Saanich cat tangles with pit bull

'Protective' feline takes on inquisitive dog on cat's front lawn

The owners of an elderly cat named Baby say their pet’s sudden reputation as a fearless mauler of pit bull dogs is completely undeserved.

Betty Jean Thompson, 78, and her husband, Del, said they are mystified by the public interest in an incident that happened Monday evening on the front lawn of their home in Saanich.

Thompson said she was tending her garden when a group of women walking seven large dogs approached on the sidewalk and one of the dogs showed a friendly interest in her.

Beside her lay Baby, the stray, cream-coloured cat that adopted the Thompsons almost 16 years ago.

“She’s kind of a slow sort of thinking cat, but one thing is she is very protective of me.”

Thompson said the dog crossed the lawn. She said she warned the woman walking three of the animals that a cat was nearby, and the walker immediately tried to tug her pet back toward the sidewalk.

Dog owner’s says it happened otherwise

But the dog’s owner, Javiera Rodriguez, offered a different version of events. She said she and three other women involved in a canine walking group were strolling by Thompson’s property with seven dogs when a cat leapt unprovoked from the bushes and latched onto the face of a three-year-old pit bull, Bandida.

Thompson agreed that her cat “set on” one of the pit bulls that was on the property, but she says the cat did not leap out of bushes to attack the dog.

“There is no ambush about it,” she said. “Somebody is blowing this all up.”

By the time the two animals were separated, the dog and one of the walkers had been hurt, and Thompson said Baby was hanging limp but uninjured from the jaws of the surprised pooch.

Rodriguez said she was surprised when she called the municipality and discovered Saanich doesn’t have a bylaw on aggressive cats, which she said is unfair because of restrictions placed on dogs.

“Our dogs, if they’re aggressive, need to be muzzled and on leash at all times. I don’t understand why that isn’t happening with cats,” she said in calling for the municipality to change its animal-control bylaw.

“If you have an aggressive animal, regardless of what it is, it should be kept inside. There should be some regulation.”

Besides wounding Bandida, the cat also sent Kyla Grover, one of the dog walkers, to hospital with scratch and bite injuries on her left hand. She received vaccinations and antibiotics.

Grover lamented what she called a double-standard that people place on pit bulls.

“A lot of people think that pit bulls are bred to fight and kill and they’re not. They’re really sweet-natured and gentle dogs,” she said.

“If Bandida had hurt that cat she would probably be deemed dangerous and euthanized, even though the cat started it.”

‘The cat was just trying to protect me’

Thompson said the cat was simply acting defensively after seeing a dog wander in her owner’s direction.

“The cat was just trying to protect me and felt it was in her rights,” she said.

The Thompsons paid about $220 in veterinary bills that Rodriguez brought to their home the next day.

By Beth Leighton and Geordon Omand in Vancouver

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Victoria and Nanaimo

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

Sam Liu, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UVic, has found extroverts, particularly people who are very active and social, are experiencing higher levels of distress throughout the pandemic. (Provided by UVic Photo Services)
University of Victoria study finds extroverts experiencing higher stress levels during pandemic

Degree of extroversion influences individual perception of stress during the pandemic

The 1946 building in Sooke known as the Tin Grotto, located at 2076 Otter Point Rd, is set to be demolished. Council awarded the demolition contract to Maple Ridge-based T&T Demolition. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke approves demolition for dilapidated downtown building

‘Tin Grotto’ to be reduced to rubble in weeks

Police continue to investigate a break-and-enter in this Sidney jewelry store in the 2500-block of Beacon Avenue. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Thieves hit Sidney jewelry store

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP says incident is not part of a larger trend

This house in the 600-block of Linden Avenue in Fairfield has a Día de Muertos theme for 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Haunted Oak Bay

Residents spookify houses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read