While I cringe in horror every time I think about it, many of you fondly recall the Balloon Juice yuletide tale of the Legend of Shitmas 2016. Well, happy Juicers, it appears Shitmas came early in 2017.
Steve has spent the last couple of days pottying on carpets. Why? I don’t know. But I suspect he may have a urinary tract infection, as he has had them before, so I called up the vet and scheduled an appointment. Rosie also needed her nails trimmed and it had been about six months since her last pain shot for her hips, so I made it a twofer. Plus, everyone knows it’s not really a trip to the vet unless it costs close to the last damned dollar you have in your checking account.
After a little while, we managed to coax Steve out from wherever he was hiding in the back yard, and we three-manned him into his crate. To make matters more interesting, Rosie decided to fall/jump/jackrussellterrier into my father’s Koi pond shortly before it was time to leave (I was not there, but tales of Andrew’s heroism rescuing her should not go unmentioned). No, I don’t know if they are actually Koi or some other kind of foreign overweight fucking goldfish, but that is not central to the story and I don’t want to argue with you pedants about it. At any rate, she was fished out (you see what I did there?) and I loaded up the CRV with a recalcitrant and overtly suspicious Maine Coon and a recently moistened Jack Russell Terrier.
Fired up the trusty Honda, turned on the AC, got on the road, and eased into some Dire Straits for the short ride to the vet. With Allah as my witness, everything was going great for the first bit, but during the opening lines of Industrial Disease when the smell hit. It was so foul I had to open the window and stick my head out for the rest of the drive. I got to the vet and left Steve in a crate outside and took Rosie in, and I explained the situation and told them they needed to bring Steve into the back and deal with that because I didn’t want to kill anyone in the waiting room with the smell.
Steve was cleaned up, all went well with the visit, and there were even some mild jokes about this being the easiest stool sample they have collected in a while. I paid up, left, got halfway home, and he shit the crate again and managed to smear it into every inch of his coat. It was then that I realized that I was going to have to bathe the cat.
This was a multi-part operation. William held the towels, Andrew provided moral support, ABC held the leash and served as photographer, and I got, well, the shit end of the stick. The following will serve as documentary for what went down on this otherwise uneventful day.. And yes, that is a dogleash serving as a lariat:
As always, no animals were hurt during this, only maybe a little damaged pride. I am pretty sure I will be bled in my sleep tonight.
Still wondering why there is no blood and how you escaped alive?
ABC is definitely a keeper, since she helped out. I do hope that both pets feel better soon.
You know, for a large cat with the murder in his eyes, he seems surprisingly mellow. No doubt appearances are deceiving.
Even though we have not met in person, it was good knowing you. I assume your papers are in order?
Our emergency backup cat had that problem. It appeared to be fixed with FortiFlora. It’s a powder that gets sprinkled over food and, believe or not, both cats like it.
God love you and the Saints preserve you. The “look” on Steve’s face is priceless. “Why is everybody always picking on me?”.
You had two pieces of good fortune:
1) Maine Coons are known for their unusual comfort with water compared to other cats
2) A shit covered cat is more receptive to bathing than one with a less obvious cleanliness problem.
He took that bath pretty well… I hope they got enough pee for the labs
i don’t think I’ve ever known a cat that would lay on it’s back in the sink while being sprayed with a faucet, and with just one hand holding him there. Maybe he figured it was better to be washed than to have to do it himself the kitty way.
Is he eating something he really shouldn’t when outside? I hope it is that and not something serious.
PS Good thing you put that big kitchen sink in with a spray nozzle!
If you were a cat covered in shit, wouldn’t you want someone else to bathe you? I know I would.
Aww…poor Steve. I hope he feels better soon. That third picture where he’s looking up at you while you’re spraying him with water just slays me. He looks so pitiful. “Why are you doing this to me?”
I wouldn’t be able to sleep had I been the one to receive that look in the last photo.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Everything is a fucking travesty with you, Walter!
@trnc: our second shelter cat, a female orange tabby (tiger? IDK, either way vet says female versions are rare), had some intestinal distress recently. Vet gave us FortiFlora too. Seems to be helping.
She was very skittish when we got her, so we were joking that she literally would get the shit scared out of her. Laughing about it is just about the only way to deal with that *ahem* shit.
The Bloor family adopted our first Maine Coon a little over year ago now. They are big, gorgeous, floofy, affectionate, sociopathic divas.
I’d want Kevlar gloves to give a bath to a cat that size.
I admire the expression of proud and stubborn, lo, even serenely joyful, defiance in Steve’s face. Even through the washing.
I look up to Steve. He gives me strength.
The TunchForce lives!
Edit: why no link to the naked mopping post?
If Steve was not the victor in this battle, Cole would have provided it. A sign, verily, a sign.
I’ll pray for Cole to have strength, even though he doesn’t believe in it.
I love Cole’s true life adventures. And I don’t know if this was a consideration during remodeling, but that sink looks like the perfect setup for catwashing.
Wow, small world, JC…. My tabby, Buddy, did the same thing this morning. I cleaned the bulk of it up with some Pampers. I’m thinking (hoping) that he will manage the detailing on his own and I won’t have to get the hose out..
@dr. bloor: @dr. bloor: I had a Maine Coon that I rescued as a tiny feral floofball in the City Market parking lot. She had her way with me – she was snuggly and affectionate when she was a tiny sick kitty, got me hooked, and then was all like, “whatever, hooman” once she’d recovered. But by then it was too late…she ran away after one too many moves and the introduction of a large dog into our menage. I still miss her. : (
Our late cat Natasha had repeated issues with her ears, and we knew it was bad when she was happy to get into her crate and see the vet, because she knew she would be feeling better.
Plus I suspect that Steve was trying to behave himself in front of the houseguests. Cats are surprisingly willing to do that, especially if they think it will lead to additional petting, snuggles, and treats.
I gave a puppy a bath on Saturday for the first time in 30 years. My bride and I (two years tomorrow) have each had only adult dogs and cats over the last few decades, but this year, on the third yahrzeit of the best dog I ever knew, we came home with a puppy who seems to have been born with the same sweet disposition. All of us have been in learning mode ever since, but she continues to delight. Every day brings a surprise, most of them good. I dreaded the bath, but she took it very well indeed, more with a fatalistic passivity than avid joy, but totally without a struggle. I wish I’d had the sense to take pictures. That was on a day in which she had already achieved several firsts, including meeting the large tortoise an eccentric neighbor was exercising.
When I bathe the cat, I use the firefighter turnout gauntlets they sell at Harbor Freight.
They’ve paid for themselves in band-aids.
I don’t know. As a human, I know I’d like a bath if I were covered in shit. OTOH, I know that cats lick their own assholes, so their opinion about the taste of shit is probably different from ours.
Hope Steve is OK.
@Vor: Gloves? I’d want a bomb squad suit! But my namesake there is giving every appearance of actually digging the hot water, meaning the bigger risk is that he’s going to start demanding it at frequent intervals and has learned how to get it if it’s not immediately forthcoming.
I best pet we ever had was a Maine Coon-esque female who looked a lot like Steve but wasn’t as big. We got her from a couple who volunteered at a no-kill shelter after they realized she just could not deal with the other cats they already had. He told us he bathed them all every 2 weeks, and visited once after we’d had her for awhile, giving us a hard time for “petting her too much” because she looked a bit greasy on top.
We did bathe her twice, both when it seemed like she really was too greasy and was getting terrible mats. We’d fill a bath tub plus 2 watering cans to rinse her off, then I’d sit in the tub, husband would hand her in and close the shower doors. She would whine, but never struggled, never bit or acted out in any way. We got smart and used those backpacking quick dry towels to get her as dry as possible because a hair drier was too terrifying.
It’s been almost 2 years since she passed and we are talking about getting perhaps two well-bonded rescue kitties this fall. My heart is a little scared at being broken again as will always happen, so maybe I’m not quite ready yet.
Steve is a cutie. Seems to be taking it well, and I think that look of “I’m going to kill you in your sleep” is just his bone structure — he looks that way in every photo I have seen of him, and JC has yet to be killed.
Cats like to be clean, and they get frustrated if they can’t clean themselves, so I would say that Steve might not have enjoyed the bath, but he probably preferred it to doing the job himself.
Also, Cole, Steve probably ate something that was bad for him. Ask your neighbors and make sure they’re not leaving out rat poison — if he gets hold of a poisoned rat, that could be the end of poor Steve.
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.”
I hope it was just some stress-related pooping. Poor Steve (and not forgetting all the occupants in the car) but that is one cooperative bath-time cat.
We’re finally getting around to seeing Wonder Woman — I’m just waiting for G to get off work. I haven’t been to Coffee Bean for a while, so I’m sitting here drinking an iced tea while I wait for him.
THat is a hell of a cat you have there Cole! If I tried that with ours I would need 4 pints of plasma and about 187 stitches to close the wounds. You didn’t drug the little guy did you?
Looking at those pictures, I’m not sure you got a true cat bathing experience there. The eyes, ears and body language is shockingly calm vs my cat bathing experiences. But, as others have said, being covered in shit just might be affecting how he feels about the bath.
I love that line & use it often!
At least you can’t blame poor Thurston for this. LOL about Rosie in the pond. Lovey is very curious about ours and, if she was ever off a leash, she’d be swimming with our fishes.
Nice sink, BTW. I doubt this was what you were planning on using it for when you chose it, but a huge sink like that certainly has its advantages.
Just read the ‘Legend of Shitmas 2016’. (How’d I miss it the first time?) Cole, have you ever thought of turning that into a children’s book?
” JC has yet to be killed. ”
Long been known that Cole’s pets plan to kill him by inches, over a very long time. Very cruel plan, but Cole seems to be holding up well.
I love the pic of Steve on his back. I WISH our cats were this chill about getting a bath.
Is it time for him to get another haircut?
Most underrated Rock Band name ever.
So does Steve have a urinary tract infection which is causing him to poo all over himself like that? Funny story but I hope he’s okay.
@jl: Which children do you want to corrupt with that story? It would make a great South Park episode though.
If Andrew and William are reading these comments, I’d just like to say hello and we’re glad to have you in Cole world.
Dead man walking.
It is not true that Maine Coons are comfortable being bathed. I had a Maine Coon-looking rescue that went outside and one fine day came back looking as if he’d fallen into a mud puddle. I tried to get him into the tub, but he braced his front paws and back paws against either side and cried while I tried to dislodge him so I desisted. Thereafter I chased him with a wet towel and got off the worst of the mud, but the rest was up to him.
He never came back that muddy ever again, though.
I love your bath time with Steve.
I bathe my Buddy who is 19 yo and sometimes gets a bit unkempt. Initially he fought it but now, he seems to enjoy it (at least somewhat). I put the drying towels in the dryer to warm them up (less a problem in summer). He seems quite proud afterwards and it definitely fluffs up his fur.
Most of all, its a great opportunity to rub him down and love him. His purr machine never stops during this…
@Patricia Kayden: Take it up with Cole. I’m just the messenger.
Steve looks like he is enjoying the bath. I hope his results come back on the well side.
Yay Andrew, yay William. Lucky for you they were there + willing to lend a hand. When the cat here has to be caught or gunk washed off, everyone evaporates. Washing shit off a cat in a bathtub without help and w/o harm : nearly impossible.
Great pictures too.
In our cats stress brings on UTIs (one) and diarrhea (both). Our coonish fellow poops in the doorways when he gets upset, like being left alone for a day or two. Probiotics helped. He gets the UTIs when he gets stressed or if can’t go outside to pee on leafy twigs or whatever it is.
Someone has probably already said this, but I live for these stories. It’s one reason I keep reading this blog, along with the great factual and political information from other front pagers. I laughed all the way through, and I feel much better now. So thanks, John Cole and company.
RIP Joe Cocker 70. Fuck cancer.
Edited. that was 2014. Showed up on Facebook just now.
The pictures are hilarious, Cole. You better watch your back.
HALP! I is being waterboarded.
The look on Steve’s face is priceless!
Our Maine Coon was the sweetest pet I ever owned but also the most nervous. He would never scratch during the infrequent bath but I always feared he’d have a heart attack from the stress. (Lived to 15, healthy except for his last day…hearty cat) He needed baths more than the others because of his long butt hair.
Some of our other cats probably would have slit my throat had I attempted to bathe them so lucky they were both clean and short haired.
@Mnemosyne: Well, that settles it then. Two long haired females will be joining us after our big trip in September. My husband has allergy problems with short hairs but was hardly bothered at all by our last two long hairs or any long hair he’s ever met. Its time to get back on the petcare bus
Blog Post Fact Check:
Steve: JG was very good at bossing everyone into supporting roles (“William, you are Towel Boy!” etc.) and not so good at actually cleaning the cat. So I took over the scrubbing and JG assumed my job (which was Make Sure Steve Stays In The Sink). Steve was a perfect angel, as you can see in the pictures – I have never owned a cat that would have submitted to gracefully to such a process. He only attempted to escape once, which JG failed to notice until I was like “OMG you had ONE JOB can you keep the cat in the fucking sink?!” (It was a long day.)
Rosie: JG wasn’t even there. The boys and I were sitting on the back porch at his parents’ house when Andrew said “Are the dogs supposed to go in the pond?” We all look over and Rosie (whose back legs aren’t what they once were, as I am sure you are all aware) is in the pond and cannot get out. The other four dogs (his parents have two and his brother was there with another two) are standing around watching her struggle and doing nothing. No barking. Nothing. I have never seen dogs behave less like Lassie in my life. I hauled Rosie out of the pond and JG’s brother hosed her off. He did attempt to give her a more thorough cleaning, but she objected. With her teeth.
In all seriousness, we are so happy to be here. Right now the boys are playing lacrosse in the backyard, I am having a badly-needed glass of wine, and West Virginia feels like home. <3
Maybe nervous shits is a Maine Coon thing. Spike was the most laid back cat ever – to the point that I was almost convinced he was deaf, except he could hear a can being opened a block away. But any time we’d put him in the carrier and head for the vet’s he’d let loose, with the result Cole describes. Even in sub-freezing temps I’d be hauling ass with the windows down.
About half of all cats who get frequent cystitis don’t have infections – the irritation is caused by urinary crystals. My cat went through this some years ago and has been on a prescription food that keeps urine pH neutral. Aside from one or two bouts while he peed out the existing crystals, he hasn’t had a problem since.
I’m sad tonight because I said good-bye to my neighbor’s cat whom I’ve cat-sat for nearly 16 years. She at least got a nice afternoon to sun herself in the yard before the vet came.
Great story, really glad it’s not my cat pooping on herself but then she’d die of shame and embarrassment if she did.
I’m missing her right now.
We’re on vacation, driving from Seattle to see some stuff in Wyoming like Devil’s Tower, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, before the Republicans sell them to timber and mining companies for pennies on the dollar.
We are barely in Idaho this evening, in Coeur d’Alene, and we’ve already seen a gun nut, an older woman with plates declaring her as grandma and a bumper sticker saying “Body Piercing by Block”. WTF, Idaho?
Tomorrow, Bozeman Montana for 4th of July. On Friday-Sunday we are attending Longmire Days in Buffalo, WY. The author, Craig Johnson, will be on hand as well as several of the stars of the tv show. It’s unclear if Lou Diamond Phillips will attend but he usually does.
@StringOnAStick: Male cats are usually the allergy culprits. Something to do with their saliva.
@Catherine D.: The vet made a house call? That’s so nice.
Around here, a good number of vets will euthanize at home. It’s less stress all around.
That cat is calm enough during a bath to be in focus.
Pictures suggest the kitteh is actually enjoying himself. Ears are up, pupils undilated, eyes narrow. He certainly isn’t stressed. He’s not quite so sanguine about being rolled on his back and held down, though.
Seven more photos (c’mon ABC) and the Balloon-Juice 2018 calendar is DONE
J R in WV
Years ago, we were still in the old farmhouse (shack) and driving old used farm trucks. Our favorite cat, Ralph, a white cat with red spots who got his name because that was what he said, mostly “Raaallph”, got under the truck, which was a little leaky, and had old transmission fluid and engine oil down his back.
So we had to bathe him, as Cole did, in the kitchen sink. I did wear heavy gloves, but like Steve, he calmed down quickly. I used warm not hot water, and Dawn dish soap, because that’s what they use recovering critters from oil spills.
Ralph lived a long time, had bowel problems after eating a WHOLE rabbit, just left the fuzzy part of the butt. We used Metamucil at first, and then pumpkin with wet food. Nearly 20 when he passed.
Was curled around his food bowl at the foot of the steps when he went. I heard him cough around 2 am, but knew if it was really something serious there was nothing we could do, a hour or more from the Vet ER, plus, he was really elderly. A wonderful cat, smart, active, affectionate. Nearly 19 pounds. Mostly muscle. Probably about 20 years old.
You survived another Shitmass.Bravo! We just had a similar, but not as disatrous experience with our long haired cat, a Maine Coon wannabe. Let’s see a cleaned up photo of Steve.
BTW, he’s adorable.
@pika: I’m ON IT!
Well, so what is the vet’s diagnosis for Steve? I have never had a cat in my 60 years who ever did that. I want to know the diagnosis just in case.
And I don’ t know what you’re complaining about, John, that looked like the easiest cat bath in the history of bathing cats. Nice sink, too.
Poor Steve; but if he wasn’t pooping in the sink from the stress of the bath I hope it means he’s on the mend. Great pictures ABC!
And you picked the same countertop color as I did. You have great taste.
Those eyes looking up at you are killing me. I miss my Maine Coon cat.
Hope all the humans, feline, and canines have a peaceful night.
@ABCConcepts: WTF ever happened to artistic license. AND I GOT ALL THE SHIT OFF HIM. You scrubbed his BACK.
So — we had this big un-neutered tomcat (so I identified with his situation and nixed the procedure– so sue me) and we moved into a house where the basement was infested with fleas from a previous mangy dog. We didn’t immediately recognize that the basement was the problem and my wife just bought some flea shampoo and instructed me to bathe my cat. Started off trying to put him in the bathtub but he wouldn’t fit. (Did I say he was big? He splayed out so his feet on either side overlapped the tub. No way could I get him in.) So, plan B. Placed him on the bath mat, got the shampoo and started rubbing it in with a little water and massaging him. He LOVED it. Purr, purrr. Got him soaped all over. Now for the rinse part. I filled a large bucket with water, took the cat outside, stood him on the front porch and drenched him with the bucketful of water. Piece of cake. He took off, of course but came back dry and flea-free.
BUT. We hadn’t fixed the source of the problem — the dog fleas in the basement. So a little later I had to do it all over again. No worries — got the technique down by this time. Soap, soap, soap. Bucket of water. Front porch. Ready, set… Cat remembers the last time. Takes off running down the street. I’m chasing after this soapy cat with a full bucket of water… Not at all dignified…threw it,missed him… He eventually came back. Don’t know haw he got rid of the shampoo — probably just licked himself clean.
Worried for hygiene in your kitchen
Dude, I hope that’s not the kitchen sink!
@Roger Moore: Steve in the fist pic: “I feel shitty…?”
Steve in the last pic:
“I feel a lot less shitty…?”
@John Cole: I think you’ve finally met your match with ABC, John G – you two are adorbs…even your squabbles.
P.S. I hope someone really cleaned out that sink well, apres bath!
In the last five years of Madame’s 24 year life, she got… shall we say, lackadaisical about bathing. She’d been a bit conditioned to be lazy about it, since her partner in crime, whom I’ll call George, was a very sweet and none too bright sidekick. She’d start bathing him to con him into reciprocation, then she’d stop and he’d keep going. For most of her 18 years with George, she did about 25% of her own bathing and left the rest to her lackey. When George died at a respectable 18, she never picked back up on her game, and we took over.
It wasn’t that Madame wasn’t feline fastidious — she was — or too exhausted to do her own bathing — she wasn’t, even at the very end — but that it wasn’t appropriate to her dignity as the undisputed Empress of the Universe and Mistress of All She Surveilled. When she wanted a bath, she’d remind me that it was time, cornering me near the big kitchen sink and yelling and dancing. She didn’t like the first bath I ever gave her, but after the second, she was *hooked*.
I still miss Madame in all her varieties, but I especially miss bath time. She never weighed more than 7.5 pounds, she was a teeny tiny Siamese with the most gorgeous fractal blue eyes and an enormous voice that she rarely used until she was about 14 and I started working from home, she had a criminal mastermind, and was one of the most affectionate, intelligent and loyal cats I’ve ever known. I miss those cats. I don’t know when we’ll have another, because Spouse’s moderate cat allergy turned severe as Madame aged — not that it ever stopped Spouse from letting Madame sleep on him, even while his arms were breaking out in hives. George was a warm armful of love, about twice Madame’s size, a paranoid but usually too stoned to be mean catnip drunk, and happiest when he had a human he could blink at and silent meow to. They gave us great memories. (Also, Madame is from Bethany. George was born in Morgantown while Spouse was at WVU, rescued from a neighbor’s toddler who may be responsible for some of George’s not too bright qualities. Madame was highly irritated when Spouse brought home George, but she clearly got over it, though she made it her life’s work to outlive the other kitties and be an only cat again. Mission accomplished.)
Well doesn’t that just shave the cats’ ass.
This was the best part of the story. Glad the kids and pets are okay, and everyone is shit-free.
Big Jim Slade
Merry Shitmas, John!!!
The fourth picture is the stuff of legends.
You are good for Cole. Hope that you are around for a long time.?
@Big Jim Slade:
Yes! We can say that again!
Ye gods, John. I have owned cats all my life and I have never… I’m not going to say I wouldn’t put up with it, because I would for a cat I loved… But motherfucker…
Tim in SF
Hey John (and every other Balloon-Juicer with a dog or cat):
Please watch Pet Fooled. It’s on Netflix. It’s important.
Looking at the pics and reading the story with moist eyes, no, not on John’s behalf, but because of the memories of our dear departed Mamie Coon Buckaroo Banzai, who left us at age 18 a year and a half ago. I have many fond memories of cleaning the crap out of his nether regions when he got sick. We always said he must have eaten a bad mouse, he was an indoor / outdoor cat as he willed. One of my favorite pics of him is my wife holding him up so I could get the shot of his belly, which was embedded with snowballs each a couple inches big, from his rolling and playing in the snow. We still miss him and his sister Josephine. They were like members of our family for a good quarter of of our lives.
I’ve found that Hill’s Prescription SD Kibble works wonders for keeping the cats’ plumbing flowing properly.
Those look like dagger eyes to me…