Scooter, our family cat, has let himself go in his old age. He doesn’t clean and groom himself often enough to get all the mats out of his fur. So they inevitably clump together and gather more and more fur until they pull on his skin, causing him pain and stress.
I used to brace myself, pick up the cat, the comb, the scissors, and (if I was lucky) another person to hold him down while I groomed away. But it gets to a point when there’s not much you can do with an angry feline without fearing for your life.
Ever since I moved out, I would visit the house on occasion and notice Scooter’s uncomely appearance and tell my dad he needs to be combed. I don’t think he listened to me because every other time I visited my dad would tell me “Laur, Scooter needs you to comb him real bad.”
Well, it did get real bad. So bad I convinced my parents to take Scooter in to the vet to get shaved. He came back naked and ashamed. He found a cold, dark corner in the basement and didn’t come out for 3 days. But he was clean -- and not as hot.
We had him shaved for the second time a couple years ago. This time my mom told me it was my turn to take him in – even though I didn’t live at the house. So I dutifully dropped the cat off at Hillside Veterinary Hospital one morning before work and picked him up after work.
Here he looks independent, content to sit in the back seat, yet a little insecure about where I’m taking him.
Here he is clingy, needy and afraid to touch anything that isn’t me.
The past month or so I’ve noticed, when visiting the house that Scooter is all nobby again. I told my mom he needs to be taken in for a shave. Time and time again, I would come home and he was still nobby. About a week ago I was there and said to my dad, “Dad, you really need to take Scooter in to get shaved.” To which he replied, “No, MOM needs to take him in to get shaved.”
His tone had an implication that led me to believe he was still harboring an argument from a marital discussion about the matter. I chose not to pursue the issue. My parents went out of town and I have been house sitting for them in Sandy. I decided yesterday to just take him in myself.
Turns out he was also due for a wellness exam and three vaccinations.
The “technician” I spoke with wasn’t very warm and friendly. In fact, she was cold and judgmental. I asked if Scooter really needed to be shaved because his fur wasn’t THAT matted. She said, “Do you want him to just be combed?”
“Well, that’s what I’m asking…”
“Look, it’s a matter of sedating him or not sedating him.”
“Right. I thought you could assess the situation and see if he really needed to be shaved. Because I would rather not put him through that if you could just comb out his clumps.”
“Well, he seems kind of uptight. But if he’ll let me I’ll comb him.”
I stared at her, stroking Scooter’s mane as I reconsidered leaving him with this chilly woman. But ended up telling her to just comb him.
Five hours later I went to pick him up. They insisted I go back and get him rather than them bringing him out to me. Apparently he was “pissy” with her.
I walked to the room with all the kennels. The technician stood back as she opened the door to Scooter’s cage. For some reason I almost asked her if he had had anything to eat but stopped myself realizing that was ridiculous. I removed him with little trouble. Scooter hissed at her as we walked out. I sent a mental message to Scooter letting him know I didn’t like her either.
Here he is BEFORE:
Independent and resigned to the fact that he’s going somewhere unfun.
Here he is AFTER:
Clingy, needy and pissed.
Hopefully the every other year pattern will continue so I don't have to do this more often.