Cat Scratch Fever

Cat Scratch Fever
Late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel called it “Katie Couric meets Siegfried & Roy.” In fact, not many people missed Fox 8 reporter Kathleen Cochrane’s brush with a surly shelter cat. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and E! all aired the now-famous footage of the 27-year-old reporter taking a claw to the side of her head as the camera rolled. We recently talked to Cochrane about her scrape with fame.

How did you end up holding that 
particular cat?

The executive director of the shelter picked out that cat and said, “This would be a good cat for you to hold.”

Were you hurt?
Oh, yeah. I was bleeding in three places on my left cheek — they were more like puncture wounds than scratches. The cat pushed her paws into my face; then pulled them out. … I instantly started laughing. A lot of people think that I started crying. But I did not. Trust me.

Did the response surprise you?
I knew when it happened that it would end up on YouTube. Something like that caught on live television? You can’t beat it. … My phone started ringing at 8 a.m. the next morning. ... The station got a call from “The Tonight Show.” They asked for the video, and they were going to pay me a talent fee. But, since it was NBC, [management] decided against it. Everybody else has gotten the clip from YouTube.

Do you consider this your big break?
I hope not! I hope I advance my reporting skills.

So this isn’t going on your résumé tape?
Maybe I would. Just to trigger the memory: Oh, that’s the cat girl.
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