Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bathing Willow

Willow hasn't had a bath in nine months. (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"To bathe a cat takes brute force, perseverance, courage of conviction--and a cat. The last ingredient is usually hardest to come by." ~ Stephen Baker
We don't even attempt to bathe the Siamese. I have bathed other Siamese cats in the past, but only when absolutely necessary and only under the influence of Valium. The Valium was for them, not me, although it might have made the experience more pleasant if I had taken some too. Willow's brother Nicky is mild mannered and shy; except when being bathed. Then he becomes a raging, clawing, climbing, crying demon. It takes two to bathe him. The vet put a note on his chart the last time he had a bath there: "NICHOLAS DOES NOT BATHE WELL!!!" I don't think he ever wants us to bring him back for this service.

Willow is actually the most well behaved of them all. She is the largest cat at around 17 pounds but during a bath she sits quietly crying in the sink with that pitiful expression that says, "How have I offended you that you should do this to me? Why?" It only takes one person to bathe her; lots of water, soap and towels but only one person. I find it amazing that a fluffy Ragdoll can look like a little drowned rat with just a little water and shampoo.
I wet her down and apply the first shampoo. Scrub and scrub and scrub some more. She is not happy. Ah, the rat appears.

Rinse well. This takes another five minutes. Then shampoo again, this time making sure to get her belly and between the toes. I try to do the face with a wet rag last as this makes her absolutely nuts. Then it's under the rinse again. To get all her soap and suds out takes another 10 minutes.

Above she is at her worst, looking like a thoroughly drowned rat. Water is now everywhere, on the counter, the floor and all over me. It would almost have been better to just get in the tub with her, except there are these claws. At this point the bath is finished but we are not.

Now comes the most tedious part of the process. The drying. Drying a long haired Ragdoll involves at least three beach towels, not regular towels. She prefers these to be heated to a cozy 95 degrees in the dryer before they touch her. Then we go on to the blow drying process. Blow dry on low and brush at the same time. Start with the tummy, legs and tail. Turn to sides and do the back last. Then repeat the whole process at least one additional time. It takes a full hour and a half to fully get her dry and brushed.

All done. Doesn't she look beautiful, soft, fluffy, nice and clean? She smells nice and seems proud of herself. But wait now she must retire to a far corner of the room and what? What are you doing, Willow? No Willow, you're already clean! You don't need to bathe again! OOOOHHHHH, I see a hairball of epic proportions coming on!
"I don't think it is so much the actual bath that most cats dislike; I think it's the fact that they have to spend a good part of the day putting their hair back in place." ~ Debbie Peterson

Finally, all done. Now she feels presentable; all dressed up and ready to go visit the other cats at Friday's Ark and the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this Sunday by Pages Turned. See you there! (end of post)

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