Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Fear of the Bath

Saturday is washday. Not of clothes, as is normal, but of cats. Yes, in our house we wash even our cats. No animal smells wafting round the rooms for us. Every week they must be washed, whether they like it or not. And generally it's NOT.

When we first got Poppy she was a kitten. Right from week one she was bathed. And she did not like it. On only her second time in the bath I ended up wearing a scared cat on my head. Claws dug into my scalp as she tried to climb away from that nasty water.

But with regular washings we hoped that she would soon calm down and learn that water wouldn't hurt her. But, one year later we were still holding her down in the bath. However, with one small cat it wasn't too difficult to control her long enough to wash her beautiful long fur.

Then, enter complications in the form of two more cats. Sammy and Jenny came from a home where their own worked all day and had no time to spend with the cats. Bath day came round and I prepared to wash, not one angry cat, but three.

The towels were prepared. The shampoo was ready. The water was running. And I went hunting. Sammy peered up at me, not understanding what was going on, right up until I attempted to put him in the water. Suddenly I had a wild cat on my hands.

Grey body twisted and turned in my hands as I struggled to placehimin the war water. Finally, with one last frantic twist, he dashed out of the laundry, spreading water all over the tiled floor. I was left staring after him, clutching a deep scratch.

But I am nothing if not detirmined. Ten minutes later, after a long chase, ammy was safely in my hands. It took two of us to hold him in the water, but at last he was done. Then came Jenny. I was not in a mood to have another fight, and so took the precaution of having a helper to hold her in the water while I washed her.

Finally came Poppy. It felt so easy washing her. She seemed to behave herself better that day, as if she could tell that she was better behaved than either of the others.

Nowadays Jenny hides whenever she heard me preparing the laundry. We search under beds, inside cupboards and under sofas until we find her. However, after the first miserable mews, she sits in the water with no problems at all.

Sammy and Poppy hide under Mum's bed. We drag Sammy out, unhooking his claws from the carpet time after time. Once we get him into the bath however, he sits there, his tail drooping in the water, mewing pitifully, but not doing much else.

No, it is Poppy who is the problem now. She hides away when we search for her, wails dismally, and tries to get out of the bath at every opportunity. A few weeks ago I let go to get some shampoo. At that, she was off. Her wet fur flopped everywhere as she scrambled to get away. She slipped and slithered on her own water as she fled.

I followed her, trying hard to keep my balance on the wet tiles. Finally, after chasing her through the whole house, I cornered her behind an armchair. Holding her tightly, I transferred her back to the sink, while the other girls mopped up the flood on the floor.

Washing cats. Is it worth all the wet and bother just to have a nice, clean smelling house? Well, we think so.

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