Nose in the ear sparks mayhem

Local | Georgina Noyce 4 Aug 2020

"No!" The command came out louder and with more annoyance than intended, but it had been a stressful week and a houseful of aging mammals in rainy season can be quite incendiary. The combination of volume and anger did, however, stop the trouble.

All the animals had been treated against ticks and fleas. However, as they age, they have been reacting adversely to the treatment.

It was making Amber, the once-feral cat, very restless, like a teenager looking for trouble. So she was prowling the house looking for mischief. I had already stopped her from chewing the TV remote, pushing a breakable ornament from a shelf and a cushion from the sofa, each time saying a firm "no."

Sassoon, born and raised on a building site, is around 100 in human years. Her hearing and eyesight are fading, her joints are stiff and she spends almost 20 hours a day sleeping.

Prime prey for Amber, as she casually strolled past Sassoon, as if uninterested in her huge canine companion snoring peacefully on her soft rug at the edge of the room. Then at the last second Amber swiveled her head and dived her whiskery nose into his left ear.

Unless it has happened to you, having a cat explore the inside of your ear is hair-raising, exhilarating, ticklish, creepy and sensual, all at the same time.

For deeply asleep Sassoon it must have been hellishly scary and she reacted accordingly. Startled awake, she tried to get away from the danger, but her stiff joints let her down so she turned on the danger with a snarl on her lips and all her teeth showing.

My scream of command came because Sassoon's mouth is as big as the cat and Amber the cat reverts to feral when threatened and would have automatically slashed at Sassoon's eyes.

My shouted command froze the tableaux just long enough for sensitive Molly mongrel to put herself between Sassoon and Amber, while she barked at Amber until the silly cat ran from the room.

Sniffing at Sassoon's abused ear, Molly decided she was unhurt and instead came to me to find out why I was shouting.

It took several minutes to settle them all down because, while they can accept volume, used when they can't see me, the anger/fear in my voice made them all uncomfortable.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

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