03 February 2007

On Giving Oscar a Bath

Meow's post with the video on how to bath a cat reminded me of when Oscar was a kitten. (He is going to be so embarrassed that I told you this.)

As you may recall from his photos, he has reasonably long fur and a thick coat. As a kitten, he was a bit of a scaredy cat and any time he was alarmed or frightened, he would lose control of his bowels. He would come inside with a terrible mess all down his hind legs, poor little thing, and only being three months old, he was still learning to groom himself...which meant that I had to take a hand.

I would fill a container with warm water, get towels, shampoo and anything else I needed for this exercise, ready for the ordeal. Then...I would get Oscar. The first time was a breeze. I just went and picked him up. I lowered him into the water. There was an earsplitting yowl and a drenched cat climbing up my torso, accompanied by another earsplitting yowl...this time from me. We struggled, the cat and I. I managed to lower him into the water again and this time was able to get some shampoo on the nether regions. All this time, there were shrieks, yowls and wails, so much so that the neighbour came over to investigate.

Then the vocalising turned into more sinister growls and hisses, the claws were out and the air was blue...from me, not Oscar, although I think he was screaming his fair share of invective. My neighbour stood there holding his sides in absolute hysterical laughter...afterwards, he said he'd never seen anything so funny in all his life. Me, absolutely soaked, with a furious (wet) ball of spitting kitten, who was doing his best to spread shampoo, water and the mess off his legs from floor to ceiling.

I eventually managed to get Oscar clean and wrapped him in a warm towel. By this time, he was totally uncontrollable and no amount of petting and stroking would calm him down. I let him go and he shot into the bedroom and under my bed. I left him to settle down and went and abused my neighbour for the lack of assistance. He was still doubled up with laughter, the tears pouring down his cheeks. He reckoned he hadn't seen anything so funny before. I become rather disgruntled with all this and snapped at him, that the next time Oscar came home covered in s**t, he, my neighbour, could have a go at getting him clean.

Unfortunately, I had to bath Oscar about another four or five times and each time was a traumatic as the first. Poor Oscar would sleep for hours afterwards, absolutely exhausted from fighting me. Fortunately, we don't have that problem now. He is six years old and nothing seems to frighten him...in fact, I think he is the one that is threatening to any stranger that encroaches on his turf.

I would hate to have to bath him now, he's bigger, heavier and stroppier. When he had to be shaved at the vet's, they sedated him. I was glad about that though, because that was really traumatic for him. I only washed him, I didn't shave all his fur off and leave him naked to the world.

Anyone else with stories about bathing a cat?


Gattina said...

Oh my I saw myself with Arthur ! I don't remember why I had to bath him but it was an awful experience ! I was as wet as the cat and the bathroom looked as if the devil had whirled in there ! Arthur ran away in the garden and disappeared and I dropped like a heavy potatoe bag on the next armchair ! I was in transpiration, all red and breathless and near a nervous breakdown ! But Arthur came back sat in front of me and .... washed. Apparently he found himself not clean enough ! So far it had been the first time, but you never know ! BTW he is on my photoblog today, for the word "gross" !

Kentucky Gal said...

we bathed Clarence in a shampoo to help his coat...he was having some bare spots...he don't like it atall!! But, he smells so good aftewards...kind of like a baby!!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That picture of Oscar is one of the cutest kitty pics I have ever seen.

The cat washing video that Meow posted is so funny! I have watched it 4 times and played the sound over the phone to my mother, who is presently in a rehab center, this afternoon. She enjoyed it immensely.

I refuse to give Alex, the cat who owns me, a bath! When it has been absolutely necessary that he be bathed, I let his vet do it. (I have enough scars on my body from his claws as it is).

Puss-in-Boots said...

Gattina: Sometimes I think the bathing is more traumatic for the owner than the cat!

Tammy: Sometimes it can't be helped. The cat has got to be bathed...and we have the scars to prove it!

Nick: It certainly is a funny video. Cats have really exaggerated reactions, don't they? I mean, can you imaging a dog reacting like that cat did?

Peter said...

Good story Robyn, photos would have been nice, especially of the neighbor.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Peter: Unfortunately taking photos was the last thing on my mind at the time. Although I'm surprised my neighbour didn't get his camera. That's the sort of warped thing he would have done.

PEA said...

Oh Robyn...I'm just rolling here, can just picture it all! LOL I'm afraid I would have been standing beside your neighbour enjoying it all! hehe But...I do know what a struggle it is to bathe a cat! I always had cats while growing up and mom would make sure that bathing it was my job. I remember having scratches all over my body and being more wet and full of shampoo than the cat! lol Hugs xox

Puss-in-Boots said...

Pea: Oh, you poor thing! That must have been an awful job for you as a child. I don't normally bath my cats, but when they lose control of their bowels, one has no option!

FelineFrisky said...

Cat bathing is dangerous work! Have had to do it several times, mostly with new additions to the family. They get a flea bath at the Vet's office.

You are SO right! The noise is awful, like you're pulling their legs off! And mad for days afterwards. Just miserable.

I don't try anymore. When my oldest, Blessing, needs a bath, he's off to the groomer's now.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Wonderful to have you by! I'll be back! D :)

Lee said...

If you read over in Meow's blog, I commented on one particular time I bathed Pushkin, the beloved cat I had before these two rascals I have now. I bathed Pushkin quite a few times. He'd be okay for the first few minutes then he used to get in a frenzy, so his bath time was always done quickly, when he was still in the shock of the whole thing! ;)

Goodness...these two would pack up their suitcases and leave home if I ever tried to give them a bath, I'm sure! I've threatened them a few times when the come in after rolling around in the red soil!

Puss-in-Boots said...

felinefrisky: Thank you for your comment and good luck at the vet with the bathing!

Lee: Yes I did read about effort in bathing Pushkin. I don't think cats normally need to be bathed, but there are always exceptions, aren't there?

It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

My story is that I WILL NEVER EVER bathe a CAT!! I think that is one of the best ways to get yourself killed!! I have had cats now for all of our married life and believe me that has been a VERY LONG time!! I would never attempt it EVER!! We have two SIMON and ANNIE!! Simon would never ever let us and ANNIE is just new here so I would not want to traumaize her right now. Boy what a story...Sandy

Meow said...

Fortunately, I have never needed to bathe a cat ... my last cat would have most certainly shredded me from head to toe (he was a big, strong boy!), and now Bambi ... it is enought of a fight to get her in a carry basket !!! Uh-uh, no way, no how !!
Your story is brilliant .. poor Oscar !! (Poor Robyn, too !!)
Take care, Meow

TorAa said...

We actually don't bath our cats. We, the very few times necessary, uses a wet cloth (same temp as for babies) and wash out the dirt. *no* shampoo, as the cats adores their own, unique smell.
Another thing is, I would not dare to dip them into water, I know how strong they are and what kind of killer weapons they do have in their razor sharp clows.

However, I understand your neighbour, standing there with a big laugh.Looking at big human struggle with little, tine cute kitten.Next time, ask your neighbour at least bring a camera.

Great history.


Liz said...

That is so funny. A wonderful description.

We have Daughter's cat staying with us at the moment. She is a vicious little thing. Will rub against you, crying pitifully, but when you bend down to smoothe her, she will turn around and claw you. It's a challenge every time to try and stroke her before she gets you!

Puss-in-Boots said...

Sandy: Oscar will be six this year and hasn't been bathed for the past five years. I think he learned to groom himself real quick!

Meow: Thanks for your sympathy (from both of us). As I said in my post, Oscar's a lot bigger now. He doesn't much like being brushed, especially on his tummy. I actually think he's ticklish!

Toraa: If my neighbour ever, ever showed up with a camera, he'd be dead meat!!

Liz: My parents had a cat like that (do you think they might be related?). He had a beautiful face and would walk up to you, looking as if he wanted you to stroke him. But if you did, you were in danger of losing a hand!