Cat bites less common than dog bites

I’ve had my head bitten off by a reader who complains that my June 16 column does no favour to hundreds of rescue cats who need homes and to the dedicated people trying to place them.
Frankly I think she’s over-reacting. The fact that until recently I had never heard of a serious cat bite suggests it’s not an everyday occurrence. It was only when discussing this Constantiaberg cat-bite case with friends that I was told of four other instances which had happened long ago.
This reader has over 45 years owned many cats – at one stage nine – mostly rescued. Only twice has she been bitten. Once when she stopped a visiting cat from fighting with one of hers and the “visitor” bit her hand. The other happened recently when she brought home a nervous rescue cat which bit her when she unintentionally startled it. The first bite required an antibiotic. The second needed only a good wash and antiseptic. She suggests using thick gloves as a precaution when rescuing a frightened or trapped cat.
“Please set the record straight. Give your readers some statistics on the number and seriousness of cat bites compared with dog bites. I’m frightened of dogs. Their record is very bad, and includes many horrific maulings and fatalities. If safety is one’s priority in choosing a pet, then obviously the choice must be a cat rather than a dog.”
She’s right there, of course. You never hear of anybody being killed by a cat unless a Big Cat, but cat bites are more likely to get infected because their sharp teeth carry bacteria which are deposited deep in the wound.
I could not find any South African statistics but in the UK about 250 000 people yearly go to an emergency department because of a dog bite. Cat bites there were less common.
Another interesting fact is that up to 85% of dog and cat bites were caused by the victim’s family pet or by a neighbour’s pet. About half were considered to have been provoked.
I hope I have not deterred anyone from offering a rescue cat a home. I’d love one myself but as I wrote in my “catty” column, my last cat was killed by our bull terrier and I’ve never risked another in a home with dogs.
Theatrical talents in the family.
Certain talents run in families. The Notcutt family from Southfield are all theatre addicts.
In his youth, Brian fell for drama and wife Trish loved dance. In a futile attempt to get these “bugs” out of their systems, they studied them at UCT – to no avail. For 35 years the two have been involved in acting, dancing, directing and teaching and their three children have all succumbed to the same infection.
Tara, the eldest, recently directed her first opera La Boheme in District Six for the Suidoosterfees in April. Dance-mania has hit their youngest Cleo, who produced the recent successful hip-hop event Cape Town’s Most Wanted at Artscape. Her brother Shaun is a youth pastor, which, says his Dad, is another form of “theatre”.
This weekend Brian is appearing in a short season of God of Carnage at the Masque for Circle Productions, a new semi-professional theatre company formed by Celia Musikanth, Coleen van Staden and Lynda Jennings. He plays Michael, the father of 11-year-old Henry, who before the curtain rises had his front teeth knocked out by Benjamin in revenge for Henry’s meanness.
“Although Michael thinks he’s ‘Mr Nice guy’ he’s not a lovely man!” said Brian. “As the four supposedly educated and civilised parents of the two boys meet to discuss the fight, everything unravels deceptively fast and furiously as they descend from levels of social decency to seething social destruction. How is it possible?”
Perhaps by the end of 80 entertaining minutes, the audience might think that swift youthful justice is a better option than the wounding words of adults…
To book, call the Masque Theatre on 021 788 1898 or email

Light bulb moment!
Seriously irritated by my neighbour’s incessant texting while Peter Martens was playing the beautiful slow-movement of Dvorak’s cello concerto at last Thursday night’s symphony concert, I found distraction in counting the dead light bulbs on the City Hall’s seven chandeliers.
Six of them with two tiers of lights are arranged in a circle around a three-tiered chandelier. Some globes were not visible
from my balcony seat so I counted all six small chandeliers and settled on an average of 40 bulbs
on each and 70 on the biggie. Out of 310, guess how many were dead? Just two! I couldn’t be-
lieve it and re-counted. And just
as conductor Bernhard Gueller put down his baton, a third light bulb flickered, faded and died out. Three out of 310. Amazing!
When I did a similar count under a different administration some years ago nearly half the lights were out. So our City is working for us… most of the time anyway.

Canna thanks
Thanks to the response from readers all my excess cannas have gone to new homes. Some went to Yvonne Kapp, a resident who takes care of the Princess Christian Village in Tokai. Not only will I see the salmon-coloured cannas from the road but she gave me some of the daisies which were removed to give the Ladies Mile cannas a sunny spot near the gates.

Tax hate
“Dad why do you hate income tax?” asked 10-year-old Johnnie.
“See how you’d feel if I bought you an ice-cream and ate a chunk myself?”