SCI Grenades: Weapons of Mass Distraction

For you fellow SCIs, or other involved, animal lovers who have one trouble-making “alpha,” this is my harmless, but effective, ammunition for breaking up pet fights. (I was bullied into its invention because I can’t squeeze a spray bottle to interrupt unwanted behaviors.) Before I get to it, everyone else has to hear my short spiel:

Becoming a pet owner is a big responsibility, and research is tantamount before adopting.

I’m a proponent of adopting from shelters. Even though most are Heinz 57 varieties, you can identify a predominant breed characteristic. Thus said, breed types, temperaments, longevity, veterinary bills (annuals, neutering or spaying, health issues), must be taken into consideration. Too many pets are chosen on looks alone, then rejected because they’re destructive (meaning bored with no exercise), require too much attention, need veterinary care, and/or aren’t suited for the owner/family’s lifestyle.

Please, know that animals should be an integral part of your life, not a possession you tire of, ignore, or abuse. As He did us, God created them on the sixth day and saw that “…it is very good.”

Fred Astaire-the debonair
Fred Astaire-the debonair

Now, to my feline “boys,” Fred Astaire and Laptop. (I dedicated the chapter, “A Little Bit of Heaven,” in Views From My Chariot  to my pets. You know they’re exceptional!)

Fred was a feral I tamed. Two years later, I saved Laptop from being euthanized. All went well until Laptop turned three or four; I can’t remember exactly.

Initially, the skirmishes were tame. They would start out as brotherly grooming—Laptop ministering to Fred. Things were copasetic for a time…until Laptop (a head taller and five pounds heavier) began exercising his alpha-ness.

Laptop begins lovingly grooming Fred’s head and ears then, atypically, body slams Fred to the floor, deceptively licking all the while.

Laptop's deceptive "come hither"
Laptop’s deceptive “come hither”

Fred’s a lover not a fighter, so he complies. But somehow, during the body slam, Laptop maneuvers into a tactical spooning position over Fred as he licks. Fred complains ever so slightly until…with all four paws embracing Fred in a body hold, Laptop goes for the jugular.

If you could feel it, Fred’s screeching would send chills up your spine! The aftermath of cat fur looks like evidence of a feather pillow fight.

Here’s my SCI-approved device for interrupting an all-out fight, equivalent to the ding-ding-ding of the boxing round timer: an empty 16 oz. plastic water bottle loaded with 5-10 pennies.

Normally, a rigorous shake is enough to send them running in opposite directions. But, when the battle has reached a screeching fever pitch, it’s expedient to hurl the device into their midst.

Since I can’t hop out of bed to break up night skirmishes, I’m armed with three in my bed; otherwise, one is in my kitchen and one, in my office. There have also been surprise attacks when I have thrown whatever liquid was in my hand. Clean-ups suck!

I digress. This morning, Laptop had two of his “Submit!” demonstrations over Fred. I was semi-armed for the second.

The skirmish erupted in the kitchen at the east end of my six foot long table. I was at the opposite end without a grenade, but my vitamin bottles were out for my week’s daily dosages. I grabbed the nearest, shook it for all it was worth, like pulling the pin, and hurled it into the battlefield.

Well, this one wrought a triple whammy of distraction: the warning rattle, the explosive landing, and the shrapnel of 60 vitamins ricocheting everywhere.

It worked! But, instead of running for cover, they acted like drug-sniffing cats.

As penance for not screwing the cap on tightly, I picked up each capsule, one by one; and some, over and over and over. Sort of like writing on the blackboard: “I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps…”

I will not soon forget!



  1. Oh my! I laughed and laughed as I read this post. I used to have a sweet cat with a definite mind of her own and I currently am loved and love some sweet granddogs including one alpha which is what led me to read your article. I’m not sure this would work to distract him from the squirrels he loves to chase and mail people he loves to bark at. But I will pass the info on to his loving mommy who works hard to redirect his enthusiasm to more positive paths like running a lot. 🙂 Thanks for a fun read and intriguing idea.

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