Saturday, June 16, 2007

Residents on guard after attack by feral cats

Varsity House, a Moiliili apartment complex, has a warning sign posted on its laundry room door: "Warning: Humane Animal Trap in use on these premises."

The sign was visible outside the room where board members were meeting yesterday following an attack by a pack of feral cats on a woman and her dog the night before.

Resident Laurie Martin, who witnessed the attack, said feral cats are often fed outside Kirin Restaurant on South Beretania Street. The apartment and the restaurant are separated by a wall.

Using traps supplied by the Hawaiian Humane Society, Martin said tenants have trapped four or five cats in a week and a half.

On Wednesday night, Deena Frooman was walking with her dog to Star Market when both were attacked by five or six feral cats on the Kaialiu Street side of Kirin Restaurant. Frooman suffered a 7-inch-long scratch and claw punctures to her leg. Kekoa, her dog, suffered a punctured nose and scratches near his eye. An ambulance and police responded to the attack.

Linda Haller, director of shelter operations at the Hawaiian Humane Society, called the attack "highly unusual."

Kirin Restaurant manager David Ho said the cats, about 10 of them, do not live at the restaurant but come by about 5 p.m. when the employees are eating. He expressed surprise on hearing of the attack, saying: "Those cats are very timid. You make a gesture and they run like hell."

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