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Re: how to bathe a cat was: cat collars was now cat door

  • To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
  • Subject: Re: [CHAT] how to bathe a cat was: cat collars was now cat door
  • From: "Marge Talt" <mtalt@hort.net>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 19:42:09 -0500

> From: Pamela J. Evans <gardenqueen@gbronline.com>
> It's one of those things you've got to start them on when they're
> little. Jesse actually bathes her cats, I can't imagine. I'd be in
> emergency room if I tried that w/ her highness. But she gets them
> to it when they're little bitty.

You're right - actually you have to start cats at the really tiny
kitten stage to get them used to a lot of things, including going
outside.  If they never have, often they never want to.

When I lived in San Francisco, I used to have to bathe my cats on
account of the heavy flea infestations in that city - amazing fleas.
Anyway, it was one heck of a job.  Always had to just get in the tub
with the cat.  Cats can become vertical and turn inside out when they
want to.

I've saved a giggle about bathing cats....hmmm....know I saved it;
gonna go look for it......

Found it...sorta long, but think all you cat persons may get a
chuckle out of it.  No idea who first wrote it; it was posted to some
list years ago by someone who'd saved it and didn't know who wrote

"How To Bathe A Cat"
Author Unknown

Some people say cats never have to be bathed.  They say cats lick
themselves clean.  They say cats have a special enzyme of some sort
in their saliva that works like new, improved Wisk - dislodging the
dirt where it hides and whisking it away.

I've spent most of my life believing this folklore.  Like most blind
believers, I've been able to discount all the facts to the contrary,
the kitty odors that lurk in the corners of the garage and dirt
smudges  that cling to the throw rug by the fireplace. The time
comes, however, when a man must face reality: when he must look
squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to the contrary and
announce:  "This cat smells like a port-a-potty on a hot day in

When that day arrives at your house, as it has in mine, I have some
advice you might consider as you place your feline friend under your
arm and head for the bathtub:

Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of
concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength.
Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.  Don't try
to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him. 
Pick a very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet
square, I recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close
the sliding-glass doors as if you were about to take a shower.  (A
simple shower curtain will not do.  A berserk cat can shred a
three-ply rubber shower curtain  quicker than a politician can shift

Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the
skin from your body.  Your advantage here is that you are smart and 
know how to dress to protect yourself.  I recommend canvas overalls
tucked  into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh
gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face mask, and a long-sleeved flak

Prepare everything in advance.  There is no time to go out for a
towel when you have a cat digging a hole in your flak jacket.  Draw
the water. Make sure the bottle of kitty shampoo is inside the glass
enclosure.  Make sure the towel can be reached, even if you are lying
on your back in the water.

Use the element of surprise.  Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to
simply carry him to his supper dish.  (Cats will not usually notice
your strange attire.  They have little or no interest in fashion as a
rule. If he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking
 part in a product testing experiment for J.C. Penney.)

Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival.  In
a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub
enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and
squirt him with shampoo.  You have begun one of the wildest 45
seconds of your life.

Cats have no handles.  Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and
the problem is radically compounded.  Do not expect to hold on to him
for more than two or three seconds at a time.  When you have him,
however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and
rub like crazy.  He'll then spring free and fall back into the water,
thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three
latherings, so don't expect too much.)

Next, the cat must be dried.  Novice cat bathers always assume this
part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at
this point and the cat is just getting really determined. In fact,
the drying is simple compared to what you have just been through. 
That's  because by now the cat is semipermanently affixed to your
right leg. You simply pop the drain plug with you foot, reach for
your towel and  wait.

(Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of
your army helmet.  If this happens, the best thing you can do is to
shake him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the
water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach
down and dry the cat.

In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg.
He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will
spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you.  He might even
become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster

You will be tempted to assume he is angry.  This isn't usually the
case. As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your
defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide to give him
a bath.

But at least now he smells a lot better..."

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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