Cats are fastidious. everybody knows that. Our feline friends spend literally hours grooming their pelts, equipped as they have been by a generous Mother Nature with the ultimate biological rasp which doubles as a comb: the tongue. Anyone who has ever witnessed a cat fully engrossed in the important act of hygienic maintenance can attest that this absorbs their concentration completely and that every spot will be inspected with meticulous care for blemishes – which are swiftly and professionally dealt with. So important is grooming to the cat that he will even employ it with success as a calming therapy, a relaxation method for those anxious moments when a feline is unsure about himself or his safety.
But Bean Sidhe, one might say, is hygienically challenged. Cursed with a gloriously lush pelt this kitten has found grooming to be a tedious chore, never finished, always waiting. Add to his furry bane the fact that said fur is partially white, and thus extremely prone to dirt, and you get the picture: a very filthy kitten at times, one who tackles his grooming duties with a kind of mad desperation and stubborn resignation. Bean Sidhe would love to have an easy wash. I guess that is why he sometimes licks me instead of an offending furry limb of his.
Observe our part-Maine Coon kitten at his dreaded daily duty. Watch how he flops down his quite substantially pelted form on any available yet comfortable surface and starts to get on with the job. Admire the tiny tongue, which on closer inspection doesn’t look so tiny at all -how can you carry that kind of gigantic wad around anyhow Ban-Ban ?? Oh yes, I see, that mouth of yours is rather barn-like as well now that you kindly point it out to the uneducated… Geeh, as if I needed to be impressed by the porcelain cutlery. That humongous rasp alone gives me the shivers.
Then our Kitten From Hell proceeds with the most serious part of his endeavour. He attacks the belly-fur. Since there is quite a lot of belly on that kitty he has his job cut out for him allright. And next follows the back, which is not to be sneezed at either. Forget grace and litheness, Bean Sidhe twists his frame into the weirdest contortions in order to reach all those spots that he wouldn’t be able to get to were he to obey mere Laws of Nature. We have always suspected cats carry this pocket spatial anomaly with them, to be used at will, that allows them to -frankly- get the tongue at the most back-wards back spot of his back. I have once seen a cat washing his neck. The nape of his neck. Really, you don’t want to know how he did it. Alas for Bannikins, he has yet to master the finer points of Art of Felyne Mystykk and so the nape of his neck is terra incognita still. When you know where he’s been all day you really really don’t want to pick him up by the scruff. Unless you like to sand-blast your hand afterwards that is.
Next on his schedule is the hind-quarters. Not that he would name them so. In his dictionary the hind-quarters are better known as “mmpffsplfrtrrspff”. Which is the sound he generally makes when his little natural rasp explores the nether regions. It doesn’t sound as awful as our late woofie’s “sgnorf sgnorf sgnorf ” used to sound for roughly the same procedure but he comes close. And honestly, this part of his daily hygienic maintenance cycle is the more delicate one. We simians rarely consider this, for we are bashful about our more intimate body-parts, but for the feline it is a matter of keeping matters clean and relatively odourless or advertising to the world (which consists for a large part of prey, and a smaller yet not so insignificant part of enemy) his presence. Thus our Kitten From Hell, ever mindful of Zorro and his dark-hearted ilk, takes special care of that area despite the almost insurmountable obstacle of one quite furry belly. Or the equally daunting task of first locating the aforementioned parts in his lush pelt and subsequently cleaning them amidst the abundance of fur. Hence the spluttering sound that he is wont to emit during this tricky procedure. It is caused by his efforts to sort out the fur with his teeth whilst giving the “ahem”-parts a thorough rinse. You have to applaud and admire his tenacity. He does this every day.
But exhaustion soon sets in, for a creature already known for his hedonistic ways a certain torturous state to be in, and so the Kitten From Hell ceases his cat-wash and settles for a nap. Hence the rather bedraggled state of his paws, which he sadly usually neglects because his other sanitary duties have so terribly weakened him – and his resolve to finish the job properly. At rare occasion Bean Sidhe has been observed giving his paws a perfunctory lick, with a disgusted look on his furry little face and a limp tongue. Alas, most of the time he just goes limp and leaves his paws be.
Don’t even mention the caudal appendage. Suffice it to tell that when I give him a brushing and start on that tail of his you can hear his protests a mile away. Perhaps he likes the way it tends to attract debris and tries to cultivate an entirely new range of life-forms ?
Picture below: Yeah, he’s diggin’. He’s diggin’ deeeeeep. Leaves you wondering why he won’t suffocate…
All aboard !! All aboard !! The Friday Ark is embarking on yet another voyage fantastique…