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Feral Cat ‘Gang’ Attacks Woman

Feral Cat ‘Gang’ Attacks Woman

LiveScience journalist, Marc Lallanilla, opens his report of a recent feral cat attack of a woman like this:

One more reason to love dogs: A gang of feral cats in France attacked a woman and her poodle, forcing both victims to seek medical attention for their injuries.

This writer’s anti-cat bias is misleading. In the U.S., about 800,000 people must seek medical attention from dog bites — and about 17 to 30 of those are fatal — every year. Reports of small cats attacking and injuring humans, on the other hand, are rare. Of course, BIG cats have done their share of damage, but let’s not malign little cats just yet.

The unusual and unfortunate feral cat attack happened recently near Belfort, France, when a woman was walking her poodle in a wooded area. Full details of the event are murky, but apparently, at least six cats jumped on the woman and her dog, knocking her to the ground. The woman suffered numerous cat bites on her arms and legs and one was so deep it pierced an artery and could have been fatal.

The 31-year old woman was treated at a nearby hospital where she was also wisely administered a rabies shot. Her poodle who was also badly hurt was treated at a vet clinic. The woman’s mother, Josette Galliot, was quoted as saying, “My daughter thought it was a living nightmare. She is still traumatized.”

I do not blame her for being traumatized. Being attacked by anything is traumatizing. And I wish the woman and her poodle a quick and full recovery.

But questions remain as to why the cats would attack a human — and residents in the area are very divided over what provoked the attack and what should be done.

Local veterinarians who have commented on the attack, which they call “abnormal,” are inclined to think this feral cat colony was only protecting its territory from the dog and the woman simply got in the way. A recent heat wave may have also triggered unusual behavior in the cats, they say.

But the victim’s mother argues, “We must get rid of this scourge. There are too many cats in the neighborhood, many of which are strays. There are also lots of children here. We don’t want this to happen again.”

French veterinarian, Valerie Dramard, has tried to calm fears by reassuringly telling the people of Belfort, ”Cats are not new zombies of the apocalypse. They are just very territorial and unfriendly with unknown species.”

 

 

Since the event happened just days ago, no decision has been made as to what to do about this particular colony of feral cats. Nor has it been reported if any of the cats were tested for rabies. Nevertheless, tourists and residents alike are being warned to stay away from this area of the forest and to not approach or feed any stray cats.

It is estimated that over 8,000 feral kittens are born every day in France. Most of the colonies of cats, however, are started by people dumping unsterilized pets on the outskirts of towns. Cats being two-thirds wild and one-third domesticated often have no problem merging back into the wilderness and reclaiming their full wildness.

Related:
7 Things to Do if You See Stray Kittens

The Best Way to Help Feral Cats
7 Steps to Trap-Neuter-Return

Read more: Animal Rights, Behavior & Communication, Caregiving, Cats, Family, Feline Muse, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, Pets, Remedies & Treatments, Safety, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

237 comments

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7:46AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Noted. I agree with Debbie.

9:08AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

I am not the biggest cat fan, however I do not want one hurt. My heart goes out to the woman and dog (I am very much a dog fan) and pray for their quick recovery. However, this being said-the cats should be rounded up and removed from the area. To leave them roaming free presents to much of a danger.

4:26AM PDT on Aug 16, 2013

thanks for sharing

7:21AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Let me guess, they're going to kill these cats? Because that's what we do with all animals who have attacked someone, right? Whether it's provoked or not.
I'm sure these cats didn't attack to kill this woman and her dog, but who knows what really happened? I just hope the cats get to live.

4:48PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

I guess we were raised with different perceptions of being adult. I was raised to know that being an adult man or for a person to be an adult woman for that matter, we accept the full truth in others rather than finding it necessary to pretend that what may seem negative doesn't exist in the person or animal we love. I was raised to believe that if you have to ignore or pretend things are different than they are, you don't know love.

About whether a cat or pride of cats could possibly attack unprovoked or not, studies have shown that some cats will do it, and some wont. If you want to find truths do what I did and research it. It isn't that hard to do.. You seem more to be the one upset and attacking because of an assumption of your supposedly being an expert. and as far as that goes the attack came first from you, and I most definitely responded. And as for the evolved comment... I say evolved as in the ability to recognize that things do happen, and that not all is written in stone as an impossibility. I wasn't pretending to be an expert, you were.

4:31PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Chazz...."grow up?" "We are adults...we aren't high school or grade school kids." Then why are you acting like somebody took your toys away when I challenged you on something for which you gave no proof of other than your observation? The fact that your cat may attack without provocation proves very little about cats in general...that is the difference between empirical evidence and anecdotal evidence. There may be any number of reasons why your cat attacks without provocation, as you claim. "Evolved enough"...In your "evolution" were you taught what traits animals exhibit that are "good" and "bad?" You are able to make that judgment? And in your evolution, were you taught to question another's manhood because he disagrees with you? Moreover, speaking of others' courage and/or "manhood" is a very strange comment coming from someone who hides his profile from the public. I made a comment about something you said that I felt had little basis in fact. You can agree or disagree...that is your right. My "manhood" has nothing to do with what I said or the way I said it.

4:02PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Thomas P. The fact is that I have a cat who does attack without provocation and that is an undeniable, provable fact. I am a huge cat fan, but I am enough of a cat fan to be HONEST about things, and to simply love them. Grow up guy, we aren't high school or grade school kids.. We are adults here. I happen to be adult enough , and evolved enough to accept both good and bad traits simply as they are even when I love something or some one dearly. Aren't you man enough to do the same?

1:27PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Thanks. Has to be way more to this story. Chazz Y...you are a "huge cat fan...", really? With "fans" like you, they don't need enemies. A "fact of life" is that cats are natural born hunters...of small mammals, not humans. The "fact" is that cats very seldom strike people if not provoked. If you were such a "huge cat fan," you would probably know that.

1:12PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Sounds like much is missing from this story, perhaps to make it more dramatic. Are C2 writers having a contest to see who gets the most comments?

12:04PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

I just witnessed last nite for the 5th time a poodle chasing a stray cat...now I know if it was a pack they wouldve jumped that dog as anybody or other animals would do....One thing I have learned is that humans love to express the ending of a story but never the beginning...I am surrounded with ferals some mean some afraid some docile etc but I have never ever witnessed them approaching any humans never.....dont wish bad on anyone but dont not take blame if its partly or all urs......

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