I get one day off a week. I spend about six hours a day, six days a week at my own business, then work full shifts overnight Tuesday through Saturday at a convenience store. I spend the rest of my time sleeping, which leaves me with only Sundays to myself.
It's often difficult to figure out what to do with that one precious day of free time. I'd rather not spend it running errands and cleaning house, but that's usually what ends up at the top of the priority list. Today I devoted my afternoon to lunch with the family, a short shopping trip for a few groceries and necessities, and a long-neglected "parental" task: cat bathing.
We have three. Shake is almost two years old, a long-haired brown mackerel tabby. He's the most beautiful cat I've ever seen, and he's a dream to take care of. When we adopted him, we brought him straight home and gave him a bath. Let me rephrase: When we adopted him, we brought him straight home and *I* gave him a bath. Alone. He stood still, no whining, no clawing, and patiently endured the ordeal. Every few months, I bathed him again. It helps get rid of the loose fur that makes him itch and makes his skin feel better (makes him smell better, too), and he's always seemed to appreciate being clean.
About a year after we adopted Shake, we adopted two little kitten sisters. Sporty and Scary (not because we're Spice Girl fans per se, but because we wanted "S" names to go with Shake) are also brown mackerel tabbies, but they're short haired. We bathed them on their first night home as well, though they didn't quite take to it as well. Lots of flailing and whining, although with them being just barely 14 weeks old, they were easy to keep hold of.
I know there's a bunch of people who don't believe you should bathe cats. Whatever. We feed our cats both dry and moist food, and they like the moist food that's chunks in gravy. They eat that stuff, then lick themselves. Give it a few months, and they smell like their food. It's not cool.
Now they're almost a year old, and with my busy schedule the cats haven't gotten their seasonal baths, as I'm the only one in the house willing to tackle the task. But Scary's fur had started to feel greasy, Shake needed relief from the shedding, and they all smelled like cat food gravy to some extent.
Knowing the kittens had gotten bigger over the last seven months, I enlisted help from my partner. We started with Scary, as she's the most skiddish. I figured she'd be the hardest to deal with. She could tell something was up when I began to carry her to the bathroom, and she nearly clawed my nipple off trying to get away. We managed, however, to get her uncollared and into the tub, and after just a few minutes of struggle we got her subdued and soaped up. She wriggled a lot and freaked out at every unusual noise (like shampoo bottles falling into the tub and dripping water) but didn't yell, and beyond a few puncture wounds in my forearms, the bath went off fairly easily.
We toweled her off, re-collared her, and let her go, then snagged her sister. Sporty's not as easily spooked as Scary, and didn't freak out on the way to the tub at all. We got her collar removed and put her in the water. Well, at least we tried. I'd been able to get Scary to hunch down far enough that only her head and back were above water, but Sporty wasn't going for it. One paw hit the water and she curled into the tightest ball you've ever seen. She whined. She tried to claw her way up my arm. When she realized I was going to put her whole curled-up little body into the water, she stiffened her legs and refused to be dunked. Somehow we got her soaped up and rinsed, although I wasn't sure she was going to let me really get her thoroughly free of suds before she managed to climb over me. Shake came in and peeked over the edge of the tub to investigate the reason for the noises she was making, but I suppose after seeing that it was just a bath, he couldn't be convinced to intervene. He walked away totally unconcerned, as if to say, "It's just water, Sis. What's the big deal?"
After wrangling her into a towel, getting her collar back on her, and getting her as dry as we could before finally allowing her to go lick all the hair back into place, I'd gained a new appreciation for what a good little kitty Shake really is. We took off his collar, carried him to the tub, and got him good and wet. I let go to grab the soap. He stood still. I soaped him up right down to the tip of his fluffy little tail, and he stood relatively still (something about a bottle at the end of the tub really interested him, and he didn't want to stay in the middle where I wanted him to be). We got him all rinsed clean and wrapped him in a towel. He nuzzled my cheek while I dried him off.
Too bad Shake couldn't have given his little sisters a little pep talk beforehand. He's such a sweet little boy.
Our house might be a mess, but our kitties are now squeaky clean and seem to have forgiven me. I just hope all my scratches heal before we try this bath thing again.