A ferocious feline terrorized a quiet Fairfield neighborhood, to the point that residents are seeking help from the law to stop the so-called "Terrorist of Sunset Circle."
Lewis, a 5-year-old, black-and-white longhaired cat, attacked at least a half-dozen people on the cul-de-sac and even took on the local Avon lady, neighbors say.
"He looks like Felix the Cat and has six toes on each foot each with a long claw," Sunset Circle resident Janet Kettman said. "They are formidable weapons."
Kettman said Lewis attacked her twice.
"I was walking along the sidewalk when he sprang at me. I never saw it coming, but that's how it often is. He comes at you from behind, springs and wraps himself around your legs, biting and scratching," she said. "The last time I had three bites and eight scratches and I ended up at the walk-in clinic.
"The Avon lady was getting out of her car when Lewis attacked her from behind," Kettman said. "She ended up going to the hospital."
Kettman called the Fairfield Police Department's animal control officer.
"I don't feel the cat could kill anybody, but it could latch onto people's legs and arms and bite and scratch to the point where they could be hospitalized," said Animal Control Officer Rachel Solveira.
Solveira was so concerned about Lewis' attacks in the neighborhood of neatly kept homes off High Street that she placed a restraining order on him. It was the first time such an action was taken against a cat in Fairfield and possibly in the state. In effect, Lewis is under house arrest, forbidden to leave his home.
Solveira also arrested the cat's owner, Ruth Cisero, of High Street, first for failing to comply with the restraining order and then for reckless endangerment.
At first, the restraining order allowed the cat limited freedom if Cisero gave him Prozac. But the cat refused to take the drug, Cisero said. And it got out of the house and attacked another neighbor, Maureen Bachtig, according to police.
"I felt Lewis' claw on my left leg and I shook him loose, he then lunged and clung to my right leg, leaving one very deep puncture wound, one long deep gash across the top of my knee," Bachtig told police. She refused to discuss the incident with a reporter. Meanwhile, the Avon lady, Donna Greenstein, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against Cisero. She refused to comment on the case.
A tearful Cisero said the neighbors have spun the situation out of control.
"I've tried to tell them to just stay away from Lewis and he will stay away from you; this has caused complete havoc for me," said Cisero, who has applied to the court for accelerated rehabilitation — for the cat.
Cisero said she adopted Lewis three years ago and he never attacked her or any members of her family. "He's a cat's cat, he climbs trees and sits on people's roofs but now he's forced to be in the house all the time."
She theorized that Lewis may be acting in self-defense. "One day he came home covered in eggs because someone had egged him and another time a woman sprayed him with a hose. They have been tormenting this poor animal."
But Bachtig sees a more sinister side to the feline.
"The neighborhood is afraid of this cat," Bachtig said. "Lewis will stare you down, and you never know how he will react."