For the past few months, I've been trying to pretend I didn't see the clumps of cat hair collecting around my yard. It is a sure sign that it is time to shave the cat again, but I was not feeling up to the task. However, after my kids begin to insist that we get it done, I gave in.
I wrote about my cat shaving experience last year, and this one wasn't much better. However, the kids are now a year older. Let me just say, older doesn't always mean more helpful.
The youngest two children were the only ones naive enough to volunteer to help. I got out all the necessary equipment: Long protective gloves and electric pet clippers. My kids thought a cat treat would be good, because that works for the dog. I don't really keep cat treats around, so they thought a can of tuna fish would be just right.
Picture this for a moment: A mom and a first and fifth grader armed with long gloves, a razor, and an open can of tuna, staring down one large unhappy cat with a look that says, "Don't even think about it."
So we began.
It started out OK. He ate some tuna while I began working on his back. The closer I got to his tail and stomach, though, the more agitated he got. Soon a deep growl began in his throat. The cat made it clear that he was NOT happy! I told my fifth grader to grab the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift it in the air so I could finish working his belly.
She grabbed the cat and somewhat succeeded in lifting him. The growling was joined by hissing. The youngest child grabbed the tuna and held it up to his face (while he was hanging in the air), saying, "Here Shadow, want a treat?"
The cat began to twist and squirm, the youngest was chasing his moving head with the tuna can, while the older child was struggling to keep a grip on him. All the while, I was trying to shave a matted area on his belly.
The cat was winning.
I announced, "I think the cat needs a break for a minute." (Really, I needed a break for a minute.)
Despite the gloves, I had sustained a few good scratches and it was time to call in back-up.
Enter the 12-year-old. She is a bit tougher and has a secret desire to show this cat who's boss.
She succeeded in holding him a bit more firmly. The youngest came back out and continued to try to calm him with tuna. Finally, I told her the cat would enjoy the tuna so much more if she waited until we were done. That seemed to make sense and the can disappeared. She was content to observe for now.
Soon the youngest said, "Look, he has one ear up and one ear down. That means something! I have a book that will help us. Let me get it!"
Before I knew it, she stuck a book right between me and the cat and was reading to me the part about cat body language.
"See mom, it says right here that...."
This would be great, if I wasn't currently trying to wrestle a cat with an electric razor! At that point, there was no mystery how the cat was feeling or how I was feeling, for that matter!
Finally, I raised the white flag and called a truce.
The cat looked somewhat like he had gotten hit by a lawnmower, but he had begun to spray us with his stench and I was done fighting.
The cat escaped outside the first chance he got. I imagine him getting picked on by all the neighborhood cats. The thought makes me smile and I think, "Nope, I win!"
Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every other week. Comments are welcome.