Monday, July 04, 2011

The Chilled Butter Maneuver: Self Defense Lesson #2 from the Cat

Lilith is one cool cat. And she's not afraid of you.

Lilith, a 17 year old with spring and verve of a cat a quarter her age.
Indeed, Lilith will readily come over to any visitor and "allow" herself to be adored and petted. She is fine and mellow when she recognizes that appropriate due is being paid to her by adoring fans.  She is the Queen of the house, and she knows it.

But don't let her outward appearance deceive you -- Lilith has a core of razor steel. What she wants, she gets (like cheese, milk, and chocolate ice cream). And what she doesn't want, well . . .

At the risk of understatement, cats do not like taking their medicines. Pilling a cat, rare as it is in my household, is still onerous. Each cat has its own means of resistance, and Lilith's is among the most effective.

Most cats struggle from the moment they realize you're holding the dreaded pill and looking at them. But not my Lilith. She purrs. She headbutts and rubs her cheeks against my hands as I maneuver her in place between my knees. She purrs some more, and as I shift my attention ever so slightly to get the pill in my hand ready to launch, she springs. Her move is not at all explosive or drastic, it's  more like she's the proverbial greased pig. One moment she's "securely" nestled in my grasp, and the next she's disappearing under the couch.


Her key is relaxation and timing.

Lilith, secure in her knowledge that she'll triumph, lulls us into believing we've got her. Relaxation also gives her speed and slickness when she makes her move. But her suppleness alone isn't quite enough -- Lilith can recognize when our attention is just a bit distracted, and she picks that moment for a successful escape.

Sometimes in a threatening situation, your best recourse is feigning compliance. You go along with the assailant's demands, watching for your opening. Waiting for that momentary distraction (or the chance to create one). And, should that window open, you will be ready to spring into action.

(For practice in what "springing" actions would work best, take a self-defense class. Two 5-week courses are beginning soon: one in Bellevue this coming Saturday July 9, another in Seattle on Monday July 11.)

Sometimes that window will not open. You have to realize that in self-defense sometimes your choice is between bad and worse. That's the reality. After-care is crucial (and that's a topic for another blog post).

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