My parents have a cat named Snickelfritz. He has long legs and black and white fur that forms a Zorro like maskon his face. Snickelfritz is not a fighter; instead he is quite the feline gentleman. He is well loved and is allowed to go most places in my parent’s home. Recently, he got fleas and my Dad went out and bought an organic flea treatment that had lemon grass as an ingredient. After applying this, it was not long before Snickelfritz started to cough and sneeze. After a few days, I spoke with my Mom and she was concerned that Snickelfritz might be getting worse and would need to go to the vet before she and my Dad left for a two week trip to Alaska. I told her Snickelfritz was likely suffering from allergies and there was no need to take him to the vet.
My Mom thought about it and then did some online research about cat allergies. She found that they can be allergic to grass and figured it was the lemon grass in the flea treatment that was causing Snickelfritz such misery. She then spoke to Dad and they determined Snickelfritz should get a bath. The two of them could not do this alone and I volunteered to help. As we have never bathed Snickelfritz before, and my parents adopted him from someone else, I asked if they were sure they wanted to do this instead of the using a dry foam cleaner. My parents said that because the foam is meant to be left in and not rinsed off, it probably would not neutralize the allergen. They wanted him to be bathed. So we decided to use the laundry room sink and the kid shampoo my niece uses when she spends the night.
I got the shampoo and a towel, took off Snickelfritz’s collar and cuddled and loved him to ease against what was ahead. My Dad put on heavy clothing and work gloves. We went in the laundry room, closed the door and Dad placed Snickelfritz in the sink making sure he couldn’t move significantly. I gently turned the water on and off, filling a bottle to wet him before applying the shampoo. Snickelfritz was surprisingly fine….until it came to rinsing him.
His eyes become saucers as the water poured over him and the shampoo came out of his fur. He fought but did not draw blood on either of us. Nor were we soaked. A few minutes later the shampoo was out of his fur and Dad lifted him gently out of the sink to be wrapped in a towel by my Mom. Dad opened the laundry room door and Mom walked out with Snickelfritz in her arms. She talked to him sweetly and rubbed him gently with the towel. She then sat in her glider chair and continued to speak and to dry him while she watched television. After several more minutes and another towel, Snickelfritz was dry enough to release. Immediately he got to work licking the remaining water from his fur before meowing for food. I fed him and he ate it before going back into the family room and jumping up on the foot stool in front of my Dad’s glider chair adjacent to Mom’s. I thought to myself as I saw this, despite the terror Snickelfritz had been put through in his first bath, the gentlemen in him was already on his way to forgiving us as I believe he also realized his sneezing and coughing was greatly reduced.
I must say, as his adopted human sister, that he was quite brave and I am very proud of him. I know it was awful to have to be bathed for the first time at the age of 10. He got through it and even the next day he was acting normal and treating me as he had for years. Clearly Snickelfritz had already moved on. I hope going forward my parents will find better organic treatments that can battle Snickelfritz’s fleas without him ever needing to have a second bath. It is my hope his first one will also be his last.