Sunday, March 6, 2005

cat bathing experience (not as bad as you'd think)

Our kittens are 8 months old now, and despite collars and spray and those little drops that you put on their neck, they still scratch and I still see fleas on them on occasion. So I decided to give them their first bath. I was going to do it this evening after church, when Tim would be home to help me (he is working this afternoon). But we got reminded this morning that there is "Teen Talk" tonight (an additional little Bible study geared towards college-age kids). So I impulsively decided to give them their bath this afternoon... alone. I figured that I would go slowly and be patient with them as they got used to being wet, then being shampooed, then being rinsed off.

Side note here. You know how adrenaline gives you that "fight or flight" feeling? Well our cats are very much "flight" animals. They sometimes fight with each other and roughouse, but usually they do their own thing. They are non-confrontational over all and want to remove themselves from a bad situation. Like when I took them (in turn) over to my aunt's house. She has a grown dachsund (spelling?) and a little puppy dachsund. I took the cats over when I visited her last and they did not want anything to do with that puppy or its mama. They would slink away and try to make themselves small and wanted nothing more than that crazy little bouncy thing with the floppy ears to leave them ALONE. The puppy, of course, just wanted to play and didn't understand why her new friend kept trying to leave and ignore her.

Back to today now. I got everything assembled first, and the cats were both very curious as what was going on. I had two buckets of warm water in the bathtub, a plastic cup, the little bottle of shampoo, and a towel. I decided to bathe Rainy first since she is a little more skittish than her brother. Her claws went out when I set her into the (dry) tub, but I had my hands on her and petted her and tried to help her calm down. As soon as I started pouring water on her though, she decided that this was a very bad situation indeed and kept looking for openings to try to escape. I found that if I kept my hand on the back of her neck she was less likely to try a flying leap out of the tub. I wanted to stop her escaping also so she wouldn't get hurt. I found out that wet cat feet are a little slick when she and her brother slipped in the tub a couple of times. The most rebelling she did was when it was all over and she was rinsed, and I wanted to towel dry her slightly. As bad as the bath situation was, she thought that being briefly confined in a towel was MUCH worse and so I didn't get a lot of drying done. She shook herself off and started to put her hairs back into place as I started in on her brother.

Now Tuxedo is generally a milder cat, but he is much larger and has much thicker fur than his sister. I started to put him in one of the buckets to help me get him wet, since when I just poured water over him it ran off his thick long hair. I got him in maybe as far as his back legs and he would go no further. I relented and put him back into the tub. I didn't want him to thrash around and get stuck underwater and drown. Whenever I would hold my hand on Rainy's back she would stay pretty still, but Tuxedo kept moving around, always looking for a way of escape. When he was rinsed off I towelled him while he was still in the tub, then let him escape to groom himself too.

They are both doing OK now and I think they'll forgive me for this indignity I made them suffer. I went to let them out of the bathroom a moment ago and the came right out like it was no big deal. Tuxedo was still ruffling his feet with every step, but Rainy purred when I scratched her still-wet neck. I am surprised they came out of the bathroom at all since I left the heat lamp on in there to keep it warm. They've never been soaking wet before and I thought they would be cold. But maybe they were just trying to get as far away from the bathtub as possible.

Before today they LOVED to go play in the bathtub and drag their little balls in there, etc. It will be interesting to see if they continue to play there or if the trauma was too much for them. :)

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