The Cat That Bit Santa ClausPublished December 22, 2008
It was very hard for me to remain impartial when I read this unsettling news the other day. The story was about an "odd looking" cat who showed up with his owner during a fund raising event held in Atlantic City, NJ to benefit The Penny Angel's Beagle Rescue. The cat and the owner were at the event to have a picture taken with Santa Claus. At the time, President Joan Kerr was busy taking care of the dogs to be placed for adoption so did not pay attention to what which someone told her might be a bobcat. Kerr said "it had absolutely huge paws, like 3 inches around." Santa, portrayed by Jonathan Bebbington, a resident of Vineland, N.J. was busy holding pets for pictures, when the hefty cat arrived. He thought it might be a bobcat or hybrid. Even though the cat appeared to be terrified by the dogs in the area, the owner managed to place the cat in Santa's lap, but shortly thereafter the cat could no longer contain his terror and understandably had a hissy fit. He bit Mr. Bebbington several times on the wrist and hand, drawing blood. Mr. Bebbington said, "It had very powerful jaws and big teeth," and could probably have bitten the hand off a baby or small child. He guestimated that the cat, named Benny, weighed about 30 pounds even though he was still a kitten. The cat is expected to reach 55 pounds when fully grown. When the photo was developed, a volunteer attempted to give it to the owner, but she and her cat were long gone. Kerr added that the woman's last words were, "I have a permit and the cat has all his vaccines." Apparently the owner purchased Benny from a breeder in Wyoming with a price tag of $1,500. The cat was shipped to New Jersey. It was also learned that the owner keeps the cat on a dog lead in her yard, during the day. The injured Santa washed his six puncture wounds thoroughly and applied some antibiotic ointment before he visited his doctor. He received a tetanus shot, but Mr. Bebbington may also have to endure the painful series of rabies shots unless the owner produces Benny's rabies vaccine certificate right away. Of course, Mr. Bebbington bears no ill will to the cat and doesn't want anything to happen to Benny. He thought the cat was beautiful, but of course naturally frightened by the ordeal. He just hopes that the owner will come forth with the vaccination records in a timely manner, as his first shot has been scheduled already. The Santa Paws fund raiser will continue for the next two weekends as scheduled. I don't know how you feel, but my opinion is that a hybrid or wild cat is not your average pussy cat and needs to be handled with special care. He should not have subjected to a photo shoot under conditions which frightened him so badly. What was his owner thinking? And why does she leave this beautiful animal tied up in her yard? What other dangers could this cat be subjected to which may further injure someone else? It takes a knowledgeable person to keep a hybrid cat in a safe and supportive environment, and a permit does not guarantee responsible care. What are your thoughts about this unfortunate event? Leave a comment and let us know.
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