City life is dangerous for cats. If they’re allowed to wander around, they can be the victims of cars rushing by on crowded streets, cruel people who get some kind of sick thrill out of abusing cats, and even well-intentioned animal control officers who bring the wandering felines to shelters — and whose owners find out, too late, that their feline friend was at the rescue facility.
Then there’s the whole “high-rise syndrome” business: cats leap from windows or patios and end up on the ground, many stories below. If they’re lucky, they survive with a few broken bones and bruises.
But nobody expects their sweet, fluffy friend, to be carried off by predatory birds.
The New York Daily News reports that Eddie the cat was lounging on the terrace of a Manhattan woman’s fifth-floor apartment when his owner heard something rarely heard in the city: the keeeeeeer of a hawk as it dove for its prey. When the cry was followed by the desperate mews of her cat, she ran to see what happened, and she found only “fur, broken nails and feathers” where Eddie had been enjoying the sun.
The woman, who didn’t want to share her name — presumably because she didn’t want to find a throng of cat lovers with pitchforks and torches at her doorstep, demanding that she be punished for the terrible crime of allowing Eddie to sunbathe on her deck — looked everywhere for her cat.
She knew hawks hung out in nearby Riverside Park, so she asked people there if they had seen Eddie. The bird people she met told her the cat would almost certainly be dead.
In tears, she walked for hours around the park and up and down the streets of her neighborhood, hoping to find Eddie’s body so she could pay her respects. She posted signs. But all of her efforts yielded nothing until she got a call from a man who lived down her street.
The neighbor had been awakened by a crash and thud in his garden. He ran out to find discombobulated patio furniture and a terrified cat meowing in a corner.
The hawk had bitten off more than he could chew.
Eddie weighs 15 pounds — and it’s definitely not all muscle. The surprised bird had to let go of the cat in order to avoid a crash landing of his own. And the hapless feline tumbled five stories through the sky.
The woman rescued Eddie and rushed him to the vet, where “he checked out fine, other than some minor cuts, scrapes and bruises,” she said.
Obesity may keep cats out of hawks’ stomachs, but it does kill.
A lot of people think fat cats are cute, but I personally think photos of massively obese cats are very sad because I know how difficult and painful their lives must be. Not only do fat cats tend to suffer from joint problems and have trouble cleaning themselves, but the risk of potentially fatal diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease rises with each extra pound.
Even though Eddie’s “fatitude” saved him from becoming hawk chow, I hope his owner works with her vet to get him back to a normal weight so she can enjoy his company — and he can enjoy his life — for many years to come.