Once a year, whether we need it or not

25 05 2012

So today was our yearly (more or less) visit to the groomer.  My girl is a fluffy fluffy ragdoll – the kind where people say “Oh, she looks so big, but I’ll bet it’s all hair!”  No, it really isn’t.  That’s fifteen pounds of ragdoll love underneath all that long hair.  She is a cat of substance.

Fur. So much.

Anyway, around this time of year is when her coat is getting on her very last nerve.  Things are matting and sticking together, and she can’t keep up with it, and her own grooming turns into an exasperated exercise of barely keeping ahead.  She gets that slightly wild-eyed expression that I imagine myself getting before I schedule a haircut, when I’m entertaining the idea of shaving it all off.

I’ve found a groomer out west of here, one that does only cats.  It’s about a 45 minute drive and they want your cat for pretty much the whole day, but I had some idea that this would be less stressful than taking my cat to the local PetsMart and having her surrounded with dogs.  I took her out there last year and while she didn’t take kindly to having her ears cleaned, she did okay and came back with a coat that felt like a warm cloud.

 

“This is a terrible idea!”

This year was somewhat more, hmmm, challenging for the groomer, although I didn’t find out just how rotten it was until I came back a little early to pick my girl up.  I was outside checking email and Facebook, when the assistant came out and said, “Could you, ah, come inside?  Your cat is, ah, well, upset.”  It turns out that my girl had wanted NO PART of anything pertaining to grooming, and they had muzzled her for every step… muzzle, finish step, remove muzzle and let everyone catch their breath.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  By the time the assistant found me, my girl had HAD it with this routine, and there was a perfect storm of claws, teeth, and growling inside the cage.  The groomer was armed with thick gloves and still couldn’t get a hand on her to get the muzzle back on.

It is consistently miraculous to me, the trust that our animals will put in us.  I reached inside the cage – with the groomer saying “I wouldn’t!  Pets bite their owners all the time when they’re like this!!” – and laid my hands on a terrified, angry cat.  Who didn’t bite, or hiss, or raise a paw to me.  Instead she settled at the very back of the cage, growling low in her throat while I talked to her, said I was sorry, and told her that I wouldn’t leave her again.  And she let me slip that muzzle over her head for the last time.  I stayed with her for the last of the brushing, blowing, and trimming, and while she complained, she didn’t fight any of it.

On the drive home she laid down in her carrier and passed out, exhausted from the terror of the day.  But when we pulled into our neighborhood, she sat up and started talking, and talked all the way into the house.  She has spent the last two hours following me from room to room, apparently believing that terrible things happen when I’m not around.  It seems to me that it could just as easily gone the other way, that she could have decided I was the root of all bad things, and bolted from me as soon as we came through the door.

Instead, I’m still the one who saved her, the one who made everything okay.  I’ve loved this cat for nearly six years, and it still just amazes me how much she trusts me to always do right by her.  I’m always the one she wants, and she is very much mama’s baby.  She runs to the door when I come home and if she’s not asleep (she is a cat, after all) she’ll follow me to wherever I am to keep me company.  Sometimes I take it for granted.  But sometimes it takes my breath away.

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3 responses

26 05 2012
Katherine

The groomer suggested to me that I use tranquilizers the next time I get my baby groomed, which might not be the worst idea. I’m also going to invest in some decent brushes – my girl HAAAAAAAATES the Furminator – to see if I can keep ahead of the matting.

26 05 2012
Oldcat

The brush that I find Calla the Persian tolerates the best is a regular hair brush with thick plastic bristles that end it a little round ball. I think it was marketed as for small children. I did get a metal comb from a pet store – fine and not so fine and they work well.

The brushes I found at the Pets store were either ineffective or too rough like the Furminator.

The problem with tranqs is that when the cat is afraid they just ignore the calming – when my cat Gus was being driven mad by Feliway he fought the valium pills like wild every time. And knocking them out entirely is not entirely safe. I had Gus shaved a few times when he was out for other procedures, but then just decided to buy my own shaver.

After all, I can just do a bit at a time if I have to, and there’s no anxiety for travelling. I got a little rechargeble one for about 40 dollars at the pet store with attachments that cut it short but not all off. Gus doesn’t really mind the shaver much – dislikes the pain of a knot being pulled and hates being rolled around and messed with.

26 05 2012
Oldcat

Maybe next time you could help hold the cat to keep her calm. When i first adopted my Persian she had huge mats and needed much work. Since I had only had her for a few days I stayed and held her front part. She did nip me once during the bath, but I think it helped a lot.

I have anoher cat who is getting older and not grooming his long hair. I went and bought a set of clippers and it really helps him to shorten the fur on his body. He’s very cranky when I do it – he hates being manhandled, but he forgives me pretty soon. The clippers aren’t very expensive, and they have fittings to not shave too close.

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