Adventures in cat bathing

If you have a dog, you know they get dirty. It’s in their innate doggy nature to roll in things that stink. As understanding as you might be to their predilection for all things smelly and muddy, if you are going to let the dog in the house, or if you want to bring your dog with you anywhere, they are going to need a bath. Buttercup, my mom’s dog, needed a bath.

Now, my cat, Snickers, never really gets dirty. Other than the first time we had gotten him, of the street, covered in dirt so much that he was the color of a snickerdoodle, he hasn’t really needed a bath. Yes, I give him a brush when he needs it,  and, yes, if he gets stuff on him, I use kitty bath wipes or kitty bath foam (rub it on, brush it off) which is great for water phobic cats, but he has only been given a bath one other time since that first time.

Let’s just say I was appalled at how his bath went down. My mom grabbed the pet crate that we stopped using (the cats started to fight over who got to sleep inside, so I had to take it away), crammed in one of the cats, closed it, put it in the bath tub, grabbed the gooseneck shower head to bring it down to their level, and turned the spray on. When I came home, both cats seemed rather skittish and looked a bit rough around the edges. Poor cats, getting hosed down like their fur was on fire because Mom was certain the cats would claw us to shreds if we tried to give them a normal bath. I was afraid they might’ve been traumatized. (I also decided to get rid of the pet crate so she couldn’t do it again.)

So the day before yesterday, I had to give Buttercup a bath. Snickers, as usual, was watching curiously as I got the bathroom ready with towels and a brush to get the tangles out of Buttercup’s fur, so I picked him up and put him in the bathroom before I grabbed Buttercup. He watched sleepily as I brushed out her fur while she whined and tried to leave. He was even relaxed when I started the water… at first. As I put Buttercup in, and her whines became more distressed, he became agitated and started crying too. So, after a bit, I let him out.

When I was finished washing Buttercup, had toweled her off and let her out, I went in search of Snickers. I quickly got him and brought him back to the bathroom. Now, I wasn’t planning on doing a full bath – I just wanted to see how he’d react to getting wet. He was quiet as I put him in the still wet tub. He started mewling when I turned on the water. I filled the tub about two inches deep so all four paws were wet. Then came the big test. I started scooping up water and pouring it on him.

Snickers, for the first year or so, had been very wild, very skittish. He’d get scared of hands intruding into his little enclosed spaces and would lash out, clawing at us. As the year went by, he did it less and less, and soon the only scratches I would get were essentially accidents, such as a hind leg slipping from my arm and a claw catching on my skin – ouch! (And those were usually my fault.) I had refused the idea of declawing him as was suggested to me because of how aggressive he was at first, but that’s like removing the part of your fingers with the fingernails on them so why would I do something so cruel to a cat? So this was a definite test – would he claw me for getting him wet, or would he stand still.

To his credit, Snickers only cried softly a little bit and was mostly still, only walking down to the other end of the tub hoping I might let him out a few times. Buttercup, in contrast, for the first three years, would panic so badly every time, I would often wear long sleeves so she wouldn’t scratch me as she struggled to jump out of the tub. I got Snickers completely wet, running my fingers through his fur, even his belly, which he doesn’t usually like to even get petted, and he behaved incredibly well, even letting me towel him off and use the hair dryer on him a bit, all without freaking out. He was such a good boy. I hope it will be just as easy to bathe Sheba, Mom’s cat.

Now my cat looks fluffier than ever and his fur is so soft, even without having used soap. Yay! I bet if I had just hosed him down, I would’ve gotten clawed, but hey, who likes getting sprayed in the face? Wait, when was the last time I trimmed his nails? Wow, I could’ve been seriously shredded if Snickers didn’t trust me.

Hope you are having your best day yet.


~ by cerridwyn eldritch on June 8, 2013.

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