Don't be fooled by the pretty red bow.

Notorious "self-defense" cat killer Joseph Petcka took the witness stand in Manhattan Thursday, describing his victim — Norman, the orange house tabby — as a raging, rearing, growling banshee.

Norman, his girlfriend's little kitty, brought on his own demise by attacking twice — maybe three times — that night in March 2007, Petcka told jurors.

The tall, dashing, out-of-work actor spoke so dramatically about little Norman's angry "stance" — and about how the cat "lunged" and "reared" and "threw me on my butt" — that for 90 minutes of testimony, it was almost possible to forget that Norman was fully declawed and weighed only 7 3/4 pounds.

"Norman came and lunged at me, throwing me on my butt by the coffee table," Petcka told jurors, testifying on his own behalf against felony animal-cruelty charges that could put him in prison as long as two years.

"I went down with my hands down towards Norman, and Norman reared around and bit into my hand, into my thumb area.

"I was screaming, 'Uhhh! Norman! Get off of me! Uhhh!'"

Petcka, 37, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound former Mets minor league pitcher, told jurors he was twice forced to defend himself from Norman's fangs. The first time, he said, he "swiped" the ferocious feline away with his pitching arm. The second time, he kicked Norman "hard" with his motorcycle boots.

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