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Cat Defender

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Brisbane Woman Is Bitten Twice by a Voracious Python but Still Somehow Manages to Save the Life of Her Cat, Tuffy


"Here was this evil thing coming out of the fence, coming down, and within a couple of seconds it had the cat."
-- Ruth Butterworth


In addition to being a devout cat-lover, fifty-eight-year-old Ruth Butterworth of Brisbane, Queensland is one courageous individual. She would have to be in order to have gone toe-to-toe with a voracious python in order to save the life of her resident feline, Tuffy.

Nevertheless, that is exactly what she recently did even though she was twice bitten and suffered a broken wrist in the process. Thankfully, both she and Tuffy are now recovering and will be fine. (See photo above.)

"It was almost dark and I saw this silhouette coming down, and I knew what was about to happen to Tuffy," she recalled for the benefit of the Herald Sun of Melbourne on March 10th. (See "Woman Fights Off Killer Python.") "Here was this evil thing coming out of the fence, coming down, and within a couple of seconds it had the cat."

Without so much as a second to spare, Ms. Butterworth then went after the snake. "I wasn't looking. I just kept punching until it let go," she said.

Tuffy, who prior to the attack had resisted calls to come inside, now gladly scampered for the safety of the house. Although the Herald Sun is conspicuously silent as to the fate of the snake, it most likely slithered away in the grass in order to seek its dinner elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Tuffy was not the first and probably will not be the last feline in the Bridgeman Downs neighborhood to be attacked by a python. Days earlier, a cat named Coco owned by Ms. Butterworth's mother was killed by what is believed to have been the same snake.

Needless to say, cat owners in Bridgeman Downs cannot allow their cats outside, even in their yards, without supervision. Even then they need to be armed with some sort of repellent or other non-lethal method in order to drive off pythons.

Both Ms. Butterworth and Tuffy are indeed lucky to even be alive; the next time around the outcome could very easily be tragically different. The presence of pythons must be taken seriously and that applies to people as well as to the care of their cats.

Ms. Butterworth's valor demonstrates once again just how devoted cat-lovers are not only to their beloved companions but to all felines as well. For instance, on November 15th of last year, Jennifer Foster of Thousand Oaks, California risked her life in order to save a cat that she did not even know from the jaws of a coyote. (See Cat Defender post of December 4, 2007 entitled "Grieving Widow Risks Her Life in Order to Save Cosmo from the Jaws of a Hungry Coyote in Thousand Oaks.")

Innumerable individuals also have run afoul of the law while attempting to help cats. Only last year, retired schoolteacher Janice L. Rolfe of Grandview Heights, Ohio received a citation for feeding a feral cat. (See Cat Defender post of February 26, 2007 entitled "Charged with Feeding a Feral Cat Named Fluffy, Retired Ohio English Teacher Beats the Rap.")

Many feline aficionados will sans doute recall all the trouble and expense that Fairfield, Connecticut real estate agent Ruth Cisero was put through in order to save her cat, Lewis, from the gallows. (See Cat Defender posts of April 3, 2006 and June 26, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Free Lewis Now! Connecticut Tomcat, Victimized by a Bum Rap, Is Placed Under House Arrest" and "Lewis the Cat Cheats the Hangman but Is Placed Under House Arrest for the Remainder of His Life.")

Still other individuals, such as John Beck, have been fired from their jobs for feeding starving cats. (See Cat Defender post of June 14, 2006 entitled "Kindhearted Dairyman, Sacked for Feeding Feral Cats, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Against Cornell University.")

Even some convicted felons take an extremely dim view of individuals who harm cats. (See Cat Defender posts of March 4, 2008 and November 2, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Roswell Prison Guns Down Fifteen to Twenty Cats with the Blessings of the Animal Welfare Alliance" and "Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of Hardened Criminals at Rural Tennessee Prison.")

The fraternity of cat-lovers is large, diverse, and passionate. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Photo: Peter Wallis for the Herald Sun.