Stalker cat 'attacks from the back'

Janet Kettman says she and her neighbours on Sunset Circle are always looking over their shoulders in fear the stalker will strike again.

“He attacks from the back,” Kettman said on Monday. “You never see it coming. He has six toes on every foot, which constitutes a very formidable weapon.”

Kettman said she was attacked twice by Lewis the cat, whose owner was due back in court on Tuesday on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment.

Ruth Cisero, the cat’s owner, recently withdrew her bid for special probation and opted for trial because she would have had to allow Lewis to be euthanised.

Eugene Riccio, attorney for Cisero and Lewis, said: “We’re trying to negotiate a fair resolution of the case, which will include Lewis’s life being spared from the executioner.”

On Tuesday, Cisero was in Bridgeport Superior Court on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment.
A hearing was set for June 20 to determine whether she could get special probation and have her cat’s life spared.

A few animal-rights protesters showed up on Tuesday wearing T-shirts in support of Cisero and Lewis. “They want to kill a cat for a scratch,” said Marisa Sampieri of Fairfield, one of the cat’s supporters. “These people have to get a life.”

Neighbours say they have been terrorised by Lewis, saying the cat’s long claws and stealth have allowed it to attack at least a half-dozen people and ambush the Avon lady as she was getting out of her car.

“I fear for the people on Sunset Circle,” Kettman said. “Whenever you go out, you look in back of you to see if there is anything stalking you.”

Kettman says she was a champion racquetball player, but at 76, the retired nurse is no match for Lewis. In the second attack last December, Kettman said Lewis bit her three times and left about eight deep scratches.

“He will not retreat,” Kettman said. “His mouth is open and his tail is swishing. Also, he gives out mixed signals. He would sidle against you and purr. You bend down to pet him and he’d attack you.”

Lewis was put on the antidepressant Prozac, but his owner was worried he became too sleepy, Kettman said.

There have been unconfirmed sightings lately of Lewis at 5am, Kettman said.

Riccio confirmed that Lewis was on Prozac at one point. He said Cisero has kept her cat indoors, and he suggested Lewis’s rap sheet is not as long as his neighbours say.

“I think the characterisation of Lewis’s prior conduct has been somewhat exaggerated,” Riccio said.

Lewis has other supporters, who have sold more than 500 “Save Lewis” T-shirts to raise money for his defence fund.

The special probation offer with conditions was made at the insistence of one woman that Lewis attacked on February 20. In a letter to prosecutors, she said she would only agree to probation for Cisero if the cat were put to death.—Sapa-AP

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