Alycia Christine

Enchanting Tales, Intriguing Art

Cat Fiasco

Yesterday was Matt’s day off so I scheduled a 4:15PM veterinary appointment for our cat Snickers since she was due for her annual checkup and shots. I expected that Matt would not have too much difficulty getting the cat loaded in her crate and sent to the vet. She is, after all, a very sweet and usually gentle cat. Little did I realize, the shear power of terror that the carrying crate holds over her.


I got a call at 4PM from my beloved husband, who was in a complete state of panic. He informed me that not only had he failed to get the cat loaded into her crate after chasing her around the house for the last 40 minutes, but that she had peed and pooped in two rooms of our apartment while trying to escape him. I asked off work and rushed home to fix my stupid cat problem. When I got there, it was 4:15. I changed into grubby clothes and found my cat hiding in the air-conditioning closet in a puddle of her own pee. I had Matt hold the crate semi-vertical and then scooped up my stinking cat. It took me five minutes and a fight with stray limbs before the cat slid into the crate. We arrived just down the street to the vet’s office about 10 minutes late and saw the vet soon after. By 4:40PM, the vet gave the cat her shots and we were all on our way home with the cat’s mowing for music.


I considered myself lucky because Snickers hissed at me only once and never tried to bite or scratch me during the whole ordeal while Matt had arm himself with oven mits just to get near her.


Then came the bath…


Since she had peed on herself, I had no choice but to wash her off and that led to Snickers and I being locked in the bathroom screeching at each other for 30 minutes. When the deed was finished, the cat, half the bathroom, two towels, a blanket, and I were all sopping wet. Out of self-defense, I have never tried to bathe my cat before and I hope to never do it again. I have scratches all over my legs, torso, and arms where her claws dug into me. Ironically, she wasn’t really trying to claw at me. She was actually trying to climb over my shoulder to escape the downpour under which I shoved her. I never did get all the soap out of her fur, but at least she doesn’t smell like pee anymore. It took her five hours and one coughed up fur/soap ball just to lick all of the tangles out of her fur because I didn’t have the heart to blow dry her after everything else she had gone through earlier in the day.


I will make a point in defense for both my cat and my husband. Matt and Snickers have known each other casually for a couple of years, but they haven’t lived with each other for more than two months. It should have dawned on me that she would treat him with suspicion because of that fact. I also should have realized that Matt, who has always had dogs and never cats, would not have the slightest clue how to handle a feline or calm it down. Then again I know that cat better than anyone else on the planet and even I am not sure how to get her to stop hating the carry crate or excessive amounts of water.


Does anyone have any constructive ideas?


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  1. First off, I suggest hiding the crate until the last possible minute and giving her plenty of treats and talking softly when trying to get her in it, especially if she’s unfamiliar with him. Letting her sit on his lap while he pets her and talks quietly and gives her treats will help her become more familiar with him and associate him with good things instead of crates. EDIT: Also, holding the crate vertically is better for cats who don’t want to go in. With Fatty, we have to do that and drop him in butt-first or else he’ll have none of it. Also, if Snickers is peeing a lot out of fear, you might want to invest in a Feliway plug-in. As long as we keep ours fresh, Tonks doesn’t usually pee in my bed anymore.

    For the bath… well, here’s my method (and you can see pictures from my LJ profile 😛 ). First off, the way I do it is a two-person job. If you can, clip the cat’s claws prior to the bath. I fill the bathtub up to my ankles with water that’s just a little warmer than I like it, since cat temperatures are higher than ours. Then, I bring one of the cats into the tub with me (I don’t fear cat claws so I usually wear a swimsuit and maybe shorts, but I’d recommend long sleeves if you do fear cat claws) and make sure that they’re facing away from me, at least initially, and I keep a good grip on their shoulders and firmly but gently push them down if they try to jump out. DO NOT put them under running water if they’re jumpy, it will only end in pain. I use my hands and (this is where the second person comes in handy) a cup to gently pour water over them, talking quietly to them all the while, and gently massage the water down to their skin. Soap ’em up from the head down to the tail, be very careful with the ears, nose, and mouth, and again, use your hand and a cup to pour water over them to rinse them off. Scott likes to warm up the sink water and will make a couple of trips to get that in order to not pour soapy water over them.

    Drain the tub, keep a firm hold on the cat, and very quickly wrap them in a towel and start rubbing them. The only time I successfully blow-dried a cat, it was sedated, so I don’t recommend blow-drying them unless it’s a long-hair or it’s too cold to comfortably air dry. Towel the cat off briskly–it’ll still be damp, but they’re more comfortable taking care of the rest once they’re to a good point. Before you let them out of the bathroom, give them a treat or two, praise them, and then let them out to hide and lick themselves dry. More treats later on couldn’t hurt.

    I’ve been scratched once or twice doing it like this, but it’s usually an accident and it’s never been too bad. Fatty struggles and cries but hasn’t ever lashed out, and Tonks usually goes catatonic after an initial struggle.

    Good luck!

  2. I’m torn between horrified sympathy and giggles. Way back in old army when my family actually owned cats I don’t think we ever tried to bathe them.

    As for the carrier thing, Lauren’s suggestion is good. Also, you might try familiarizing her with it outside of trips to the vet. Leave it on the ground and open, or maybe with the door completely removed. Then put a couple treats in the back of it and let her get them at her own pace. When she goes in praise her, pet her, etc. but don’t lock her in. Eventually she should get used to the idea of being inside the crate and that it’s not a bad place rather than only associating it with the horror of a trip to the vet.

    Also, once she’s more used to it, try taking her on just short car rides in it that maybe end up at Petsmart to buy her treats or something (i.e. not the vet) and then take her home so that she realizes the crate and a ride don’t always == vet. This is how we got some of our dogs to not flip out about car rides (albeit without the crate part) and it’s worked pretty well.

    Hope this helps! And I hope Matt and you aren’t too horribly injured!

    • Yay for crate advice as well as vet and bath advice! You are both lifesavers! I think I’ll try getting her used to it with the top hatch off first and then see if I can convense her that the crate isn’t evil when it has both the top and bottom halves together.

      By the way, do either of you have any good ideas for kitty safe chewy treats? Snickers occasionally chews on things to clean her teeth. I’ve tried thin rawhides, but they’re just too touch for her.

  3. Hm. I’ve been using Whiskas Temptations Dental treats for Tonks and Fatty, though I’m probably going to have to start brushing their teeth weekly because Tonks is starting to get really bad breath from the wet food. I’ve heard really good things about Feline Greenies, though.

  4. I used to have a cat — rather a large, strong cat — who was terrified of crates. I couldn’t transport him in anything resembling a box, carrier, or crate. We finally resorted to carrying him to the vet in a pillowcase. It worked wonderfully well. He spent his whole trip with his legs stuck out in all directions against the sides of the pillocase to maintain his position, and didn’t struggle at all.

    It might have been a one-off case, though.

    • *Giggle* Whatever works wins out! After the latest crate incident, I resorted to bathing the bottom half of the crate in catnip and converting it to a bed. We had a breakthrough last night with the cat actually sitting in it for a whole hour. If Snickers gets comfortable enough to sleep in it, I might try adding the top back on and seeing if she’ll go inside it on her own. If not, I will work on the pillow case routine. Thanks and happy writing!

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