If you have ever given a cat a bath, you will know the experience can be described by one of the following: Funny, challenging, heartbreaking (the look that says “why are you trying to kill me?”), soaked-to-the-bone wetter than the cat, ear-shattering as in louder than a blast-off at Cape Canaveral, or excruciating torture (blood and all). One thing it can never be described as: A Dull Moment.
Every few years, I became a glutton for punishment by deciding to bathe all three of our feline children on the same day. What can I say, except I love a challenge? I figured I always ended up as a drenched rat in a flooded bathroom with each kitty bath, so might as well make it one day rather than spread it out… I would start with Guerita and Roly Poly, as they were the easier ones to bathe. Actually, “easier” might not be the right choice of words… “Less difficult” would be more accurate!! Guerita’s cries for freedom inevitably pierced my ears, and Roly… well, Roly hated baths, but mostly he just pierced my heart with his pitiful “why are you trying to kill me?” look!
And then there was Simba.
If it was a single-cat-bath-Simba-only day, I would approach Simba quietly, fully wrapped in my Cat Bath Armour (4 long-sleeved shirts – one wit a turtle neck, thick sweat pants, flip-flops), with a towel over my shoulder for wrapping the kitty to be bathed. The second she saw that towel, Simba took off running, looking desperately for a place to hide. On those days when I bathed all three kids, Simba would go into hiding the moment I picked up Guerita. As Simba’s chubby little body wouldn’t fit into small places, it was never difficult to find her. But picking her up- that was another story. Her tiny razor-sharp claws dug into anything and everything to prevent me from taking her out of hiding, as she clung desperately to her sanctuary, growling in protest. Yes, the fun had begun!
Before I gave Simba baths, I did not know that cats could growl. Simba was most definitely a growler. I also did not know that cats were related to octopuses. I have no doubt – NO doubt- that Simba was part octopoda, as I was witness. My entire body was witness, as each of her eight fully-clawed paws sprung to action. Each of my arms, legs, back, stomach and neck had claws clinging to it, while her 8th leg was desperately trying to grab a piece of a nearby wall to climb. Simba’s growls turned to howls when I managed to free one leg to shut the bathroom door behind us, locking us inside with no place for her to hide. The soothing words that came from my lips seemed more for me than for Simba, as they did nothing to calm her. I had early-on realized it was best to bathe the kitties in the shower, where I had more control.
Control? Who was I kidding? I never had control!
Basically, bathing a feline octopoda is best done like this: First- have courage. Without courage, don’t even try, as your kitty will know your weakness. Be prepared: Be on the alert. Stand firm, and be ready for anything! In a shower, where there are 8 liters of lukewarm water in various bowls set in the corner, next to the open bottle of kitty shampoo. Make sure it is open BEFORE kitty arrives, as the second you release both hands to open the bottle, the kitty will be clinging to your back, knowing she has you beat. Lock kitty with your legs and one hand holding the back of her neck, swiftly take the shampoo and pour a little on kitty’s back. Just a little, as you don’t want lots of suds. You won’t have enough water to rinse kitty off, which will be worse for YOU than for kitty! Slowly pour a quarter cup of water to get suds going, moving as quickly as you can to get the suds around while avoiding all 8 fully-clawed legs trying to pin you down. Gently pour water over kitty to rinse, rinse, rinse. Don’t worry that most of the eight liters of water have already been knocked over by kitty- it helps her feel empowered! Slowly get up and grab the dry towel from where you set it on the one spot in the shower that you knew would remain dry – the shower head. For safety reasons, you may want to wait until all of the water has drained before grabbing kitty off of the floor to dry her. This could take an hour, so hopefully you have no appointments on Kitty Bath Day.
After the Cat Bath: Tend to your wounds (those claws inevitability find a way through your armour), drain the bathtub that is now your entire bathroom, use the last remaining 5 over-sized bath towels that you own to soak up your now very pruny skin, and most importantly – don’t forget the kitty treats. When all was said and done, Simba always forgave me once I opened that can of tuna. I was once more her BFF!
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
All will be forgiven if you hand over that tuna, Mommy!