Magaret B. Davidson
“The book makes it sound real easy.”
I had been leafing through our book on ‘How to Care for your Cat.’ Having located the section titled, ‘Delousing Your Kitten’ I begin reading sections of it to Phil. He is skeptical.
“Why don’t we just take the cat to the vet? They’ll just give it a flea pill or something.”
“We’ve already spent enough on this cat. You insisted that we go to a breeder rather than the SPCA. You wanted a fancy-schmancy high-bred animal. You paid through the nose for it and you got one. The fleas came free, so you can’t complain. We’re not now spending more money on taking it to the vet to get it cleaned up.”
“Okay, but I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Just go to the store and get the stuff. I’ll go find Suki.”
Forty-five minutes later Phil returns with an ultra-large box of baking soda and a supply of small plastic garbage bags. I have managed to restrain Suki on a leash which is tied to the kitchen doorknob. The cat is not happy.
I once more read from the book. The instructions are quite specific and written in such a way that even a moron can understand them:
“One. Grab the plastic bag by its top corner. Shake it open. Go ahead, Phil. I’ll read. You follow the instructions. Two. Pour the whole box of baking powder into the bag. Pour it slowly -- you’re getting it all over the place! Three. This is the tricky part. Place your kitten gently inside the bag being careful not to frighten it... Hold on, I’ll get the cat.”
I grab an irate Suki who is struggling mightily to get away. As I’m attempting to insert the flailing feline into the bag I continue to issue instructions.
“Once I get him inside you have to scrunch the bag closed around his neck. Only his head should be sticking out. Be careful you don’t strangle him. Once he’s positioned in there you give the bag a good shake.”
“You do what? You sure that’s what it says? You know, you’re all covered in baking powder?”
“This is the hardest part... getting him in the bag... There! I’ve got it scrunched around his neck. Can’t give it a shake though without him slipping all the way in. Why don’t you just try to move the bag around his body so that he gets covered in the stuff. I’ll keep hold of him... This isn’t so easy. His claws are making holes in the bag! He’s trying to get out...!”
That’s when the phone rings on the counter right behind me. I am startled and let loose my hold on the bag. The cat leaps three feet in the air, right out of the bag and takes off for the nether regions of the basement. We don’t locate him for another three days. The whole kitchen is enveloped in a mushroom cloud of baking soda, and Phil and I are coughing and choking our lungs out in the fumes. It looks like a mini atom-bomb has hit the area. It is only later that we notice that the cat has urinated, no doubt in terror, all over the cat-care book.
Several hours later when the atmosphere has cleared a little we listen to the message left on our answering machine,
“Hi. This is Ron from ‘Breeding-R-Us.’ You just bought a Siamese cat from me... Well, if you need to de-flea it I can give you something to use. You have to put this tablet of stuff in a sink filled with water and immerse the cat in it for a few minutes. Guaranteed to do the trick. Let me know if you want any.”
“Boy, is he dumb,” I said. Everybody knows that cats hate water. Some people come up with some really stupid ideas!”
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