It was on the other side of one a.m. when the blood-curdling sound of a cat being attacked rang out.
Emilie Thurber, 22, said she awoke out of a sound sleep at her mom’s place in Chilliwack Thursday night.
Without really thinking about it, she ran out into the street in her pyjamas and bare feet, never expecting the gruesome sight before her.
A pair of coyotes were tugging on either side of the beloved ginger and white cat, Gideon, in the middle of Watson Road. Teeth were attached.
“I’d been asleep on the couch when I heard the cat scream and it got me up,” Thurber remembered.
The bizarre scene was like a nightmare — except she was definitely awake.
“It was like they were playing tug-of-war with him,” said Thurber.
Without really thinking about it, she charged them.
“They saw me running at them and they ran away,” Thurber recounted.
The coyotes just dropped the cat, surprised.
“I think I scared them.”
They then sprinted off into a field nearby.
But not before they inflicted a puncture wound behind the cat’s ear and a laceration on the forehead that meant six stitches. Gideon broke two teeth and is missing a claw.
“He definitely put up a fight,” Thurber said. “He must have chomped down on one of them. He’s such a trooper.”
Because of the vet’s concern about possible internal damage from the cat “being rag-dolled” by the coyotes they put in a drain tube on his neck.
When she found him, the cat was near done. Panting and severely injured.
Emilie’s mom, Lee Aubry is convinced the cat is pretty special. He was lost and found at her old address.
Aubry said she was asleep through the whole ordeal that has injured and traumatized her five-year-old cat, Gideon. They recently moved from another part of Sardis, after she sold her home and moved to the south side.
“Emilie is my hero,” Aubry told The Progress. “She’s a pretty amazing kid. If she hadn’t been staying overnight when this happened, my cat would be dead.”
The injuries were severe. Puncture wounds, lacerations, possible internal injuries. Emergency veterinary bills are around $1700 so far. They drove the poor cat to the 24-hour vet in Abbotsford.
But he’s alive.
In case anyone wants to suggest Gideon’s owner should have kept the cat indoors all the time, she said flat out that was impossible.
“He’ll keep the whole house awake all night if we don’t let him out,” Aubry said. “He is part Maine Coone and he has a loud meow.”
They don’t typically let him out roaming at night, but they were trying to acclimatize the relocated cat.
Of course, there are coyotes everywhere.
“I just didn’t think it would happen here,” Aubry said.
Thurber said she was told by a vet tech — after the fact — that people who try to run and scoop up pets that are being attacked in situations like the one she faced, sometimes get attacked themselves by wildlife.
“They will even jump up and snatch the animal back from you,” Thurber said.
She said she’s glad she didn’t actually hear about that until she had rescued the cat.
“I would probably still have done it,” Thurber said with a laugh.
“I think I would have taken the chance.”