Arts & Entertainment

Jest a Moment: A 13 Step Guide to Bathing a Cat

Looking for an effective New Year hangover remedy? Try bathing a cat. When that cute, cuddly furball hits the water and transforms into a murderous biting-clawing demon, you’ll be astonished how quickly that morning-after nauseated ‘just let me die’ mood is replaced by the desire for self-preservation. Since bathing a cat is not without risks, here’s a 13-step guide to prepare for that Man vs. Beast aquatic confrontation, based (more or less) on painful personal experience:

Step 1: Find cat. This may seem a rather obvious initial step, but cats can be particularly resourceful at devising stealth tactics should they suspect a dunking is imminent. So, check the stairs, behind the sofa, in the clothes dryer, up the chimney, in your neighbor’s sock drawer, Mars.

Step 2: Place cat in sink/bath. At this point, suddenly realizing you’ve forgotten the cat shampoo bottle, fetch it and return.

Step 3: Find cat and place in sink/bath, again.

Step 4: Softly repeat comforting phrases like “good kitty,” but be aware that the sole purpose of such verbal reassurances is to build your self-confidence and resolve. They will have absolutely no pacifying effect on the animal.

Step 5: Place cotton balls in cat’s ears. This is not to prevent water getting in, but to avoid further frightening the cat from your screams.

Step 6: Turn on faucet, pouring water and shampoo over cat. Attempt to lather.

Step 7: Remove cat from head and return hissing, scratching, wailing animal to sink/bath. Reach for towel to wipe soap and blood (yours) from face.

Step 8: Find cat, again.

Step 9: Slip on wet, soapy floor while attempting to replace enraged cat back in bath/sink.

Step 10: After regaining consciousness, find cat again.

Step 11: Return drenched, soapy, howling, cat to sink/bath. Lather, rinse, towel dry, and release.

Step 12: Crawl to phone and call 911 to request assistance. While waiting for ambulance, disinfect any area where excrement may have been deposited; also check if the cat left any.

Step 13: Relax for well-deserved New Year’s rest – while being carried out on stretcher.

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama, and has written features, columns, and interviews for many newspapers and magazines. See

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