La Bagarre (The Fight)
Lucy hates cats. And I mean hates them. I don't worry about her with squirrels--she thinks they are playthings that run. She kills voles (like blind mice with littler ears), but only by playing with them (and forgetting that tossing them in the air repeatedly makes them "stop working".) Children she loves, and she has endless patience, and will in fact protect them against adults she doesn't know. But cats must have wronged her in a former life, because when she spies one, she is out for blood.
The other day, we were taking our usual walk up to the Butte aux Cailles, a pleasant little neighborhood with lots of restaurants, bars, and funky jewelry shops. It's quiet during the day, but hops at night, due to the largely student population. We take a left at the honey shop, and walk down past several book shops and cafes. The weather was warm, and folks were sitting out at tiny tables crowding the sidewalks, watching the world go by over their empty espresso cups.
Just as we turned, we were met by an unwelcome sight. A large, orange cat with matted fur and a bit of dried blood crusting his left ear was standing right in our path. Lucy lunged for him, barking and snapping, and he hissed and began clawing at her face, while I yanked her back by her harness.
I had her harness strap in my left hand, her front paws dangling two feet above the ground, as I struggled to contain 60 pounds of angry, furry fury. I shouted at the cat, hoping it would turn tail and run. Instead, it arched its back, hissed, and advanced.
Advanced! The cat came at us! My first thought was to use my feet to "gently kick" him away, but I was wearing sandals, and am allergic, so the idea of introducing stray cat molecules directly into my bloodstream through a scratch was not a pleasant one. He kept coming, so (using my left hand!!!) I heaved Lucy over my shoulder, threw her between two cars, and into the cobblestone street, yelling at and trying to shoo away the cat with my right hand the entire time.
As I moved into the street, (Yelling "stop it right now!" to Lucy), the cat came at us again. He followed us into the street, arching, hissing, and with a look of pure evil in his green eyes.
Finally, I was able to get Lucy over to the opposite sidewalk, and I grabbed her snout while I admonished her for not listening to me. She let out a muffled cry, and I noticed bright red blood beading up on the side of her muzzle. Thankfully, her eyes were unhurt, and the scratch was tiny. I dragged her quickly away, leaving the cat hissing and spitting in the street.
And the 8 or 9 people sitting at the cafes that lined the street? The show was over, so they turned back to their empty cups and their cigarettes, and waited for the next spectacle.