Bzzzz June 12th, 2007

Unflattering-Miss-P.jpg

The whole day started off alright. The sun was shining. The hunting was good. The little dogs were the usual annoyance, but under control nevertheless.

Miss P had just come in to cleanse her palate with a little bit of Deli Cat and was headed back outside for a sun bath.

But then…

Suddenly she realized that she wasn’t being allowed to go back outside. She sat by the door waiting for me to read her mind. Then she stepped up the campaign with some meowing. She knew something was wrong. Miss P is used to having a voice-actuated human and suddenly I was not responding to commands.

It was starting to look bad. She decided it was best to head to the basement for little siesta until things blew over.

That’s when the trouble really started–when she saw me heading for the cat carrier.

“Oh, crap,” I could see her thinking.

Only…the door kept falling off when I picked it up.

Okay, that’s bad. I didn’t want to carry a crazed cat in the car for 30 minutes to the vet. I could just see her bouncing around from side to side trying to escape. Neither of us would arrive alive. So I had to resort to the prissy dog carrier with the Velcro closure. Oh, that was a good idea. Did you know that cats can easily escape from carriers with Velcro closures?

At least I had Ben to drive for me. So he drove while I rode shotgun and kept poking Miss P’s paws back into the carrier whenever they would snake out from the little cracks around the warped Velcro closure. It took constant vigilance to make sure she didn’t make a break for it and cause an accident.

And I never really thought much before about the full range of meows in her repertoire. There’s the standard “meow.” Then there’s the more emphatic “MEOW.” There’s the very sad and somewhat desperate “Whooooeow.” Then there’s the angry “EEEOOOOWWW!” We had the full concert.

As much as she did not want to go into the carrier, when we got to the vet she didn’t want to come OUT of the carrier. Suddenly that carrier looked like a pretty fine place to be.

We pried her out and the veterinarian did a nice, thorough annual wellness exam. Happily, Miss P didn’t seem to mind much the three shots.

Then Evil Bumblebee showed up and asked the doc if he could knock Miss P out, give her a bath and brush her hair.

See, Miss P has lived with us for 8 years. She is not at all prissy and I rarely see her grooming. She is a VERY DIRTY cat. We call her the Pigpen of the cat world.

During those 8 years I have given her ONE bath. You would have thought I was killing her–and she was NOT going down without a fight. Given her extreme and aggressive response I guess we were both lucky to come out of it alive. But I learned one important lesson: Don’t give the cat a bath. She doesn’t even want to be brushed.

Eight years is a long time to wander through the woods, kill things, take dirt baths and NEVER bother to attend to your own personal hygiene. Oh, she may take the occasional token swipe at her chops, but that’s the extent of this cat’s grooming. As a result, things were looking a bit grungy wherever she decided to take a rest. Her white pillow in the basement has a black spot in the middle. The guest room bed has a dirty grey spot where she camps out. I can even tell where she’s been hanging out on the outdoor furniture cushions. She leave trails of ick wherever she goes.

We’ve been pretty tolerant of her general untidiness, but it had gone too far. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, I hired the paid mercenary vet to do the dirty work and Miss P got her bath. At least he could knock her out, where I had to do battle without the benefit of drugs (for either of us). She had to spend the whole day at the vet hospital during which time they did bloodwork, knocked her out and then bathed her, brushed her and cleaned her ears all while she was asleep.

When she got home, she was still woozy and staggering around a bit. But today, she’s like a new kitty. She looks about three pounds lighter. She wants me to hold her all the time, which I no longer mind doing because she’s not disgusting anymore. She actually seems quite happy with herself.

But perhaps that’s just my projecting my pleasure at her finally being clean onto her. Or maybe it’s because she’s just pleased that she gets to start fresh at getting dirty all over again by wandering through the woods, killing things and taking dirt baths.

P.S.

Yes, I know Deli Cat is feline junk food. It is all that Miss P will eat. On the occasions when I have tried to give her a better, more nutritious food she spends DAYS standing at the food bowl yelling at me and generally making life miserable for everyone. I have given up since the Deli Cat is just a small part of her overall diet, which consists mostly of critters. (Eeeww.)

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