Embarrass a cat? That’s easy. Give ‘em a hair cut.
Sophie was first. We went to the vet for her yearly shots. Her winter hair was matting up pretty badly by then. Dr. Lackey innocently commented that he could do something about that messy wad on the side of her belly, which sounded like a good idea. After he finished, well, here was this big bare gap on the side of Sophie’s tummy surrounded by the rest of her long hair. She looked a little awkward, so we just decided to take it all off for the summer. Sophie is a pretty agreeable girl, so she let us hold her and roll her around for the hair cut, purring the whole time. I think she thought we were just giving her a rub-down. Honestly, it was like shearing a sheep; her hair at its longest has to be a good three inches long, and there is lots of it. By the time it was done we had a pile of fluffy gray hair spilling out of the mid-size trash can by the examination table.
By the time we got home I guess it dawned on her what had happened, and she felt a bit undressed. I fed her, and that helped a little, but when I wanted to take a picture, she really didn’t want to cooperate. And Mari just worried her to death, sniffing of her and wondering just who is this cat.
Kitty, on the other hand, was the flip side of the coin. She, too, needed a hair cut, as she doesn’t do a bang-up job of grooming herself, and she won’t let me comb her. She is a full-blooded Persian; her hair isn’t quite as long as Sophie’s, but it is so fine that it wads up all over her, and it is just not pleasant to hold her or try to pet her. I try to keep her trimmed with scissors, but that is spotty at best. So I just decided she needed the same treatment. Only she would have to be sedated. I knew she would pitch a fit, based on her behavior when I tried to trim her. So off we went a couple of weeks later, when I thought the cold weather was finally over. Because of being sedated, she had to go without food the night before, didn’t eat the day of, and didn’t really feel like eating until the day after, so she came home really skinny, and not just because of her hair cut. She wasn’t real happy about having her picture made, either.
But enough time has passed now that both of them have gotten over it, their coats are a tad longer, and they feel so nice and velvety to the touch. I say that: Sophie is fine, but I think Kitty is suffering much like Samson when he lost his hair; she is much more needy about wanting lap time and may be cold without her long white coat. I am tempted to do this every summer, but I hate to put Kitty through the sedation and insecurity, so I don’t know that it will happen again. If she will just let me comb her, I won’t have to. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for them to grow back a full coat, but in the meantime, they are masquerading as short-haired cats with leg warmers on. If I was smart enough to think of it, there is probably a joke in there somewhere about aging dancing cats from a Broadway musical…