Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Never imagined I’d be routinely giving a cat a bath. I’ve been trying to get away with not doing it, even though every website states these naked cats must be bathed weekly. My thought process? She gets only the best of food and doesn’t go outside, therefore how could she get dirty?! Right? Wrong.

Gertie our resident naked alien.

Gertie’s been in the family for a little over 3 months. Scottie & I are amazed at how easily she transitioned into the routine and living amongst those so different from herself. She’s extremely expressive, affectionate and hot. Literally, she’s hot. Her body temp runs way higher than cats with the usual fur coat. It’s not so nice in the middle of the night during a pre-menopausal episode! You see, she likes to lay right up next to me under the covers. This is how I discovered I was going to have to take the plunge with Gertie. The sheets showed she was sloughing off dead skin cells like crazy!

I called on my friend and seasoned dog groomer, Terry, to let me use her tub for this trek into unknown territory – bathing my naked cat. Gertie’s been nothing but sweet and easy but combining teeth, cat claws and water had me a bit nervous. I took a bad bite from a cat once. His bath was just finishing up. I was my vet’s kennel manager and did the majority of the baths. Cheddar (I’ll never forget this particular cat) waited for just the right moment to sink his fangs into my forearm. He was in so secure and deep, it took two other girls to pull him off of me! Yeah, it hurt.

Wasn’t going to take any chances so Gerts got muzzled.

She really wanted out of the tub.

Disclaimer: This is a cat muzzle, designed for cats. Covering their eyes helps keep them calm. There is a nose hole for breathing. No cats were harmed during this bath!

Just as with everything else, Gertie took her bath in stride. She wiggled a bit and would’ve preferred to not be getting hosed down, but she was a good girl. Before Terry could even yell at me that she wasn’t hearing the water running, we were done! Being naked does have it’s advantages.

Gertie only took a few minutes to dry.

She’s such a cool cat!

Another high maintenance component to living with a naked cat is finding just the right body lotion to keep their nakedness nice and supple. I’ve been trying a couple different, all-natural, no chemicals or cancer causing stuff lotions that she and I share. I always use lotion after I shower so it made sense Gertie needs lotion, too. You should hear her fussing and squeaking at me when I put her lotion on. She makes some noises! But, we get it done quickly and she can go on about her business. We moisturize daily.

FYI Gertie is a Sphynx cat. We found her on our local Craig’s List and got very lucky. We are probably Gertie’s 3rd owner.

Here’s the Wikipedia link to everything Sphynx: Naked Cats

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You may or may not know the above quote but Scottie and I say it often. We’re just weird that way. Paul Newman was referring to the musical “Cats” from the audience one night at the David Letterman Show. It was quite funny. “Cats” is a mystical journey into cat-dom  and the Jellicle Ball filled with song, dance, joy and sadness. Real street cats probably don’t do much singing or dancing. But why should they? The life of a street cat aka feral cat is nothing to sing or dance about. Sadness abounds.

Some of my earliest memories are of being at my grandparents farm and desperately trying to make friends with the cats that lived under the house. There were always lots of cats and kittens running around. I got scratched a few times but never really made friends. They were wild, farm cats. I’ve never considered myself a “cat person”. I’m allergic to them so learned to keep my distance. That is, until cats began joining our family. It’s strange, my allergies got better and my attitude towards cats changed. Cats are cool. Cats definitely do their own thing. Cats are intriguing. Cats can show tremendous love toward us and one another. Cats are smart in many, many  ways. That’s why it’s a terrible injustice to throw them on the mercy of the streets. We’re a society far removed from my grandparents farm. It’s a cruel world filled with dangers.

Unless you’re in a loving and safe home.

Our Binks & Baby Nut lounging together on a comfy cat bed. Both former street cats.

There is a movement in our country pertaining to feral cats. Feral cat advocates want to be able to care for colonies of cats without the interference of the local animal control agencies. Doesn’t sound out of line on the surface. None of us want animals to go hungry or be sick. Right? In a perfect world there would be homes and comfy cat beds for all the throaways and ferals out. In a perfect world no one would be homeless. In a perfect world we’d all have good paying jobs we love. In a perfect world no child would go to bed hungry. In a perfect world there would be no unscrupulous breeding of cats, dogs, horses, people, etc. In a perfect world everyone would have compassion toward animals and children and their fellow humans. We sure don’t live in a perfect world. So what do we do?

You can do as my client, Lorena, does. We’ve cared for her bevy of cats for just about 15 years. We began with her 3 beloved Persians who lived indoors. But there were always neighborhood cats to feed outside. The numbers are always different. The cats come and the cats go. So do the raccoons. That’s one of the problems accompanying the outside feeding stations. Lorena has done a good job at carting off the not-so-feral ones to be neutered and vaccinated, at her own expense. She felt if she fed them, they were her cats and she acted accordingly. She’s always had a few of the outside cats that were friendlier and could actually be petted. These few have even had names. The rest are given the chance to eat on a daily basis and that’s about it. Thankfully, as the number of years have gone by, the number of cats have steadily decreased.

This old man had no name.

He showed up at Lorena’s extremely ill during one of her times away last year. He could barely breathe there was so much thick mucous coming from his nose and mouth. He was a rack of bones. I’ve seen this cat for several years coming and going from her back porch. He was always a handsome, thick cat. Yes, he’d been neutered but had no vet care in a long, long time. So the situation he found himself in was being terribly ill and also terribly leery of anyone who’d be able to help. Lorena and I discussed his situation. It took me 3 days to trap him. I have no idea how he had the strength to fight only that it was driven by pure fear. It was awful. He was euthanized, his suffering ended. He lived and died on the streets in a typical neighborhood. He had the mercy of Lorena in assuring he had food but what else was he subjected to for those years? What did he suffer as his illness took hold and for how long? He couldn’t even be held in the caring arms of someone as he died. No one deserves that.

Another client came home one day to find an unknown cat in distress in their driveway. They brought her into the garage and as they tried to care for her they noticed something terribly wrong. At first they thought maybe she was about to give birth because her sides were heaving. They were being cautious as to not get bit or scratched but upon a closer look they saw maggots were eating away at her backside! Apparently she had major trauma and with no care nature was taking it’s course. They scooped her up and got her to the emergency vet where she was humanely euthanized. How long was her suffering? Was someone actually missing her? We’ll never know. Bless her heart for stumbling upon caring people.

Why do people think it’s OK for cats to live outside? Because they’re hunters? Because they need to “be free”? We’ve had 2 outside cats and we’ll never allow that again. Our first, Dimitre D’Kitty, was a young foundling that brought all of us ringworm. My allergies really went crazy with him so outside he went. He had our back porch and tended to stay close to home. He kept his routine for about 6 years until that morning he didn’t come in for his breakfast. We found him 2 driveways down with his guts ripped out. Apparently not all dogs (such as the ones in his family) like cats. We can only assume it was a stray dog that killed him. We were devastated but still didn’t learn our lesson.

Binks was another foundling but an adult when he showed up. He was already an “outdoor cat” so we continued to let him be one of those in and out kind of cats. It worked for a while. He ruled our street and there was something cool about seeing him lounging in the driveway when we got home. Then one day he didn’t come home. Scottie was absolutely out of his mind, as this is his brother-cat. We put a HUGE lost poster on our corner.

I was going to the shelter daily looking for him, Scottie would scour our neighborhood. As we hit the fifth day of him being gone a neighbor called to report she saw another neighbor trapping a gray and white kitty a few days before. She thought animal control had come to pick him up. I raced up to the shelter and told my friends he may have been brought in as a feral. That’s exactly what happened. The shelter was overrun at the time and we all kept missing him as we did our walk through looking. Not too much of a stretch to think he was scared and hiding. When the shelter worker went into the run where there were at least 20 cats, I spied a gray and white inside a cubby. I told her,  “if he gives a head butt, it’s Binks”. As I said his name, he “meeooowed” and gave her a head butt! We got lucky, very lucky to find him. He’s not been outside since.

Were we angry? Sure but the neighbor certainly had every right to do what she did if he was on her property. She could’ve called us when she saw our sign but it didn’t matter. Did we push the issue or protest or demand she quit trapping cats? Of course not. He’s home and after a while, adjusted to the life of the spoiled house cat. He’s a happy, healthy senior cat now because he’s safely in the house.

Binks doing what he does best these days.

Loews Hotels in the Universal/Orlando area is under a firestorm of protest right now. They changed their position on having colonies of feral cats in residence on their property. It’s their property. We have no right to tell them what to do with it. The cats are being trapped and sent to the local animal control. Most won’t make it out alive. The only way they will is if rescue groups step up to rehab and relocate them. Dare I say… if it was a herd of 30 horses running free or a pack of pitbulls roaming the property, no one would be protesting saying they have the “right” to live there! People would want those animals placed into homes. They would want them to get veterinary care. They would want them to have the life they deserve. And if appropriate homes aren’t available, what then? Put the pitbull pack back out to fend for themselves? They would be just as savvy as cats and capable of survival. No, we wouldn’t do that and we don’t do that.

From http://www.theanimalifarm.com/Animali/ (my example of the horse herd has nothing to do w/our wild mustangs that do roam free in the West)

I don’t get the distinction because it’s cats it’s somehow OK. I understand feral cat people “manage” these colonies by vaccinating, sterilizing and feeding but I still go back to the fact it’s a cruel world out there. We can do better than the basics and hoping they don’t die a horrible death. That death being – run over by a car, succumbing to infection from fighting, rampant disease that takes time to kill (such as no name above), starvation, any number of ways. Until that perfect world exists, the one where every pet has a home; I would rather humanely euthanize an animal (be it dog, cat or horse) than send it off to an unknown fate. I will hold them and tell them they are loved as they take their last breath. The singing cats only exist on stage.

Client cat awaiting her breakfast.

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