A 911 dispatcher in Portland, Oregon, had to ask a supervisor if they should send police out on a most unusual call. A man was reporting that his family had barricaded themselves in their bedroom to hide from the family cat, which had gone berserk and was attacking the family, he said.
The cat can be heard on the 911 tape howling and hissing.
The ruckus began when the Himalayan cat named Lux scratched the 7-month-old baby of the family.
Lee Palmer, the baby’s father, told The Oregonian, “I kicked the cat in the rear, and it has gone over the edge. He's trying to attack us — he's very hostile. He's at our door; he's charging us."
When police arrived, Lux ran into the kitchen and jumped on top of the refrigerator. Police captured the 4-year-old, 22-pound kitty with a dog snare and placed him in a crate.
“The cat remained behind bars in the custody of the family and officers cleared the scene and continued to fight crime elsewhere in the city," Portland police told CBS News in a release.
"We are debating what to do," Palmer said. "We definitely want to keep (the cat) away from the baby and keep an eye on his behavior."
Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, science advisor for the ASPCA, said that there are various reasons a cat might become aggressive.
"Where a cat came from and how well socialized it was as a kitten are factors that often influence a cat's behavior. Sometimes cats will show redirected aggression. This is especially true if there are other cats outside in the neighborhood. The indoor cat gets very anxious and aroused and may attack anyone, anything in the vicinity. This might also happen if other activities have aroused the cat, such as rough play or some type of commotion in the house. For some cats, this might be a baby screaming and crying, and the parent's reaction to the baby.”
Yelling, screaming and kicking the cat might escalate the situation, Zawistowski explained. “If a cat becomes aggressive or hostile, one option is to throw a blanket or towel over the cat. You can bundle up the cat and hold it until it calms, while staying safe from claws and teeth."
Zawistowski said cats shouldn’t be left alone with babies, especially if the cat has shown aggression in the past.
Post Script: The family has conffirmed that they will be keeping the cat. They have visits scheduled with both his veterinarian and with a behavioral veterinarian.
Editor's Note: Image shown is a stock image from Thinkstock - it is not of Lux the cat.