Try bathing a cat. When that cute, cuddly fur ball hits the water and transforms into a murderous biting-clawing demon, you’ll be astonished how quickly that great morning 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 GetNickT.org.