Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just call me Benedict Arnold…

Dharma has begun to…how can I put this gently?

Well, she’s stinky.

There, I said it. She smells like a porta-potty on a hot day. And since she is a sweet and also very loving kind of cat who just lurves to spend all of her time snuggled up on an accommodating lap…this is what might be called A Problem.

She needs a bath, is what I’m getting at, here. And I just made an appointment with a groomer who will give her a nice spa-style pampering (stop laughing) (OK, that’s not fair of me…I’m still laughing m’self… “spa-style pampering”? Dude…it’s a cat, she really doesn’t “do” the whole spa-thing…) with nail trim and capping (which only lasts a couple weeks at best but in that time will keep her nails from shredding the carpet on the stairs any further) for forty bucks.

I was going to bathe her myself. (STOP LAUGHING.) No really, I was! I wasn’t going to pay forty bucks to have somebody else torture the cat with soap and warm water. C’mon. I can totally handle this, right?

Wrong. It turns out that I (still, because I have to admit that I have always ended up taking my cats to the groomers for anything other than brushing and maybe that quick tip-of-nail trim thing) lack three important things when it comes to giving my cat a bath.

One is the ability to hold onto a cat while wearing thick leather gloves. I can either bathe the cat, or wear the gloves. Not both.

The other, related thing is that I can’t say, “Oh well, skin heals!” in a casual, devil-may-care sort of way. I have a thing about my hands. I am fond of them. I like them in their current state, which is mostly whole with perhaps just a slight dry skin problem. I don’t like them grated.

And the third thing I just don’t have is the ability to instill enough fear into the cat that she will freeze and let me do whatever I’m about to do. Cats, even other people’s cats, generally have me figured out in about six seconds flat. “Pushover…prone to doling out treats…worries about ‘hurting me’ (hahahahahaha!) and thus will not hold tight enough at bath or nail-trimming time…”

Cats can get away from me in less than a second. I’m holding her paw preparing to clip, and {squirm – pssssshooooooow!} the cat is in the Caribbean with a fruity cocktail playing with the umbrella and laughing about how inept I am. “Yesh, purrrrr…I figurrrrrre I’ll stay herrrrrrre for a week or two…she will be so worrrrrrrried she’ll forrrget all about that grrrrrrroooming…purrrrrr…”

“You need to hold that paw really tight,” my husband will say, reprovingly. (By the way…he also can’t make himself hold it or her tight enough to prevent escape. Just sayin’, Mr. “You need to really HOLD that cat if you want to keep her from getting away.”)

“I DID!” I squeak in protest.

“Did not, look, the cat is totally gone. We’ll never find her.”

“Yes. Yes we will. You check under the bed, I’ll go see if she’s booked a ticket to Cancun on my Mastercard…”

In short (in what again, Tama?) (shut up), there are people in this world who bathe their own cats. There are people who, upon hearing that I am willing to pay someone else forty dollars to bathe and trim the nails of my cat, recoil in horror and then try to tell me how easy it is to DIY the cat-grooming thing.

And I’m sure they are correct.

However. The last time we tried to take the tips off her nails, just a wee tiny bit off the tip, I lost a t-shirt and a pair of my good jeans, along with a fair amount of the skin under them. She put a quarter-sized hole in my t-shirt (right over the nipple, and may I just say thank GOD for well-padded bras!?) and then proceeded to rake her claws along my jeans like a rototiller at full speed. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I had dozens of tiny holes and what seemed like thousands of runs in my jeans. Good thick 100% cotton denim jeans, too, not those whimpy “stretch” jeans that seem to be made of mostly tissue paper with a little cotton just for the sake of tradition.

I was not amused. And then my husband suggested I take off all my clothes before we tried it next time.

You can imagine the look he got.

So…I am going to find her carrier, sneak up on her, and wrangle her into the carrier, probably by unfair play. She will be royally pissed about it, but in the end…she will be clean, and her claw will no longer click on the Pergo or shred the humans she’s trying to snuggle…or drive them away with her powerful miasma of unwashed animal.

She will be a happier cat, in the end.


And hopefully, I will still have enough fingers left to continue blogging, when we’re through. (She doesn’t like the carrier either. She really doesn’t like it. She resists the carrier with the strength of ten thousand cats. Sigh. Right…be strong, Tama…it’s for the common good…)


(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

You tell the BEST stories!

It's a good thing your cat will never meet my cat. They'd exchange trade secrets and become even more difficult.

Anonymous said...

I heartily recommend booking such things for "kitty nap time". They are so much easier to pop into a carrier then, especially if you have the carrier open and ready before they wake up. Good luck!

froggiemeanie said...

Send her here...I'm an expert cat bather. I've never even been scratched despite the fighting and hissing and pleas for mercy. I'm also awfully good at medicating cats when they need it. I was stupid enough to adopt a very sick, flea infested kitten many moons ago and got good at this stuff. She'll like Canada ;)

Anonymous said...

My vet taught me a very valuable lesson on inserting an unwilling cat into a carrier. Turn the carrier on end with the door opening upwards. Scoop up the cat under its front legs and let its body dangle. Gently lower the cat into the carrier. Works a treat. Something about the cat not seeing the carrier until it is too late.

Dysd Housewife said...

See, here is why I LOVE cats. They are opinionated as hell. And they AIN'T taking a bath is they don't WANNA.

By the way, "baby" inserts claws into flesh immediately upon HEARING water running, so I may indeed have your dilema myself someday soon.

Jeanne said...

Good call on the cat groomer (which I find to be an oxymoron, as cats are self-grooming, supposedly). A bass-playing friend of mine nearly ended his career when the cat bite he received on his first finger right hand while attempting to help his GF bathe the cat got infected, went septic, and resulted in major reconstructive surgery to repair the damage.

Someone should design a home cat-bathing device. Like a combination stocks/incubator for the sink, so you can put the cat in it, they can't move, and you can stick your hands in and the sprayer and soap up the cat... hmm. I might be onto something...

Anonymous said...

I had always had fights with Shadow when I tried to clip his claws, but I had noticed that if the vet or vet tech pulled out the clippers he would sit regally and hold out his paw as though it were being anointed. So, when I knew his claws needed to be clipped, and he needed to see the vet anyway, I asked them to do it.

No problem, they said.

Apparently he had changed his mind. Two people had to hold him down. "He seems to not like this," said one.

"Well, duh, why do you think I asked you to do it?"

Science PhD Mom said...

I'm so glad I have a bird. If there is any hint of gargantuan struggle about going into her carrier, I get out a towel and victory is in hand. She's gotten used to it now--not even worth making Mom get the towel. Still tries to sneak in a quick mouthy "how dare you put me in HERE" bite though.

Lydee said...

poor kitty!
hope she's a snuggly good smelling kitty now!

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

Had your cat gone to the groomer today, she might have been keeping my cat company.

Click over to my blog for the full scoop including PICTURES.

She is not happy. Especially since every family member (including the other cats) laughs whenever she enters a room.

mama edge said...

Two words: Tranquilizer gun.

Anonymous said...

Funny video on "How to Wash a Cat".


Anonymous said...

Ouch. Not me for the cat-bathing. I'd be right behind you in line at the groomer. My dogs don't like baths, but they also don't shred me...I just get lots of long, mournful, guilt-inducing looks from big brown eyes. And since I have three teens, I'm adept at ignoring guilt-inducing looks. :-) It all works out.

Anonymous said...

We had a white, long-hair, indoor cat when we lived in Alabama (a.k.a., flea country) and had to bathe her often. (We never figured out how she got the fleas... and don't say it was us. Eew.) It was such a pain because it took both me and my husband, one to hold and one to wash. We still got bitten occasionally, but it was that or go broke from weekly grooming fees during the rougher summers.

ellipsisknits said...

The biggest thing is to cut the nails *first*. Preferably a few days in advance so the 'corners' wear off. If you can't get the nails cut - well, I wouldn't bathe a cat with untrimmed claws either.

As to holding them still for manicures, we tend to sit on them. (well, pin them under/between the legs) which makes it mostly doable at least with our cats. (can I qualify that sentence more?)

That said - enjoy having someone else do it for you ;)

Rena said...

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! I have bathed that cat, and it took my hubby wearing leather gauntlets to pull it off! And she still managed to get me a few times. She is the sweetest creature on the planet until you try to dip her in water.

Save your skin, take her to the grommer.

Rena said...

Oh and about the tipping the carrier upwards and backing the cat into it, my vet said the same thing and I swear Dharma has eyes in her butt, because she managed to splay her body outward like a flying squirrel.

How do you get her in, Tama?

Anonymous said...

Why does your cat stink? If there isn't an obvious reason (matted nastiness in the fur for example) I'd consider calling the vet. Cats really are self-cleaning and there may be a health issue if the cat is really stinky.

Unknown said...

We just gave my cat a bath on Friday night! It was the worst experience ever (ok, probably not the WORST, but it was up there). No one got hurt, but to listen to those horrible, pittiful cries, it just broke my heart!

I've heard the whole thing about not giving cats baths, but he managed to get into corn oil, and was getting my entire house oily (took some time to figure out where it was coming from, and I'm still finding oily spots). Plus I was worried about him ingesting all that oil.

We first rinsed him off by putting him in our shower (it has doors) and moving the showerhead around to get him wet. Didn't do much - he still had shampoo all over him. We ended up putting him in the bathroom sink with a bowl of chicken livers in front of him, and then brought in bowls of warm water to pour over him. (like someone else said, the sound of running water totally freaks him out) I think he was cold, becase as long as there was warm water running over him he was fine. As soon as that stopped, though, he was gone!

He looked so pittiful... but Natasha's pictures are even better!!