How to Wash a Show Cat by Elaine Viets
This is how to wash a cat.
I’m not joking. Stranger still, the cat will love a bath. The right kind of cat – long-haired show cats.
I wrote about show cats for my new Dead-End Job mystery, Catnapped!
In Catnapped!, financier Mort Barrymore is murdered, and his beloved cat is kidnapped for a half-million dollar ransom. Husband-and-wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont go undercover to find the catnapper and Mort’s killer.
Helen’s up to her elbows in cat hair, learning how to wash Persian show cats. I had the help of Tracy Petty, a judge for the Cat Fanciers’ Association, to advise me on cat washing. Judge Tracy used to breed prize Persians.
Long-haired cats are groomed like actresses for the Oscars, and treated like divas. You don’t just dunk the cat in the water. You must warm the shampoo for the Persian’s bath. No cold soap on those pretty coats. All the towels – and you’ll need at least half a dozen – should be warmed in the dryer.
Before you wash your Persian cat, clean her teeth with a pointed toothbrush designed for feline mouths. Even well-trained cats often don’t like this part. The toothpaste is poultry-flavored, but I can’t tell if that’s cage-free chicken.
Judge Petty gently lifts her cat into “the empty sink with the drain closed off. The Goop goes on a dry cat, carefully so the fur doesn’t mat, but with the water slowly running into the sink.”
Smear the creamy gunk all over the cat’s fur, including the tail, until the fluffy fur is a flat, sticky mess.
This is where my cat would amputate my arm, but Judge Petty said, “You have to start when they’re young.”
Persians have thick fur, and nature intended cats’ coats to protect them from rainy weather, so you have to work to get them wet, Judge Petty said. The challenge is getting the water through the dense fur all the way to the skin. If you don’t wet the cat thoroughly, the shampoo won’t get there, either.
So you work the Goop into the coat with water. The Goop washes the cat, and then you have to wash out the Goop.
Rinse the white-smeared fur completely. Any residue will attract more dirt and her fur will look cruddy.
Once the Goop’s gone, it’s time for the nice warm Orvus shampoo. Then rinse again.
Bored? I hope not, because the cat has to be washed again. This time with TropiClean papaya and kiwi shampoo. Next, the conditioner.
So far you’ve used Goop, two shampoos and a conditioner.
I don’t use that on my hair. But my hair doesn’t look as good as the cat’s.
After thoroughly rinsing the cat, you float her coat. Wrap the cat in another warm towel, clean the sink, and then refill it with warm water.
Dunk the cat back in the water and see if her coat floats. Gently squish the fur and check for bubbles. Those mean there’s still soap in the coat.
If there’s no soap, wrap the cat in one more warm towel and gently squeeze the water out of her coat.
Then the coat’s blown out with a special hair dryer for cats to separate all the fur and get it standing away from the body.
A Persian coat is too thick to air dry. In warm, humid Florida, Persians have to be dried quickly and thoroughly. Otherwise, the cat risks ringworm.
Besides, a wet cat licking her coat will smear that clean fur with cat spit. Worse, the cat could pull out her fur and swallow it, which leads to hair balls.
How long does the drying take?
Almost as long as the bathing.
“My cats loved the blow dry,” Judge Petty said. “It’s like they knew they were gettin’ beautiful, especially the boys. They’d purr the whole time.”
By that time, I’d be ready for a hot bath and a nap.
But not until I gave my self-cleaning cats treats. I never realized I had easy-care cats.
Catnapped!, Elaine Viets’ new hardcover mystery from Obsdian, is set in world of cat shows and pet custody. The New York Times Review of Books praises her “quick-witted mysteries.” Elaine’s bestselling Dead-End Job series is a satiric look at a serious subject – the minimum-wage world. Her character, Helen Hawthorne, works a different low-paying job each book. Elaine’s second series features mystery shopper Josie Marcus. Elaine is a St. Louis native who now lives in Fort Lauderdale. She won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ElaineVietsMysteryWriter. Check her Website at www.elaineviets.com. Learn more and order your copy of Catnapped! here.
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