PARK SLOPE — You wouldn't want to go paw to paw with this bruiser.
A bully cat has been prowling the South Slope, hissing at humans and getting into scrapes with fellow felines, leaving at least two injured cats in its wake, neighbors say.
One cat owner near 16th Street and Webster Place was so fed up with the ferocious feline she posted fliers around the neighborhood, pleading for the animal's owner to step forward.
"If this is your cat, do you realize how aggressive and mean it is when it roams around?" reads the flier. "Your cat's aggressiveness and attacking cannot continue for its own sake, as well as the safety of other cats and people!"
The bully cat doesn't seem intimidated by other cats, humans, or the neighborhood's thriving population of feral cats. A cat owner on Webster Place said the bully cat growled at her when she happened upon a run-in between the feisty feline and her Siamese, Skeeter.
"Any time this cat has come into my yard, there's been a confrontation," said Patricia, the woman who put up the flier and asked that her last name not be used.
She first noticed the aggressive cat lurking in her backyard a couple of months ago. At first the animal just hissed and snarled, but then the situation escalated. A few weeks ago, Patricia heard "howling and screeching" from a nearby yard, and her 6-year-old brown tabby, Teddy, came streaking home with the bully cat hot on his heels.
The next day, as she was petting Teddy in her lap, Patricia felt a bump on his tail, and he yelped in pain. A visit to the vet confirmed that the bully cat had chomped on Teddy's tail. Shortly after that, Patricia's other cat, Rocco, came running home "all puffed up" — a sign of a cat in distress. She then discovered a bite wound on Rocco's leg.
Since then, Patricia has resorted to spraying the bully cat with a garden hose and splashing it with a water bottle to try to keep it out of her yard.
"I've chased it out, I've yelled at it," frustrated Patricia said. "It stopped and turned around and hissed and growled at me."
She posted the fliers, first reported by South Slope News, after much thought, because she realized her neighbors might think she was blowing the cat fights out of proportion. Many of the fliers were taken down, and Patricia caught one neighbor mocking her with a "dramatic reading" of her plea for help.
"The absurdity of this whole thing is not lost on me," Patricia said. "[But] it's cost me $510 in vet bills, plus the aggravation. My poor cats, they’re driving me crazy because I can't let them out."
She's hoping if she can get in touch with the bully cat's owner, they can warn each other when their pets are outside and cut down on the kitty conflicts.
So far she's gotten a few responses, including one from a woman who has a gray cat with a bell collar, but refused to send a photo of her pet unless Patricia could first provide a picture of the alleged aggressor.
Patricia hasn't been able to get a photo of the mysterious bully cat because she's been "too busy breaking up fights," she said. She described the animal as dark gray, with darker markings in its fur. It has long legs, a smallish head and it wears a collar with a bell, which means it must be someone's pet, Patricia figures.
"Whoever's cat it is, I understand they want to let it out as much as I want to let my cats out. I’m just asking them, let's exchange information," Patricia said. "I do realize it's a little ridiculous. If it was just growling and hissing it would be one thing, but now it’s vet bills."