13 October 2015

Cleaning Cats

Our dogs love water, they throw themselves into any puddle, the sea or lake without hesitation.  Why is it then that they hate being washed?  In the UK Bessie was so bath averse that we just took the dog to the nearest river and threw a stick, this together with the daily brush kept her pretty clean and she only needed a shampoo for special occasions.  In Kazakhstan we had to step up the frequency of proper washes, we accomplished this by putting her in the shower and closing the door leaving just enough access for our hands to wash out the shampoo. Once the water in the tray was deep enough she seemed to think she was in a river and settled down.  

This is fun! 
Not so much...
Here in Malaysia Bess has to go to a groomer every 6 months to get her very thick coat clipped to make the heat manageable for her.  She gets a full salon treatment at the same time and I usually send Perdie for a quick wash and blow dry at the same time.  In between, however, the dogs get washed at home.  Luckily unlike Kazakhstan it is warm year round and I can just hose them down in the drive.  They don’t relish it but they have learned to tolerate it and the obligatory shake dry over the humans apart the process is reasonably painless.    

Haircuts are cool but seriously lacking in style.
I have never had to wash a cat and as Kismet is an indoor kitty we were not expecting to have to do this too often.  Sadly I have had an unexpected and rather unwelcome introduction to the art of cat cleaning.

From the day she arrived this cuddly kitten
has loved the furniture
We have been very lucky with Kismet, ever since she came to stay she has been a model puss and we have not had to deal with any accidents, she took to her litter tray straight away.  I was very surprised, therefore, when I found a trail of matter that should have been in the litter tray smeared over my floor.  Inevitably this happened as I was on my way to bed and on a night when I was on my own, Mr EE being away on a business trip.  I checked the cat and her hindquarters were filthy.  I checked my cat book and it said to clean her with cotton wool.  We don’t have any of that so I tried baby wipes.  Unfortunately the cat kept on running away and did not want to be held down for cleansing.

She sits wherever she likes, why should the
humans get the best view of House of Cards. (NB we
do own a TV but our cable connector is broken)
Tactic 2 involved picking the cat up, hugging her tight and putting her rear end under the tap.  This resulted in a lacerated forearm.  She purred, rubbed her head against me and was generally affectionate enough to tell me that it was not personal but she was adamant that her hindquarters were not to be cleaned by human agency.  I would not have minded this independence in an outdoor cat but she likes to curl up me and on the furniture so she really did need to be clean.  

My lap is a favourite spot - dirty hindquarters are
not an option!
Tactic number 3 involved locking us both in the downstairs loo with oven mitts (I now have to replace them) and deploying a spray hose (the type that are often used in place of loo paper here in South East Asia, they are excellent for cleaning off nappies, washing bathrooms and, it seems, cats).  This seemed the most effective method and would have worked really well if I had a kitty cleaning assistant.  On my own, however, it took quite some time and ended up with me rather more soaked than the cat.
We can't throw a stick to persuade the cat to bathe.
After this I conceded defeat, I had done my best, and I placed the cat in her crate with her litter tray and gave myself a few hours’ sleep before returning to check on her and repeat the process.  I was dreading another trip to the vets (and the inevitable instructions to push pills down the cat for a week)  in the morning but it seems my attentions have paid off and (fingers crossed) she is much better now.  She has even forgiven me the indignities of her treatment and has returned to snoozing on my lap. 

Is this the gear I need to clean the cat?
Mr EE is back shortly so I can bet with some certainty that this problem will not recur in the near future but I need to know how to accomplish the task if the need arises.  Diving gear would be great (when Bessie was a baby she was very wriggly and extremely free with her claws so before we had discovered the river/brush method or the tie up to the gate and hose tactic I used to don wetsuit and diving gloves, hat and mask to bathe her) but all my stuff is in a container  in the UK so this will not work.  In the absence of 7mm of neoprene protection I would, appreciate any hints tips and insights on solo cat cleaning hacks.  

Posted on the Animal Tales linky hosted by Eco-Gites of Lenault



  1. Oh my, that sounds like it was not fun at all. Next time I would use a small wet towel like a facewasher, teatowel, dishcloth or even an old shirt or sock for cleaning her off with. Water that is skin temperature is best, so you can hardly tell it's even there. Which isn't very helpful if kitty won't play in the water.
    Try to get her used to the water by having her in the bathroom with you while you are bathing. Some cats will actually learn to enjoy a bath or shower over time.
    Wrapping all those claws up in a towel is the only way to administer tablets but I'm not sure how it would go for washing backsides.
    Things I would try: a sopping wet towel in a box that can be sat upon; a bathtub full of water (cats are excellent swimmers) and just drop her in, horrible but it would get her wet, maybe not clean though; wrapping the top half of her in a towel and dipping her back end in a tub of water; also probably not going to be successful; I think your best bet is a wet towel to wipe her with and one to keep her claws wrapped away to keep her from harming you.
    Did she get a fright or in a fight? Cats will eliminate as part of their flight or fight response. Lactose will cause diarrhoea too. I hope this isn't an ongoing issue for you and kitty.

    1. She is a completely indoor cat so I don't think it was a fight (I would have heard an altercation with the dogs) I think she stole some cheese or apple.

      I love your idea of the bathtub of water! It put me in mind of the facebook post about the dog's instructions for washing the cat (put soap in loo, put cat in, lower lid and sit on it!)

  2. Oh my goodness, what a cute kitten! All the dogs I've had in the past also loved the water, except our current dog named Doc who absolutely hates being in any kind of water. He'll play and run around like a loony on the beach, but no way would he ever go near the water. I guess all dogs are not the same ;) #animaltales.

    1. Thanks - she is a real sweetie, we never expected to become cat people but we are certainly Kismet people at the very least.

      Poor Doc. My parents had a dog like that, she would insist on being carried over puddles.

  3. ha ha poor you and cat. I've only given Pushkins a bath twice and both times because she was poorly. She had been bitten and the blood had dried and pulled the fur tight on her shoulder and she couldn't walk, the 2nd time she suffered with heat stroke. Both times she let me do it as she was ill. The dog however has taken 3 years to be able to wash, he's too heavy for the bath, in our previous house we threw him in the pool and now he will come with his tail between his legs to be hosed down, we've gone a long way from having to tie him him to wash him

    1. Poor Pushkins. Well done to your dog that is significant progress. We still have to tie ours up!

  4. My daughter also loves puddles and sorts of water play, but loathes water for the purpose of actually getting clean. Drives me nuts.

    There I have managed to comment without admitting to howling with laughter at your fight with the cat.


    1. Yes we have a son who is not particularly fond of showers....

      The whole situation with the cat was farcical. I would have laughed at me too!

  5. I have a Persian who gets what we call "pooh bum" in the fur round her bottom. I "swaddle" her in a towel or stretchy blanket. She says terribly rude things whilst I do it but it keeps us both from being injured! Cats are definitely feisty! #animaltales

    1. Poor puss - a friend of ours has admitted to getting her Persian's britches shorn for exactly that reason.

      The swaddle does sound like a good idea - I wonder if there is a dragons' den style market for a product like that.

  6. Oh gosh I am so sorry but I am laughing my socks off here and remembering the time my mother and I tried to inject her cat. We did it in the end but suffered multiple injuries from tooth and claw and prayed we would NEVER have to do it again. I really do not think we would have managed to wash him, diving gear to hand or not!! Henry is a nightmare to give tablets too (and I have never tried to wash him) but at the vet she pops him in a special cat bag with various zips to allow access to paws, bottom, sides. Google Cat Vet Bag. Maybe that would be your solution. #AnimalTales

    1. That is an excellent idea! I will have to look for a Cat Vet Bag when we are in the UK on holiday later this year. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to give the cat an injection, you are very lucky you managed to escape injecting yourselves.