Sunday, 30 March 2008

How to brush a cat without losing a hand

If only I knew the answer.......

It is the time of year that I dread. I know, the days are getting longer, the daffodils are blooming and the tulips are well on their way. The snow is where it belongs - on the mountains and the snow tyres have been put away (well, they would be, if I had listened to Mr. DBM and put some on in the first place....I really should listen to my husband more often, but don't tell him that I said that!) The lawn mowers are out in force and the barbeques are being fired up. The sky is blue, the birds are get the, what is my problem now? In one word, Willow. I love that cat, but she is a pain in the hand, arm, head or whatever body part she manages to sink her claws or teeth into when you are trying to brush her. If you read my previous post, you will know that Willow has a wondrously thick and full coat. She really is fluffy and not fat. But that fluffiness is due to the presence of a thick undercoat of very fine, dense fur. And that is the problem. This time of year is the time to change from the winter wardrobe to the latest summer fashion where less is more. This means we get a population explosion in dust bunnies and we end up with a vet bill of $400 if we can't convince Willow that she needs to be brushed on a regular basis to stop her wondrously thick and full coat from degrading into disgusting clumps of matted hair that makes her look more like a doormat than a cat. What, $400?!? I hear you cry. How on earth could it cost that much? Well, here is how the conversation at the vet goes:

Vet: "Is that a doormat?"
Me: "No, it is my cat, Willow. Is there anything that you can do to help her regain her wondrously thick and full coat?"
Vet: "Have you tried to brush her?"
Me: "Oh, that's a good idea, I hadn't thought about that" - is what is running through my head, but what I actually say is "Well yes, but she doesn't like it very much."
Vet, sensing a small pile of money heading her way: "Well, we could try and brush her. Sometimes cats will let strangers brush them when they won't let their owners do it."
Me, sensing a large bill heading my way: "Well, I suppose it is worth a try, but I should warn you that she really, really doesn't like being brushed."
Vet: "We will give it a try and phone you to let you know how things are going."

Hmmmmm, so off home I swan, in the secure knowledge that soon my doormat of a cat will be back to her beautiful self. In reality, I go home waiting for the phone call that informs me that one assistant has lost an eye and another has received 43 stitches to various wounds and has been reassured that a scar down the side of the face will add a lot of character and may even lead to a role as a baddy in a James Bond movie. An hour or so later, the phone call comes through.....

Vet: "Well, I am afraid that Willow has not been very cooperative and we have had to sedate her."
Me: "Oh, that is a shame." thinking, that sounds expensive.
Vet: "While she was sedated, we had a quick look at her teeth and thought we might as well clean them."
Me: "Well, that sounds like a good idea." thinking, that sounds even more expensive.
Vet: "She should be ready to go home in an hour or so, once she comes round from the sedation. While I am waiting, I am going to book my holiday to Hawaii - thank you."
Me: "Great, I will see you in an hour."

So, now you can see why I dread this time of year. It generally comes with a large amount of growling, rumbling, howling, hissing and claws and generally ends up in a large vet bill.

This has led me to thinking about contraptions that could be used to immobilise a cat while still having access to her fur. We all know about the trick of wrapping a cat up in a blanket so that there are no free claws to rip your face off while administering some form of medication. Unfortunately, that will not work for brushing, since the entire cat is mummified inside a towel. Martha Stewart informs me that placing a large bulldog clip on the back of a cat's neck will keep them calm and stop them from attacking. The reasoning behind this is that they think it is their mother, who would pick them up by the scruff of the neck and apparently they are less likely to attack their mother than some human brandishing an instrument of torture. I tried this, with limited success - she sat still for 2.67 seconds longer than without the bulldog clip. So, what to do......? My idea is get a towel and cut 4 holes in it, one for each leg. You would then suspend this from the legs of an upside down stool. Place the four legs of one cat into each of the holes and brush away, while the cat sways helplessly in her cradle. Won't work for the belly fur, but it might just do it for the rest. What do you think? Should I give it a go?


Anonymous said...

If you do try it, please, please, please can you get a video camera in place and stick it onto utube ... that would be priceless !

Anonymous said...

How exactly am I suppposed to manhandle a vicious, all tooth and claw bundle of fluff and a video camera at the same time?

BabyZonely said...

Use Mr. DBM to help!