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July 16, 2009

Washing the cats

Neither Daisy nor Oscar has ever had a bath in their lives. Tongue baths from mothers, others and their own fine appendages, sure, but never have they had their bodies doused with water.

That all changed yesterday after I applied a topical pesticide to my cats on the advice of my vet. This was the new version of the stuff I've used over the past few years to prevent heartworm. They don't go outside, but they do have access to a screened porch, and apparently that's enough of a risk that they need an anti-bug treatment.

This year's treatment (Advantage Multi) was said to be a step forward from the Revolution brand I'd used in the past. So I applied it yesterday morning after clipping their claws in a monthly ritual of cat treats and clipping. I was not prepared for their reaction to the Advantage. Despite the fact that I applied it as directed to their skin between their shoulder blades, they can still groom their and quickly licked some of the stuff off their fur. Nearly immediately they started gagging, drooling and foaming at the mouth. Their eyes dilated and Daisy gagged and assumed the Cat Vomiting Position. They were both clearly afraid and uncomfortable. I called the vet, who assured me that it was just "mouth irritation" from the Advantage, but if they vomited I should bring them in. I stayed home and watched the cats for an hour. Oscar settled down, but Daisy couldn't shake the lick, gag, drool/foam cycle, so I faced facts and realized I'd need to give her a bath.

It was a bit of an ambush - She'd never had a bath before and always liked hanging out in the bathroom with me while i showered. So I turned on the water, grabbed a cup and some baby shampoo and plopped her into the paw-deep water. Needless to say, she was less than thrilled, and scrabbled and yowled and tried desperately to get away. I did manage to hold her down long enough to get some soap on her and then rinse her off before she'd finally had enough. I toweled her off and let her sit and groom while I had my shower. And when I pulled back the shower curtain when I was done, she unleashed a meowed litany of what I imagine was cat profanity at me.

Later in the day, I returned home after work to find that Oscar still had the chemical-matted fur on the back of his neck and was licking and scratching it repeatedly, so into the bath he went, too. Unlike Daisy, as soon as Oscar's claws touched the water, he fought like a wild cat, twisting and flailing and jumping out of the tub. I finally grabbed him and compromised with a sink bath, in which I soaped up his neck and then poured a couple of cups of water over him to wash it off. I had a work dinner later that evening, but thankfully I had removed all my work clothes and changed into something more suitable for cat bathing, so when I ended up covered in water, soap and cat hair it wasn't the catastrophe it might have been.

And I definitely hope that we can go at least four more years before anyone needs a bath again.

July 16, 2009 at 08:07 AM | Permalink

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