On Sunday, June 15, KING 5 News reported that a cat who received widespread media attention after "attacking" his family has been rehomed. In March, a Portland, Ore. cat named Lux reportedly trapped his family in a bedroom after "attacking" the family's baby. The family called 911, indicating that they were too afraid to leave the barricaded room.
Jackson Galaxy, the host of "My Cat From Hell," which airs on Animal Planet, intervened on behalf of the cat. The episode featuring Lux aired on Saturday, June 14. During the episode, Galaxy consulted veterinarian Amelie Hatfield, of the Cat Hospital of Portland to determine if Lux had any conditions. Hatfield suggested that Lux had a form of feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which can cause aggressive behavior. While there's no cure, medication may help control some of the symptoms.
After this tentative diagnosis, Galaxy recommended that Lux be rehomed - for both the cat's well-being and for his prior family's safety.
According to Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, hyperesthesia syndrome is a a bizarre disorder that can affect cats of all ages, although its onset most often occurs with mature animals. Clinical signs typically occur in brief bursts of odd behavior that may last only one or two minutes.
Alexander de Lahunta, DVM, emeritus professor of anatomy at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, stated: “Some people believe that it belongs to the general obsessive-compulsive group of conditions. But I believe it is a seizure disorder.”
The 22-pound Himalayan had lived with his family in Portland. According to one of his owners, Lee Palmer, Lux attacked his 7-month-old child after the baby pulled the cat's tail. The baby sustained a few scratches on the forehead.
At seven months of age, the baby who pulled Lux's tail was too young to understand kindness to animals, but it's never too early to reinforce this concept and provide a safe environment for all of your family members.
The ASPCA offers tips for parents of young children sharing homes with animal family members, noting, "As they explore the world, young children do a lot of grabbing, poking and pulling. You’ll eventually teach your child to treat your pet with gentleness and respect—but he won’t be able to grasp these concepts as a toddler."
There's even a children's book entitled Tails Are Not For Pulling, available on Amazon.com.