|Banks County Opinions...||
DECEMBER 4, 2002
By: Angela Gary
A lesson in patience
Actually, I did not start out a cat lover. Growing up, my Gramss mean, old Tomcat was not a good representative for the felines of the world. Nope, he was a grumpy old cuss that never wanted to do anything but catch mice. No petting, no purring, no contact! His contrary nature led me to have a no-cat policy.
It wasnt until I moved south many years ago, that I actually began to reconsider my decision. One Christmas Eve, a beautiful Siamese cat turned up on the doorstep. He made himself at home immediately and took control of the house and my heart. He was a talker. He named himself Dat Fat Rat Cat. I asked him what his name was and that was his reply. It didnt take him long to train me in the ways of cat-ownership. It was easy. Just do as Im told.
Of course, getting him to do what I wanted, like take an occasional bath, was a battle. After a few fights over the process, he settled down and let me have my way with him in the utility sink. I loved him dearly and Im sure the feeling was mutual. His favorite spot was curled up in my lap all 28 pounds of him. He was a big guy!
I think back on him every time I go to bathe Lyla, my Persian. Now, ever since she was a kitten, she has gotten regular baths. Youd think shed catch on and just let the thing happen. But, nooo! She has to put up this big fuss and meow and growl and be as obstinate as possible about the whole thing. This has been going on now for 11 years.
Yesterday, it was time for her bath. I picked her up and she promptly sprayed me, one her latest tactics to get me. Like thats going to make me change my mind about the whole thing.
Into the sink for the wetting down part of the ordeal. Her ears flatten and she gives me this I hate you! look.
I dunk her head and she, of course, shakes, sending a spray of water all over me. Ive learned that if Im going to wet her down, shes going to wet me down, too. Now comes the shampoo part. I drizzle the stuff all over. Foam it up good. Cut off the escape of any fleas that might have moved in since her last bath and topical dose of flea killer.
She doesnt mind the head scratching part or the neck scratching or the back scratching. But go for the belly or the rear and all hell breaks loose.
She leaps and twists trying to get out of the grasp of one hand holding her. Shes slippery from the soap and hard to hold. She slips out and leaps right into the washing machine.
Now theres an idea. Just shut the lid and no, cant do that.
Back into the sink and the belly scratching. She has now reached the point of complaining loudly in her nerve-shattering screeching yeowl. I know there isnt much time left, before things start to get ugly. Lyla begins her low growl, Eerow, eerrrooow I finish her belly and behind quickly.
The dogs come over to see whats going on. I could believe they like to keep an eye on me and make sure Im safe. But, I know they are there to watch the cat get dunked and revel in her misery. I think they know their presence really rouses her ire. She does not like an audience and her cries become louder. (If anyone had happened to stop by and heard her, Im sure they would think I was being totally cruel to the poor little kitty.)
Rinse time, thank goodness. She again lunges to get out of the sink. But, I have her securely in grasp. Her growls become louder, her ears are flat against her head.
Hey, I tell her as sternly as I can, dont forget whos the boss here. Yeah, like thats going to make any impression. I laugh at myself. Big mistake. She thinks Im laughing at her. You just dont laugh around cats unless they know for a fact youre not laughing at them.
She gives me a most disgusted glare and bites my hand. Not hard, shes never drawn any blood or anything. Its one of those bites that lets you know she could hurt you if she wanted.
I ignore it and spray her head down. She reaches up and grasps the faucet with her front paws. Great, now I can get her dont you dare touch it belly. The spray sends the foam down the drain.
There, shes finished. Well, almost. Now comes the drying part of the process. I lift her out of the sink and wrap her in a towel. Shes quiet and lets me buff her fur, briskly rubbing the towel up and down. But, as soon as I start on her belly, Lyla lets me know Im making her extremely unhappy. She grabs my hand again and holds it. I tweak her ear, vainly trying to retain the upper hand. She lets it go, none too happily.
The dogs sit at my feet happily wagging their tails. Sweetpea has a big grin on her face.
Weve soaked one towel and I grab another and wrap her up. Shes now in the continuous growling stage of total You arent going to humiliate me like this in front of the dogs! aggravation.
She squirms and twists and growls. The dogs are now watching intently. Sweetpea is laughing.
Hee, hee, heee! Look guys, the cats getting a ba-ath. The cats getting a ba-ath.
Lyla takes one look at the dogs and Sweetpeas smiling face and hits overload. Shes now in overdrive trying to get out of my grasp and the cocoon the towel has become. Every inch of her body is going in as many directions as possible to escape.
Things are getting ugly. I tell the dogs to go lay down. Yeah, like thats going to happen when Im torturing the cat.
The second towel is thoroughly wet, signaling the end of the ordeal. I begin unwrapping her, slowly, gently. I tell her, Ok, its over. You can go sit under the lamp now. (Thats where she always goes after her bath to my nightstand where she basks near the heat of the three light bulbs I turn on in advance for her.)
She looks up at me and just sits there, purring pleasantly. Like the last 30 minutes never happened. She hops down off the washing machine cool as a cucumber. She shakes one leg after the other with each step. Shes not going to let the dogs think she has been anything but perfect.
I AM the puurrfect cat, she seems to mew as she prissily heads up the steps to my bedroom. I watch her, shaking my head and smiling.
Sweetpea looks up at me, questioningly, Funs over so soon?
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.
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