I've given Ash, aka Fat Cat, quite a few baths over the six years that I've had her. She's got longish fur that she has a hard time keeping clean, so she needs a bath every few months, really, though she gets one more like every 6 to 12. She's not too bad about getting them baths, though she hates it. Today, she started mewling pitifully from the moment I had her in the bathroom with me. "I haven't even done anything to you yet, shut up, cat."
So I give Ash a bath. That goes all right, and after I've got her a bit dried off I collect Branl.
I've never given Branl, aka, Thin Cat, a bath before, and I never will again. Branl's short-haired and keeps herself fairly tidy, but Lut's been complaining lately that she smells a bit (I can't really tell, my sense of smell is horrible) and her fur was oily. What the heck.
A bit of background about Branl: both my cats were adopted as adults. They were previously owned by an elderly woman who kept them, along with 28 other cats, in her house. No one knows how old they are, though the vet technician thought Branl's was around ten. That would make her sixteen now. She's slightly arthritic and clearly older than Ash. She's also very thin: she weighs about 3.5 pounds. And she's bulimic. I call them my Eating Disorder kitties: Branl is the Binge and Purge kitty, and Ash is the Binge and Binge kitty. Both of them are relatively small cats, however -- I think even Ash is only around 8-9 pounds, and she's plainly fat.
Anyway, Branl is old, very thin, and on the frail side.
I get her into the tub with no real trouble. She doesn't mew at me; she rarely makes noise. She squirms about quite a bit. I haul her out, soap her up while she stands optimistically next to the door, and rinse her off again. She sort of bites me at one point, while I'm holding her legs. I yell "Ouch!" very loudly and she stops. To be honest, I hardly felt it. Rinsing is the hardest part; I let her squirm to the edge of the tub for a while to let her de-traumatize, then rinse her again, until I finally get all the soap off of her.
At this point, Branl looks like a drowned rat. You can really tell how thin she is when she's wet. There's hardly any cat left. On Ash it's the opposite: you can really tell how fat she is, with her head looking like a tiny bauble on top of a big fat cat body.
Branl's hardly moving as I wrap her up in a towel, lying on her side. I roll her head towards me to look at her.
Her eyes, normally brown, look grey and filmy. She opens her mouth and wheezes. Her tongue, thick and purple, fills her mouth. She looks like she's choking to death.
Oh my G-d, I've killed my cat, I think. I just about have heart failure myself. I sit her upright in my lap, wrapping her in towels, stroking her to dry her off, and begging her not to keel over and die. Eventually she seems to recover, mostly, and I let her go.
By now she seems all right, but that was the most traumatic pet-bathing incident I've ever had. I'd rather fight with a clawing, biting, screaming animal than cope with one who collapses into my arms like a dead thing.
Ok, cat, you win. No more baths for you.