Monday, March 8, 2010

How to bathe a cat

It's that time of year in America for responsible cat owners to take on their animals' winter coats. (Today it was 70 degrees, or as I thought of it, 70 things I would rather be doing than going in to work.) With the weather warming up, your kitty really doesn't need all that hair anymore... so here is a helpful guide to get you through.

Things you may need:
  1. Sedation. This will work best if there's some for you and some for the cat.
  2. A trip to your local Petco, so-named because you will go co-mpletely crazy before you leave... with $30 worth of organic cat shampoo, pet nail clippers, and useless toys that will interest your kitty less than an empty cereal box or toilet paper roll. That is if you're strong. The weak leave Petco with catnip "candies," perfumed body mists for pets, plug-ins for their homes that periodically release chemicals "calming" for cats, and homeopathic concoctions to slip in a cat's water to treat their "nerves." I think there's a special place for people who give roofies to their animals, and it's called the nut house. Although, let me get some... [See 'Things You May Need, #1.]
  3. At least two sets of hands
  4. At least two sets of towels
  5. Divine intervention
I shouldn't have to tell you to get your $6 out of those nail clippers before you crack open the $11 pet shampoo. But I will, because you need to know.

Use the expensive grooming tool you may have bought at your recent trip to Petco (or a cheap comb for people) to brush your pet as best you can. The hair you pull out now is hair that you won't have to clean out of your tub, so spend some time on this.

And then introduce your pet to the water. Don't forget your pet's inner Goldilocks - the water should be neither too hot nor too cold; it must be just right. Also, at this time put both sets of hands to good use.

Your heart may break halfway through the bath, when you see your pet reduced to a dripping, scrawny, broken-spirited thing. DO NOT LOOSEN YOUR GRIP. That is when they will suddenly extend a paw, grip the edge of the tub with the strength of 1000 men, and bolt free. At that point, you should give up washing the cat, and start washing your bathroom, which will somehow be messier than the kitty was to begin with.

I suggest using some kind of cup for rinsing - fill with bath water, then pour - rather than trying to force a live cat under running water, if you value your life. And speak in a soothing voice! It's nice for your cat and stress level. Then when your cat is rinsed, get ready with the towels!

Once you have your sopping wet cat bundled up, find someplace warm to sit, and soak it in. Literally, the water from the cat will come through the towel into your clothes. Figuratively, you should enjoy the moment. Change out the towel if you have to. Unless your cat is afraid of your blow dryer (Franc), you can use it on a low-setting to help them dry out faster.

I can testify that in the end, spring cleaning your pets is well worth all the effort, because what is nicer than a soft, frizzy, sleepy cat that smells like papaya pet shampoo? Maybe nothing.

1 comment:

  1. great post, bathing a cat can be really funny. petco is definitely the hardest place to walk out of without spending at least $30. this christmas, by insanity or just the fact that i wandered around petco for half an hour, i allowed myself to spend $5 on a santa hat and beard combination for my sister's cat that even had a little mouse stuck in the beard. the cat wore the hat for about 15 seconds.