing with the stress of a strange environment at the shelter, poor Lux will be dragged back to the stress of the toxic environment he thought he had escaped. Worse yet, he’ll then be forced to deal with the added stress of a TV appearance.

Jackson Galaxy, star of the show, says he’s going to “act as Lux’s advocate and find out what’s wrong”. He also says that aggressive behavior in cats can be the result of “a history of stressful environments” and “If you want a blanket statement on how to deal with aggression, how about, ‘Don’t set the cat up for failure,'”

Take your own advice, Mr. Galaxy. If you really want to do what’s best for Lux, don’t put him on your show. Don’t subject him to the additional stress and don’t extend the family’s fifteen minutes of fame. Better yet, take the next step and use your position as an expert in cat behavior to encourage the Multnomah shelter to act in Lux’ best interests and ensure that he is not returned to the family that has already admitted to having abused him.

In other news, media outlets are reporting the death of Fred Phelps, founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church. I’m not going to give Mr. Phelps the posthumous satisfaction of a big write-up, but I will note that IMNSHO his death ranks with Sylvia Browne’s death as a sign that things are improving. While I’m sure he’ll be missed by his family, his policies of intolerance and hate shouldn’t be missed by anybody.

And one more bit of good news: Aroldis Chapman, who was hit in the face by a batted ball during a pre-season baseball game last night has only a mild concussion and is expected to make a full recovery. While not minimizing the severity of even a “mild” concussion, it’s far less damage than had been feared; the news that he could be pitching again–even if only rehabilitating–in 6-8 weeks is far, far better than the career- or life-ending injury many expected.

Who’s the Victim?

I started out the day doing a BART/Bay Bridge update, but it wasn’t going anywhere interesting.

OK, so BART had a major derailment, and they’ve also been taking flack over malfunctioning heating and cooling systems in their cars, but so what? Nobody was killed, or even injured in the accident, and most people forgot about it as soon as service was restored. As for the temperature issues, people have been shivering and sweating–and complaining about it–during their commutes for decades. Nothing new there for anyone to get worked up about.

Meanwhile, the big news about the Bay Bridge is that it leaks. Yeah, I was astonished to hear that too. Wasn’t there someone doing QA on the waterproofing? Oh, never mind. Sure, there’s some other stuff going on: the lead contractors got millions of dollars for “completing” the bridge “on time”, and Governor Brown apparently thinks it’s unlikely that anyone will be prosecuted over any of the bridge’s problems. Business as usual, in other words.

So there’s your update for the month. Unless something major happens in the near future, we’ll give the Bs a pass until April.

Instead, let’s talk about something more interesting.

By now many of you have probably heard that a cat in Oregon attacked a baby, then trapped the whole family–including the dog–in their bedroom. When I first heard about it, I thought we might have another feline criminal mastermind breaking cover. Turns out that’s not what’s going on here.

Here’s the sequence of events as recounted in the news stories:

1) The baby pulled the cat’s tail.

2) The cat took a single swipe at the baby, scratching his face.

3) The baby’s father kicked the cat.

4) The cat started yowling and may have charged the man (the reports I’ve seen are ambiguous).

5) The man panicked, herded the entire family into the bedroom, and called 911.

6) Police, apparently treating the call as a domestic violence situation, showed up and herded the cat into a carrier.

In short, poor Lux was attacked, first by the baby, and then by the man. As a result, Lux is now being referred to animal psychologists for anger management therapy.

How’s that again? I’m willing to give the baby a pass. Seven month old children do pull tails, but what was the man doing at the time? If he saw his kid assaulting the cat, why didn’t he separate them? And then he joined in the abuse, kicked Lux “to protect his child”. Why is the cat the one who needs anger management therapy?

The answer, apparently, is that the situation must be Lux’ failure because the dog never attacks when the baby pulls its tail. So the dog is a masochist and the humans do nothing to prevent what are apparently repeated assaults. Lux is trapped in a hostile environment and told that the injuries he suffers are hiss own fault–a tale told by abusers for centuries.

The family has received hundreds of offers to help place the cat in a safer environment, and all of the offers have been declined.

Lux, it’s not your fault. I strongly urge you to get out of the house and contact a domestic violence support organization before the violence escalates further.