I suppose I should have taken note of Pudge’s demeanor before I decided to place my life in his paws.
A wise dog once said that the safest way to give a cat a bath begins with thoroughly cleaning the toilet…
I was in a panic. Pudge had fleas. I know, all cats get fleas, but before you begin to chuckle about my paranoia, I must tell you that Pudge is allergic to flea collars, flea powder, flea spray, and all of the one spot flea treatments. Use any of these treatments, and within days, Pudge’s hair will fall out, and he will be covered by a rash consisting of tiny, itchy lumps and large oozing sores. Unfortunately, Pudge is also allergic to fleas.
In our old house in town, we never had much of a problem with fleas, but here on the edge of the forest, with a three-legged opossum living somewhere in our dungeon of a basement, and mice attempting to convert the attic into a country club, things are quite different. We kill the fleas. They come back. We kill them again. They come back, and Pudge is always the one to suffer. In spite of daily flea combings, he was beginning to rash up and his beautiful black coat was starting to thin. Pudge needed a flea bath.
I was not new to the idea of bathing cats. Years ago, I had a Persian mix that was a notorious bed wetter. (The cat would actually wet him self while napping.) We made him sleep on a plastic mat that saved our furniture, but often I had to place the sopping wet cat into the sink where he would sit patiently as I gave him a good scrubbing. Later I had a huge, old Tabby that refused to wash himself. I would gently lower him into a tub of warm water, and he would purr as I washed him clean. Even Pudge’s sister seems to enjoy an occasional bath.
So innocently assuming all was well, I took Pudge into the bathroom, ran about eight inches of warm water into the tub, and lowered him in.
It took me less than two seconds to realize that a lean, muscular, seventeen-pound cat can triple in size, strength, and agility when dropped into a tub of warm water. As I struggled to keep him in the tub with one hand, and use a cup to get him wet with the other, I felt blessed by the fact that he had bad teeth. Unfortunately, he felt blessed by the fact that he had very healthy claws. Less than fifteen seconds after being lowered into the tub, he managed to fight his way free and went up over the side of the tub, over the toilet and into the corner. From there he gave me his black panther, “Touch me and you die!” scowl. Planning my moves cautiously to prevent loss of my fingers or eyes, I lunged forward, clamped my hands firmly behind his front legs, and rushed him back to the tub. Working at breakneck speed, I soaked him thoroughly, then grabbed the flea shampoo, and lathered him up. It was then that I learned my second important lesson. A seventeen-pound cat with a bad attitude becomes very slippery when covered with shampoo. (A special note here: a T-shirt is not appropriate attire when bathing a cat. Consider investing in kevlar or chain mail.)
Seven minutes later, looking as though someone had pushed me into the river, I allowed Pudge to escape from the tub for the tenth time. Water was dripping from the vanity and from the toilet. It ran in tiny paths from far up the bathroom walls. The six towels I had laid out to dry the cat with were unsuccessfully sopping up the water that covered the entire floor. Again, Pudge sat in the corner, his yellow eyes dancing with insane anger. Knowing that I would never get him to submit to a towel dry, much less a few moments with the blow dryer, I opened the door and set him free.
They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a spitting mad tomcat certainly gave this old woman an education.
Deciding that I must have done something wrong, last night I combed the Internet in search of videos entitled “How to Bathe Your Cat.” Repeatedly I watched as placid animals, seated in the tub or sink, patiently accepted their owner’s attention, but none of the videos told me where to contact a lion tamer or when to call the paramedics. This was the only video clip that came close to Pudge’s bath experience. (Note: I don’t believe that they used a real cat for all of these shots.)
I did find, however, that the Chinese have developed an automatic, cat washing machine. I kid you not. Pour in the shampoo, drop in the cat, slam the lid shut, and press start. In about twenty minutes, you have a clean cat. No scratches, no biting, no flooded bathroom. Hmmm…
Auto cat wash machine
The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye
Pets, Bathing a Cat, Washing a Cat, Cat, Cats, Humor