Monday, February 1, 2016

True Tales of Furred Siblings

We have a battle going on here at home.

I usually remember to brush the cat and the dog about the time the cat pukes a hunk of wet fur the size of a mouse. It's gross. Fur-butt appearing on black pants or fur-shoulders can remind me too, but that's usually when Nick is about to go into karate and he's covered and we're not at home right then anyway. I never notice when I have a bad case of fur-butt myself because I don't have many mirrors that reflect that. I don't look for trouble, folks. But when Nick is walking into the dojo with a layer that he might be proud of on his head when he hits fifty-five, I think that maybe, just maybe, I should groom the dog.

Sometimes I'm reminded to groom them when the cat takes matters into his own hands and grabs an implement in his front paws and starts the process himself. Today, he had the rake upside down and looked to be poking his eye out with it. Four years ago, I had to get the rake because when Teddy lost all of his long beautiful fuzzy locks as a puppy, the Furminator wouldn't even go through it. His fur was too thick and the poor puppy began to think of grooming as a torture activity, yelping included. The Furminator worked perfectly on Seth though, and I've since used it in between shedding seasons on Teddy with lots of success. What you need to know with an exuberant cat who loves the Furminator is that it actually cuts hair. Seth got a little thin on his back once after a particularly loving and attentive session. Teddy still doesn't like it all that much, but it has its uses.

You know, I wish they made a Furminator without those two corners on them. That would have made Teddy much happier when I was using it on him as a pup. A curved comb would be perfect. Plus, I wish it had a knob instead of a handle because when Seth gets excited, the handle keeps getting in the way. Can you picture that? Or maybe a place to wrap your fingers in on top like the new silicone oven mitts that look like Kermit the Frog when you buy it in green.

Okay. Enough. I would redesign the world if I could. Can openers? Don't get me started.

So, I had begun to use the Zoom Groom on the cat when the dog came over and bumped my leg. Of all the implements, the animals like the Zoom Groom the best. It's a silicone thing with knobs on one side that massages and brings up clumps of dirt. Oh, I haven't met a creature yet that didn't love the Zoom Groom. There are no sharp edges. It helps to keep them clean. It pulls out old fur that had detached and threatens to form mats. I've been using the same Zoom Groom since 1995 with at least five pets. I wish I had someone to use a Zoom Groom on my back.

When I looked down at Teddy who kept bumping my leg, he stared up at me as if to say, "I thought you loved me best. You love me, right?"

So, I let him sniff the wad of cat fur that I was not going to have to clean off the carpet next week in a wet hunk of putrefaction. Seth bumped my hand with his head and I got back to brushing him.

"I'll be done in a minute. Then it'll be your turn," I said to Teddy. Seth stared down at Teddy.

"Not on your life, snot-sucker. Do you see her attending to you?" Seth can be cruel sometimes.

Seth stood up, walked in a circle, and looked down at Teddy's pitiful eyes again. How is it that a cat's eyes can convey such superiority? He seemed to say, "I'm going to take my time, puke-muncher. This is obvious evidence that she loves me more. It's my turn ... forever." And Teddy whined a little bit and looked away.

I gathered a hunk the size of a Brillo pad and tried to gauge when Seth would start to bite my hand to stop. We were close. I always try to stop well before he reaches that point. The problem was that Seth hadn't declared that we were finished. But I had.

I held the implements in one hand and called Teddy. I slipped on Mike's outdoor slippers. Teddy slid through the door with a look at Seth that said, "I told you she loved me." I tucked the little Brillo pad of gray cat fur into the terracotta pot where I put old fur. It's February. It's time to make sure the extra fur gets into that pot for cozy nests and warm fledglings.

Suddenly, I became aware of cheering chickadees in the trees. Had they been singing like that before I came outside? Was I imagining their excitement? All the fur I'd left on the ground at the last grooming was gone. There was still a tiny clump of old wet fur in the pot.

Teddy stood in his spot, waiting. Seth, on the other hand, stood on the other side of the screen door and wailed.

"She loves me best, hump-meister!"

"I do love you," I said to Seth. "I brushed you first. Remember?" I started on Teddy with the rake and pulled up a lot of old undercoat. The chickadees cheered as I added a hunk of cream-colored fur to the gray stuff in the pot.

"That's not fair. She can't possibly love you, you bagless-mongrel."

"Of course I love Teddy too. I love both of you." I switched to the Furminator and worked on the little spot on Teddy's thigh that turned pink when he licked his butt too long. Last week, with me on the couch harboring a cold, pink fur became the new black. I added a little wad of pink fur to the pot.

"It's going to be my turn in two seconds, butt-sniffer," Seth seemed to spit. The pot was beginning to look like a pretty knitting project. Cream and gray with a touch of pink highlights. I could knit a sweater out of these two. I smiled as I thought that the chickadees were going to do just that. I wish I could see one of those nests. I imagine they're seriously pretty and functional too.

I finished with the Zoom Groom, pulling long guard hairs out of the knobs and tossing them into the ivy.

"No, not the Zoom Groom! That's mine, you flocculent eunuch! It is my turn, now!" And I was finished. I swiped my hands together and collected my tools. Teddy leaned into my legs a little bit before he walked over to where the cat was staring, burning holes in the screen door.

"See, she really does love me," Teddy seemed to say.

I opened the door to the screen, slid the over-sized slippers off my feet, and dropped all but the Zoom Groom onto the floor by the coffee table. Seth jumped onto the back of the recliner where I casually rubbed his back and neck with the Zoom Groom, collecting no more than a pinch of loose fur.

"But she loves me more, zit-licker."

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment