Don’t Pet This Cat

Helpful advice from the woman who did

Remington Write
4 min readApr 29


Photo Credit — Remington Write / I should have known better

This photo is misleading…or maybe not. Certainly I wouldn’t put my hand near that face. Would you?

Except the cat was cuddly and friendly, purring and sliding the side of its face against my hand. We call them bodega cats regardless of whether the shop we find them in are actually bodegas. This particular shop could never be mistaken for a bodega. It’s not on a corner, doesn’t sell lottery tickets or malt liquor or chopped cheese sandwiches. It’s a health food store with a juice bar off to the side and a wide selection of organic and vegan foods and goods.

Nice place if a bit pricy. Insider tip: Discounts on Tuesdays for seniors.

So there’s me and there’s the cat and everything is harmonious and idyllic. Then I had apparently worn out my welcome because the darling widdle puddy tat shifted position and began sniffing my fingers. I recognized the shift and stopped petting, allowing my fickle new friend to sniff my hand while contemplating an escape.

I contemplated too long.

In a flash, the cat grabbed my wrist with both front paws and dug in the claws while sinking its sharp teeth into the ring finger of my right hand.

Bizarrely enough, in that moment the first thought that came into the front of my head in my mother’s voice — may she rest in peace — “Tammy Lynn, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”. And, being a good daughter, I did not. I didn’t shriek or freak out (much). I disengaged the cat from my hand and wrist and walked out of the store.

There was more blood than I expected so I stopped outside the store and sopped that up with a tissue.

The reading I did that night about cat bites and the fact that the bitten finger was swelling and red the next day got my backside to the nearest urgent care location. When I told the doctor where the bite occurred she grinned. “Oh, I know that cat.”

On my way to pick up my prescription for Amoxicillin, I ran into my friend Mark who lives near there.

“Oh, yeah, I know that cat”.

Well, now the health department knows about that cat, too, because the urgent care facility is bound by law to report animal bites. At…