Monday, July 02, 2007


As summer kicks in and the heat index intensifies, it's enough to keep our own body and hair groomed and tidy, but those of you with cats, particularly those with long-haired cats, know this is the time of year for massive shedding, abandoned grooming efforts--hey, I'd be over it too using the feline showering method-- which leads to hairballs, painfully matted tangles of fur which pull at their scalp and make for even grumpier kitties than usual.

In a fit of hurling furball overload, every year for the last 3 years right around the 4th of July weekend, I have taken my domestic long-haired alley-cat-- who happened to wander into my yard 12 years ago and subsequently move into my life--in for a shave.

I know. It sounds ridiculous, cruel even, but really, it isn't. In fact the first time I had her shaved, after the initial shock and adjustment wore off, she seemed to lose about 5 cat years along with the extra fur. She became frisky, happy, agile, downright youthful again.

So each summer I have given my kitty, Jade, the pleasure of a trip to the salon for a "lion cut." You know, tall boots, full mane, shaved body and the little poof at the tip of the tail. Comic relief, yes. Hurlage relief too. Everyone was happy.

Until that first and fantastic neighborhood "feline groomer" closed her shop due to neighborhood gentrification and rising rents.

So being that it's that time of year again, this weekend I called around looking for another "pet salon" and found a place that would take her the same day, TLC-Tender Loving Care experienced groomers. Sounded good to me.

I got my daughter up, breakfasted and dressed, and the cat packed up in her carrier, and half-an-hour later we dropped her off for her shave and wash. The lady at the shop seemed nice enough, really chatty, and I was relieved to have been able to check one more thing off my weekend to-do list.

A few hours later I get a call from the groomer saying Jade had bit her and they weren't able to get the job done. She said they would try again later when things were less hectic--and loud--in there. (13 groomers all going at once, dogs and cats and blow driers and shavers barking and yowling and yelping, it was pure animal pandemonium. And even though this wasn't her first time being shaved, it was her first time at this particular venue and I'm sure my cat was pretty freaked out and defensive.)

Another hour goes by and this time the groomer calls telling me she got bit again, they couldn't finish her, and could I please come and pick up my cat. Relieved that she--the groomer-- was OK, not hurt too badly, I began to feel under-whelmed. Afterall, this was their terrain, not mine. What happened to 30 years experience and that tender loving touch? What about finishing the job?

When I got there, Jade,
like some half-shorn sheep, was curled up in a kennel panting from the stress of it all. Poor thing. The shop happily refunded my money and I took my shaken kitty home calming her down with a roll in some catnip.

She's fine, but here's what she looks like now:

I guess in this case TLC doesn't stand for Tender Loving Care, or even The Lion Cut, but rather, Total Lack Of Control.

So what does one do with a half-shaven cat?

Do the neighborhood cats ever snicker... "yo, duude, what happened?"

Do kitties ever feel humiliated over a bad hair day?

P.S. (Three days later) All better now:


Michelle O'Neil said...

That is so sad.

Hope you find someone who can do the job right.

Poor Kitty.

Jerri said...

Love the new look--for the blog and for Kitty (in the end).

I'm sorry either of you had to go through this misadventure.

Nancy said...

The Lion Cut! I love this! Glad she survived that experience and the bad hair day.