So I spent all of last Saturday night washing my childhood pet. This doesn’t sound like a lot of work but the pet in question was a cat who never really caught onto the whole “I am a cat and therefore have amazing balance skills and clean myself regularly” concept. In fact this cat was known for the number of things it could fall off of. Its lack of hygiene was never really a problem until my parent’s elderly cat died and Splat was left to fend for and clean himself.
On top of having a fairly significant problem with dandruff Splat* also had a habit of finding giant dirt piles and rolling in them. He would then rub himself against the person nearest to him, effectively creating a cat-dirt version of a brass rubbing. You know where you lay paper against something really old and then take a metallic crayon to it? The result was like that only with more feline dander and small beetles. It was quite possibly the grossest thing next to discovering cat barf in your shoes after you’ve put them on. Eventually my parents were so disgusted with the state of Splat’s fur that they shipped him off to the groomers. To my knowledge Splat is the only cat to have ever endured a professional cleaning.
Anyway so last Saturday night I shampooed, then rinsed Splat’s coat, then shampooed again because of all the dander and grease. It took a while; Splat was quite resistant to both the water and the soap. Of course he was also rather dirty.
The sense of exhaustion when I opened my eyes on Sunday morning was overwhelming but my first thought was “Well at least the cat is clean.” But that’s when I realized that the cat I had spent all night lathering, rinsing and repeating had been dead for a year. And I was annoyed. Not only because I was so tired from washing a dead cat all night but I didn’t even get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Cursing both my poor sleep and my subconscious, who was responsible for the weird dream, I got up.
Fast forward a couple of hours, I’ve completed an exhausting ten km race in fifty minutes and am now sitting in my aunt’s kitchen at a family get together. If pressed I would say that hands down bathing the dead cat was more tiring than the race.
My Dad is standing at the counter loading up on potato salad. From across the room I loudly say “Dad, you didn’t notice all the work I did last night.”
My Dad stops mid scoop, having lived in a house full of three women for twenty some odd years he knows that forgetting to notice and thank someone for housework is right up there with high treason. Very slowly he turns to face me, fully expecting to be chastised for not appreciating the clean kitchen/ laundry/ basement, in front of our whole family to boot.
“I was up all night cleaning our dead cat. I shampooed his coat.”
My Dad started to laugh and went back to scooping salad onto his plate. I know one thing’s for sure, that is the last time I stay up all night shampooing beloved, deceased pets. Neither of my parents bothered to thank me for my efforts.
*Names have not been changed because the late cat in question always liked my mother better than me to begin with.
** Special thanks to my Dad who looked through all our family photos to find one of Splat and then sent it to me, on very short notice, because that’s who I am.