Dartmouth, N.S. — A frenzied feline that sent people scurrying from their home during a bloody weekend rampage has been put down.
Robert and Laurel Mancini were upstairs in their two-storey home when Sherry Higgs, their 14-year-old babysitter, arrived at 3 p.m. Sunday to take care of their two children.
Ms. Higgs had just finished admiring the family's new kitten, Kahlua, when Cocoa Puff, an adult siamese, came around the corner and started clawing the girl's legs.
"The cat just snapped," said Robert Mancini.
Cocoa Puff was not the kitten's mother, but the pair had bonded and the older female was even nursing the 12-week-old male.
"I think she felt she was protecting the kitten," said Laurel Mancini, who ran downstairs to find her children and their babysitter under attack.
"The cat was puffed out like a porcupine," she said.
The three youngsters ran upstairs, but Ms. Higgs didn't make it.
"The cat caught her at the top of the staircase and began to attack her again," Robert Mancini said.
"So I grabbed a pair of jeans and I pinned the cat to the floor. The cat rolled over and then bit through the jeans into my thumb," he said.
"I had to release the cat. The cat then attacked the babysitter again, over and over."
Mr. Mancini managed to knock the cat over the stairs and they all hid in upstairs bedrooms. He tried calling the city's animal control officers, but they refused to help.
"We fled the house," he said. "We all ran for our lives."
Robert Mancini took the kids to see a doctor while his wife went to work. When they returned home a few hours later, Cocoa Puff seemed calm. But at 6 p.m., the cat went ballistic again.
"It let out a vicious scream and lunged at me," Robert Mancini said. "It came downstairs with one intention, and that was to harm us."
He tried dragging the cat outside on his leg while the animal gnawed and clawed him.
But when Cocoa Puff saw the door closing with her and Mr. Mancini outside, she bolted back inside. That left the concerned father locked outside with no key and his children held prisoner by the cat.
One child climbed on top of the kitchen table, but Cocoa Puff jumped up and started mauling her again. The girl eventually fled upstairs, but paid a bloody price. Her legs are covered with deep gouges and bruises.
A neighbour heard her screams and called police.
Four officers eventually got the door open, cornered the cat and pushed her in a cage. But they turned over a couch, a bed and a coffee table in the process.
"The kitchen was destroyed," said Robert Mancini, who took the cat to the vet, where it was held until the owners determined it should be destroyed.
He said the animal didn't usually like outsiders, but had never attacked anyone.
"She never in our four years hurt anybody or threatened anybody. When strangers came in she would run away. But she was very loving to us."