No, I haven't decided to give up habits of daily hygiene and good grooming in favor of
going about 'au naturel!'
The debate was whether or not to attempt bathing the cat tribe as part of the flea control
which has become necessary.
We're being told that its a bad season here in south-central Kentucky for FLEAS!
Daughter Gina has two dogs as well as her three cats; I have more cats than makes good sense [more than I ever intended to adopt!]
G. declared war on the flea infestations this week and armed with advice from her Cousin David regarding flea combating products we set out for Tractor Supply. TSC is a wonderful place where you can buy food for any kind of pet or farm animal as well as simple vet supplies, cleaners, parts for farm implements, wool socks, jeans, boots--a much friendlier destination in my mind than any up-town mall.
G. cornered her animals as soon as we returned home--a regular rodeo of dogs splashing in the bathtub, water sloshed all over, dog escaping through the side porch door and taking refuge in the neighbor's yard.
The cats were no easier--G. drove over about 9 p.m. to exhibit her numerous scratches.
I hadn't the gumption to tackle cat baths last evening, but was up at 6 this morning determined to get it over with. At that, I wondered if lathering and rinsing cats is really the most efficient way to declare war on fleas.
I drew tepid water in the bathtub to a level that would come up to a cat's belly, set out the pet shampoo, spread a thick rug on the floor, put towels to hand and hauled in my first victim.
No cat likes to be wet. No cat likes to be held down and lathered.
Teasel was fairly cooperative--minimal flailing and seemingly grateful to be bundled in a big towel, even tolerated the blow dryer on a low setting.
"Maybe this won't be too bad," I encouraged myself.
I brought Charlie in next. Charlie is a laid-back cat, a buffoon. I was quite unprepared for his violent reaction to bathing. He escaped the tub three times---tried to climb the wall, nicking the paint, caught a claw in my wedding ring and tried to hold on. Rugs, towels, the floor, my overalls were soaked. I blotted water out of his long soggy fur and turned him loose.
Mrs. Beasley was next. She was really quite good, but roared in a deep voice through out --sounding like a doleful foghorn. As I squished suds through her coat, she ducked her chin into the water---"Burble, burble, meow, me--oooow!"
At this juncture I decided I needed fresh warm water before the next batch of cats, so flipped the lever to open the tub drain. The water sat there. I moved the lever up and down, realized that something in the innards had disconnected.
[The bathroom is the one room we didn't renovate, other than replacing a horrid carpet with vinyl tile and tearing off 30 year old wallpaper.]
Nothing for it, but to fetch in pliers and screw drivers, dismantle the stopper thing-y.
On the way to find tools, I discovered that someone [Charlie, no doubt, hoping to flee into the cat yard] had over-turned the big planter containing my Christmas cactus, which had dumped onto a choice 'beefsteak begonia' smashing off most of the leaves.
It was only 7 a.m. and already things were out of hand.
I swept up the potting soil, exchanging baleful glares with Charlie who had betaken himself to a box in the living room. With the tub stopper inoperable, the cat bathing moved to the kitchen sink.
As per novels of a certain era, lets just say that a 'veil should be drawn' over the
proceedings of the next hour.
J.'s spoiled, pampered Raisin screamed blue murder, dragged two large bath towels into the sink. Mima, the small gentle girl cat twisted like a slippery eel, splashing the kitchen floor with about a gallon of water. Dear old Eggnog and phlegmatic Maisie were bathed with the minimum of fuss. I decided that no way would I even attempt to capture Chester who suffers from paranoia at the best of times.
I pushed the driest of the towels through the swamp on the floor, hauled them, dripping, down to the laundry.
I kindled the fire in the livingroom fireplace, built another fire in the family room.
Leaving damp and disgruntled cats strewn about the house, I put on my wellies
and trekked out to feed Pebbles and the barn cats.
Rain has fallen softly most of the day. I like to peg laundry out to dry in sun and wind, but decided that since I had to deal with a pile of soggy towels I might as well launch a sort of fall cleaning.
The washer and dryer have chugged all day with cushion covers, a quilted bedspread, the throws and small blankets used in a feeble attempt to keep cat hair off furniture.
Clean, fluffy-dry cats have been fitted with flea collars.
All of us who keep indoor pets struggle to come to terms with the very real mess that animals can make, and with the cost of veterinary care, decent quality food and supplies necessary for our pets.
I have never been without cats--I wouldn't wish to be without them.
But, Oh! there are the days when I despair of this tribe who can't keep their paws on the floor, but must climb into cupboards, sit on the table, shove things onto the floor--OVERTURN MY PLANTS!
There are skid marks on the edges of windowsills and stands, unspeakable shreddings of upholstered furniture, and the ever renewable supply of cat hair. And then there are hairballs! And litter boxes.
The quirky individuality of each cat, the comfort of feline companionship, of nattering 'conversations' and throaty purrs surely balance the scale, but as I've told my tribe today, "It's a good thing I love you!"
The two youngest members of the family were not subjected to baths.
The vet removed their flea collars last Friday when they were in for surgery and didn't return them.
Wilbur is a wary boy--he chirps at me, then whisks out of reach.
Willow is a love--she natters, twines about my ankles, parades across my desk.
Heaven knows we didn't need kittens, but here they are, already absorbed into the family.