Happiness Is Having A Scratch For Every Itch

One of the chores I detest most at this time of year is applying flea treatment to the cats. As we live in the heart of Devon’s glorious countryside, a monthly application is required and our cats detest it. Contrary to popular feline belief spot on flea treatments are not barbaric torture rituals although the SAS would envy the avoidance techniques applied by both Chloe & Hobo. Once the tin foil packets are unwrapped our beloved pets are MIA, so it was with a sinking heart and scars barely healed from the last application that I reluctantly agreed to help my Dad with the dreaded task in hand.

Mother at first was a little reticent about the assignment until she’d checked that the premiums had been paid on my Dad’s life assurance policy and that I’d had my tetanus booster jab. Once she’d established that we were both covered we were cleared for take-off and despatched with a cheery wave.

Armed with the tools of our trade, oversize bath towel, First Aid kit, gardening gauntlets, safety goggles (for us not the cats) and a large can of Red Bull (minus the vodka which would come later) to replenish my depleted energy reserves as this would be an epic capture and release mission, one which would require stealth, cunning and the quick fire reflexes of a cheetah. To encourage our elusive four-legged family into the garden where the covert operation was being carried out, we had decided to feed them their breakfast al fresco on the glass table top of my mother’s new and treasured patio set. An irresistible breakfast of lightly cooked fish had been lovingly prepared by Mum and the pungent aroma wafting around the garden would be sure to entice our little cuddle bunnies into the awaiting trap.

I should just mention at this point that in addition to our own two; “One speed Hobo” and “Chloe Hellcat” the menopausal nightmare, the foster “Miss Thumbs”;we also have a new addition of a rather large timid male tabby who’d obviously been living rough for a while and had taken shelter in our garden.

The New Lodger

The New Lodger

At first Dad had insisted that we didn’t feed him, as he’d probably go home when he became hungry, which lasted all of half a day before he inevitably caved in. After asking around we discovered that he had belonged to family renting a house further down the street who had moved out leaving no forwarding address and their family pet. So then there were four!

First up was Hobo who has never been able to resist an al fresco running buffet for cats; at least that’s what he thinks a barbecue is! As he jumped onto the table I had the towel ready and quickly secured him or so I thought. Hobo managed through sheer brute strength (he’s a big boy) and determination to out-manoeuvre me but I was up and running after him. At the privet hedge I headed him off at the pass and took him down WWE Smackdown style sitting astride him whilst waiting for my partner in crime to hand me the required medication. The low howls and growls emitted attracted the attention of many of our neighbours, who I’m sure were contemplating phoning the RSPCA to report us for animal cruelty. Dad who had been distracted by the World Cup commentary on the radio was a little slow off the mark and had forgotten to remove the cap from the little pipette which I had to do with my teeth. Regrettably whilst I was using one hand to restrain the struggling big fella I accidentally swallowed a mouthful of the solution and hoped that there were no adverse effects for humans as I didn’t want to be spending the following week marking my territory and sleeping in next door’s apple tree. I also made a mental note to gargle with vodka a little later just to be on the safe side, you understand.

Hobo shot off like the hounds of hell were in hot pursuit and sulked for a few hours after that before hunger pangs got the better of him and he returned for tea but made sure that we were all aware of his displeasure.

Miss Thumbs was a perfect little lady when it came to apply her flea treatment (although her table manners could use some work) and whilst a little miffed, the latest addition grudgingly allowed us to apply her medication before she slunk off to take refuge in the shrubbery where she spent the afternoon licking her wounds.

As expected Chloe Hellcat was something else altogether! Streaking into the garden like a high-speed train she leaped onto the table to be caught mid jump in my gauntlets; clearly I had a future with the England soccer team as a goalie.

Chloe Hellcat

Chloe Hellcat

As the littlest and lightest of all four cats one would expect her to be able to offer the least resistance but as a former feral cat she clearly wasn’t going down without a fight. With the disposition of a deadly Asian Hornet, she scratched and bit her way through my gauntlets and I wondered not for the first time why we didn’t have a tortoise instead of cats.

As her rear claws sank into my wrist and my blood seeped through the gauntlet I had no choice but to hold on for grim death and as she and I tussled and crashed to the ground I tripped over the leg of the table. As if in slow motion the glass table top shattered into what looked like a million pieces and I knew that the old dear wasn’t going to like that very much. My Dad had a more practical approach and headed off to the shed for a tube of superglue but I secretly thought there was not enough superglue in Devon for this particular job! Looked like he was going to be needing that life cover after all.

When the remnants of the patio table had been swept up and deposited in the dustbin and my war wounds bathed with antiseptic, he turned to me and said in all earnest “So when do you think we should worm them then”?

Final score Cats 1 Humans 3 and to borrow a phrase from the television commentators of the beautiful game “They think it’s all over, well it is now”!

The Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club

35 thoughts on “Happiness Is Having A Scratch For Every Itch

  1. Hilarious! Brought back memories of getting our Ollie into the cat box to take him to the vet. If we didn’t manage it first time we were doomed. Have they stopped sulking yet?


  2. This is truly an LOL! As I laughed uproariously, louder and louder till the final guffaw. GREAT writing, my dear. Funny as I just had to treat Linden day before yesterday. Here’s my story. I noticed she was off her food, swollen lip, runny eyes, and not sleeping in her usual spots. I debated a trip to the vet (she hasn’t been there in 4 years!), but as that results in hundreds of dollars (“We should get an x-ray of her stomach,” the lady on the phone said) and as she finally gave me the unassailable cue, repeated scratching as she sat near my feet, I headed to the store for the treatment med. It wasn’t my usual brand, and my vet is far away, so I struggled a bit with getting it opened (you really have to do that before you grab the cat!) and then try not to spill it. But, I simply said to her, “You want some meat?” She walked over, I grabbed her, swiveled her around facing away and stuck her between my knees and squirted it on before she knew what happened. She didn’t like it, but I massaged what I hadn’t spilled into her skin and let her go. Of course, she is a HOUSE cat, haha, so that makes it all easier and the story so much less entertaining! xoxo – Kaye


  3. You made me think of the wild stories of giving a cat a bath between hilarious laughter at your description. Wish I had it still to pass on.


  4. You both should be receiving hazard pay! NOW I remember why I had dogs. They don’t like it much better, but they would rather suffer that and still get the buffet than fight for their principals and starve. I feel for you Tink (and Pops)…NOT an enviable job. Now…what of her majesty’s reaction to the new patio table? LOL


  5. Cats instead of gerbils! That line was hilarious (I actually owned a gerbil once, definitely less crazy than cats but still managed to perform Houdini feats and escape from its cage regularly). I’m sorry you broke the glass table! Are you at least okay? Tables can be replaced, people can’t be! I’ve watched people wrestle their cats into cat carriers and I’m always amazed at the Herculean acrobatics they use to try to evade capture. I’m glad you (and the cats) survived the ordeal!

    We have to apply tick treatments to my dog too in the summer since we have deer that regularly tromp through our backyard. Ticks carry Lyme’s Disease here and since they attach themselves to my dog, that means they could potentially come off him and attach themselves to us. The number of times I have had to pry off a blood engorged tick off my dog… I’ll spare you the details. However, he’s pretty laid-back about the whole thing and doesn’t care. He only gives us a hard time when we give him a bath (he hates getting wet and dragging him out in the rain to do his business is like trying to pull around a small brick) or when we try to give him pills which I’ve had to do this week. We have this magical thing in America called Pill Pockets in which you can stick the pills in which masks the taste.


  6. Next, I’ll be hearing that you are taking on Mt Kilimanjaro. Aways an adventure around your place. I am certain the Hound of the Baskervilles would be too afraid to meet up with your delightful four!


  7. Our two cats got their treatment last night. We are still trying to recover, and the cats are sulking.

    Lovely cats, and the blog is both well written and very entertaining!


  8. Wonderful Dallas! We used to have major fun on trips when it came to having the cats treated before crossing the channel to the UK. We’re very relieved that the treatment is no longer a legal requirement 😉 Funnily enough, our own five cats are mostly fine about the tick and flea treatment but our ginger fellow Edgar is deeply offended by the alcohol in the mix and can smell it for miles. We have to creep up on him when he’s asleep.


  9. Pingback: The Dog’s Tao of Itching and Scratching | Puppy Dog Tales

  10. I am convinced Chloe is related to my Poppet as the scenario was so incredibly similar to the one we had to go through when she was younger. now as an old lady she tolerates it and then takes a more calculated revenge by heading into the kitchen and knocking anything she can off the work tops before going to sleep on top of the boilers and daring anyone to wake her. The dogs are soooooo much easier lol


  11. G’day Dallas, I had to chuckle at the picture of you wrestling the cats into submission. Reminded me of the house sit last year with 6 ragdoll cats and their monthly flea treatment. The hardest part was finding their skin under all the hair while they struggled and squirmed to get away. Then I always worried if it was doing any good as they all used to lick each other just where I had put the squirt of stuff. Any way they all survived the 3 months I looked after them and the house was not over run with fleas…


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