“Oh! Just a minute,” my vet said. A few moments later he returned with a squeeze bottle filled with amber liquid. “Give him a bath.”
“Him” would be my problem-child cat, Westin, an unlucky feline who was abandoned in a hotel room with 29 other cats. Westin was the last of the group to be adopted from the Arizona Humane Society – all named after hotels in an homage to their discovery – because of myriad health issues.
But when my foster son announced, “He’s just like me, Mom. No one wanted me either,” our fates became entwined. Poor kitty ruptured an eardrum the week after we brought him home. He didn’t eat for ten days. Every morning, I expected to find a sad, lifeless, little body. But then, one day, rather miraculously, Westin dug into a dish of food and he hasn’t stopped eating since.
He’s a big boy now, but allergies and infections continue to plague him, despite my ministrations. In fact, I do believe after the last year and a half of ear cleaning and drug dispensing, I should have at least a few credits in veterinary medicine.
I stared at my vet. I like him. He’s a hockey fan. So we talk about hockey and Westin.
“What do you mean give him a bath?” I tried to picture the event. For some reason, a cat wearing a shower cap popped into my head, no doubt courtesy of some silly web meme.
“Make sure you don’t get any soap in his eyes. And, let the suds stay on him for five minutes, before you rinse it off. Take him in the shower so he can’t get away.”
My vet said this so matter-of-factly, he might have been describing a process as effortless as making a cup of tea. I wondered just where I should hold on to Westin during his watery excursion, but I didn’t ask.
As I sometimes do when perplexed, I consulted my sweetie pie. After all, he was the one who assisted in the creation of the kitty purrito, the roll-the-cat-in-a-towel-device that allowed us to deposit drugs into Westin’s ears and mouth without incurring a trip to the emergency room.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” was Ryan’s initial response. Then, more thoughtfully, “I’ve heard some cats like water.”
We stared at one another, clearly understanding that Westin was probably not one of those rare beasts.
When I assured Ryan that a bath was required and that we were the bathees, he started his research. He asked the guys at work if they had ever bathed a cat. Seems there was quite a bit of laughing at that point.
“Maybe we could get Westin some booties,” Ryan recommended. “I don’t want to get all scratched up.”
Since I too did not relish the thought of my flesh being sliced into bloody streamers, I hit the Internet. I found a lovely pink and yellow kitty-bathing bag that didn’t look very practical and a black face mask called a cat muzzle that appeared to be something the Marquis de Sade might have fancied. And while there were kitty booties for cold weather, there didn’t seem to be any for the humane protection of humans. There was also a product called nail caps, a glue-on invention that the conscientious cat owner can apply to each kitty nail to prevent the scratching of furniture. As most non-crazy cat owners realize, you have two choices. Love you cats or your furniture. One can’t have both.
Tonight, we will tackle our sudsy assignment. Stay tuned for Act Two of A Cat in the Bath.
Anne Butler Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other? The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.