Did you guys know a group of cats is called a “clowder?” That’s one of the things you learn while fucking around on the internet all day.
Also, I have a clowder of cats.
Not all at one house. I have two cats that live with my mom, and two more that live with my dad. So I guess I don’t actually have a singular clowder of cats, just two pairs of cats that don’t know each other. Damn. At least I got to use the word “clowder.”
Anyway, the two cats that live at my dad’s house are called Button (I named her when I was ten and thought she was cute as a button) and Bear (who is a massive cat). Button is the angriest cat I’ve ever met, but also the smallest, weighing in at seven pounds dripping wet (more on that later), so her anger is easily manageable with a dishtowel and some patience. Bear is a big cuddlebug, and at seventeen pounds, I’m glad he’s a sweetheart because holding down that much cat with small baby hands like mine would be an exercise in futility.
These cats go outside whenever the weather is nice, and since I live in Ohio and it’s between September and April, that isn’t very often. The first time Bear got to go outside was last week, and he promptly came back in because a gust of wind knocked him over. Thank goodness Button didn’t go out or else she would have been blown into the next county (that’s funny because the county line is down the street). This morning Bear went out and found the biggest patch of dirt he could and rolled around in it. Since he sleeps in my bed, I was having none of that hippie let-him-clean-himself nonsense. And dad decided Button could use a soak so it was bath day for kitties.
Now, bathing cats is a tricky endeavor. They tend to hate water with a burning passion, and will do anything and everything to avoid it. For Button the pint sized she-devil, all I had to do was to prep the bath (get the water running, get her shampoo and towel ready, say a quick prayer) and carry her into the shower. This cat has left scars and bloody cuts on me before, but get her into the bathroom and she starts cuddling and mewing as if she’s trying to say “I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done please don’t take me into the evil wet box please!” She mewls pitifully a few times and give you Puss in Boots (from Shrek. The really cute one.) eyes until you’re done, and the starts her growling and tail lashing the second you have her wrapped in the towel all cuddly and warm.
Bear, on the other hand, puts up a fight. He’s the one covered in dirt and actually needs a bath, but he’s also the one who weighs seventeen pounds (he’s not fat, just a very large breed of cat. I don’t know what breed, he’s a rescue.) and knows it. He gets right in my face and meows as loud as he can. I think he believes that if he breaks my eardrums I’ll let him go or something. You can sometimes hear him crying from outside the house, but don’t let the sad noises phase you. This dirtball needs a bath. Today he managed to draw blood. His little claws caught on my neck and chest, and when I said ow he stopped struggling and looked about as concerned as a cat could look. “Sorry I hurt you, human, but let’s be real, it’s all a part of the bath game.”
Eventually both cats got clean and tossed into the other bathroom to dry, and are now compulsively licking themselves to get their fur to lie flat.
What I figured this was a parallel to was that some things seem almost comical because of how difficult and contradictory the sound (bathing a cat? Really?), but once you start, you have to keep at it until you’re done. And you may be exhausted, drenched, and bloody, but something totally worth it will have happened. Like a clean cat who won’t muddy up your bed sheets.
[And if you’re about to get on my case and say bathing cats is bad for them, don’t. I know what I’m doing.]