This is Chloe, my 12-year-old calico. We had two cats already, my husband Cody and I, but he'd always wanted a calico and so registered himself with the Humane Society. One day, the Humane Society called with a name for a private placement of a calico by someone who didn't want to bring the kitten in. By the time we arrived at this guy's home to pick her up, he'd confined her in a kennel, to keep her from romping off into the woods with her cat family before we got there.
She was quite young and we literally had to drag her screaming out of the guy's kennel and put her in our own, then take her on an hour's ride home with her howling all the way. She didn't take kindly to her new cat family either, hissing equally at the cheery Persian Himalayan, Teazle, and the mellow Siamese, Barney. She inherited the nickname of The Pest, which belonged to her new housemates in each of their kittenhoods and is now being worn by Jean-Luc.
She was "Daddy's girl." We didn't know when we got her that Daddy only had a few more months to live, one of those things you don't realize will really happen. She's a 'fraidy-cat, afraid of being confined, so I can't pick her up, or touch her with more than one hand. And I can't groom that long hair and get the knots out for her, because that involves restraint. It's not that she doesn't love me, too. She'll walk all over my chest when I'm trying to read in bed, purring and trying to kiss me. But I'll get nipped if I pat her too long or try to touch her with two hands. While she's shy around other people, a masculine voice piques her curiosity and she'll come out to see who it is. Looking for Daddy?
So imagine if you had to lick all that hair clean. I know. I'm not a cat so maybe she doesn't go "yuck" like I do. But she does get hairballs and regularly deposits used ones around the house. I managed to coax a few tangles out of her "mane" and from her upper sides, but the mats under her belly were hard and painful and she'd cry and move away if a hand came anywhere near them. Something had to be done.
Time for the dread trip to the vet for sedation while she is groomed. It's that same hour-long trip as when we first brought her home. Then home again. (She went RVing under protest with us for years, but we couldn't hear her crying from in back in the rig.) Last night she was NPR. (Can't remember what it stands for but I know it means nothing to eat.) She was closed in the bedroom with me so she couldn't scrounge catfood anywhere. She was so happy to have me all to herself, purring, walking all over me, and then I quickly snatched her into the kennel and she cowered in the back of it, crying, and I was crying at causing her fear and misery and, oh, what a start to the day!
I wanted all tests and monitoring done to assure her safety and she got her necessary shots while unconscious, so there's both a vet bill and a groomer's bill involved. Tonight Chloe is a very valuable cat. She doesn't seem to be embarrassed by her scantily clad form and doesn't flinch when I put a hand on her belly. She's been quiet but purrs when I pet her a little. I'll see whether she thaws out after the boys are put to bed in the kitten room. We'll have to try acclimatizing her to a soft brush while she's short-haired and tangle-free.
Look at that lion-cut for her tail.
See you tomorrow.