I know the readers of my food blog are familiar with my cat Memphis, who is featured in the header picture. (He likes to help me in the kitchen.) I probably talk less about our other cat, Sawyer, who is staying with me, Greg, and Memphis while his momma, my former roommate Kimmy, is in California. Kimmy and I never bathed Sawyer or Memphis because they were always good, clean kitties. Well, they kept themselves clean, anyway.
That changed tonight. The reason I am late updating this blog is because this has been a busy week!! (And I have some writing deadlines that pay better than this looming.) Sawyer was diagnosed by our vet on Tuesday morning with a severe allergic reaction to a flea bite. He was given a shot to combat the reaction, and I was given many instructions on how to combat the fleas (which I have yet to actually see). She also recommended giving Sawyer a bath to kill fleas and cleanse his poor skin.
Now, I was not going to tackle this on my own. No, no, I insisted that Greg, Sawyer's buddy, back me up on this. Miraculously, we both had today off work. Perfect. While Greg ran errands, I moved furniture and vacuumed the entire apartment (minus the library so the kitties would have a place to hide from the Big Screaming Monster, aka the vacuum cleaner). After washing all of our bedding and laundry at the laundromat and making dinner, it was time.
I advised Greg to change into clothing that he didn't mind having shredded (Sawyer ripped holes in my suede coat when we tried to get him into the cat carrier a few weeks ago). I prepped the bathroom with a big fluffy towel, cat shampoo, cat conditioner leave-in spray, and started the water. Greg carried in Sawyer, and we shut the doors (our bathroom has two).
Sawyer actually likes the bathroom, so being shut in with me and Greg and a running faucet in the tub merely made him curious. He was confused when I picked him up and sat on the toilet with him, rubbing his cheeks. When I started to lower him into the tub, his claws came out, digging into my clothing and clawing my neck and face. They were superficial scratches, though, and I had been prepared for them.
Greg managed to extricate Sawyer from me and wrestle him into the tub. We have sliding doors on our tub, so when Sawyer leaped out of the water screaming the loudest, most terrified sound I have ever heard come from the throat of a creature living or dead, he glued himself to the side of the door, as if gravity had somehow turned on its side within the confines of our shower. And, dear God, the screaming.
Over the inhuman cries and Greg's and my laughter - we couldn't help it! - I heard Memphis suddenly pawing frantically at the door to be let in, emitting his own ear splitting howls. Our poor neighbors. Greg opened the door and let Memphis in while I tried to get Sawyer off the door and into the water so I could pour water on him with a cup I keep in the bathroom. Memphis was possibly as horrified as Sawyer. He yowled, tail puffed up, and even hissed at us.
Sawyer scrambled from the tub a few times. There was still shampoo on his neck, and I wanted to be sure to get that off, so we got him into the sink. Greg held him down while I poured water from the tub over his neck and scrubbed the shampoo out. Memphis circled our feet, hissing, then got onto the toilet and yowled at me to stop torturing his brother, the only time I think I have seen him show concern for Sawyer's welfare. (They've lived together for three years, and usually don't get along very well.)
When I was satisfied the soap was gone, I got Sawyer wrapped up in a fluffy towel and he finally quieted down. Memphis stayed by his side while I rubbed Sawyer with the towel and scratched his cheeks until he started reluctantly purring. Greg pulled out the hair dryer and turned it on low to dry his fur. Sawyer actually seemed to like that all right, probably because it's so freaking cold right now.
Memphis pawed at the door, wanting out, so we let him out. Then he pawed at the door wanting back in. Then he wanted out. Then he pawed again, but didn't actually want in, he just wanted us to leave the door open. We didn't let Sawyer out of the bathroom until I was satisfied he wouldn't freeze with his damp fur. Memphis ran to his side to sniff him over and make sure he was okay. Sawyer curled up in the library for a little while, possibly attempting to regain his dignity. He just came out, though, so I think he's okay.
The original plan was to give Memphis a bath, too. I don't think that will be happening any time soon.