When I’m up on my game (meaning, I remember and have the time and energy), I will bathe the kittens that will be leaving soon for their new homes; more so if the kitten will be joining another cat along with his or her new family. This way, the kitten will smell more neutral to the other cat instead of so much like my house. I have found this helps to gain acceptance in the feline world.
The kitten bath is much simpler and easier than the type I give a show cat. I use shampoo or even hand soap, holding a squirming kitten in my kitchen sink while it jumps like a kangaroo to attempt escape. Sometimes a kitten panics and needs to be scruffed. Sometimes it simply gives up and lies down in the sink. The bathing process takes about five minutes, then the kitten is toweled off and placed in a carrier where I direct warm air from a blow dryer at low speed on the drowned rat-looking thing. Kitten coat is comparatively fast and easy, enabling the offended party to be released after about 10 minutes of drying. It will still be damp, but not easily chilled by then, happy to walk out and groom itself thoroughly.
Sometimes a kitten surprises me, but none like the other night. I had already bathed his littermate with no problem and moved onto Kitten Number Two. As soon as this kitten heard the water from the faucet hit the stainless steel sink, he panicked. I moved to scruff position with my right hand, but this little guy was determined to escape and he bit down on the index finger of my left hand. I let go as I was now bleeding from three places and it hurt!
I’ve been bitten before, even to the point of vomiting and requiring antibiotics administered intravenously in the Urgent Care every eight hours for two days several years ago. I understand and appreciate the seriousness of a cat bite. This is why I have my doctor prescribe Augmentin so I can always have some on hand (no pun intended) in the event of a bad bite.
My finger bled quite a bit while I waited for the pain to subside. There was a lot of swearing and near-crying on my end. I took an Augmentin and just sat with ice on it for a while, waiting for my husband, Jay, to come inside so I could share my drama. Jay was appropriately concerned, offering me wine and Ibuprofen and fixing salad for supper. My finger was still throbbing when I went to bed that night, but I told myself that if it were worse in the morning, I’d call the doctor.
The next morning, it seemed better. At least my finger didn’t hurt anymore and the swelling was still confined to the first knuckle. By afternoon, my second knuckle looked a little swollen too. I could tell a difference when I compared my two index fingers. I showed it to Jay for his opinion while I was driving us to Home Depot to pick up more lumber for the larger chicken coop we’re working on. Now picture this: I’m driving the car. Jay is sitting in the passenger seat. Keeping my eyes on the road, I crossed my left hand over toward my caring husband and said, “Look,” dangling my wounded finger in front of him. I expected an “Oh my goodness! It looks more swollen. Does it still hurt?”
Instead I got a “What?”
“Look!” I repeated, waving my finger again. So what does my husband do, my husband who knows my finger has been mutilated by a vicious animal, who witnessed my arm in a sling years ago when I was being treated for a serious cat bite, who has been bitten himself and sympathizes with the pain and concern involved? What does he do? He pulls my finger.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“I thought you were making a joke and wanted me to pull your finger.”
“No! No! No! What’s with you and farting? I just wanted you tell me if you thought it looked more swollen.”
“Oh. No, it looks the same.”
“Not for long. You want to step on my hand next?”