Fun_People Archive
25 Apr
Re: cat bathing

Date: Mon, 25 Apr 94 13:43:18 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Re: cat bathing

Forwarded-by: Flip Breskin <>
Forwarded-by: Stephen Diercouff <sgd>
<forwards scrubbed>

                       Cat Bathing as a Martial Art
                              by Bud Herron

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
Juarez." 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
you 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 positions.)

    -- 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-sleeve flak jacket.

    -- 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 that 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 is  - for cats - 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 your 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 figurine.

    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.

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []