Saturday July 31, 2004
For nearly a month now both Harry Cat and Dolly the Mega-cat have been doing the summer moult. Poor Harry has suffered greatly but is pulling through now, with almost all the loose hair no more than an itchy memory. Dolly has about a week to go, and she’s completely fed up with it.
Harry submits to the brush quite well, and certainly without complaint. That’s as it should be—he’s an old gentleman now and no longer does the in depth grooming thing so we have to do it for him. I wouldn’t describe his reaction as anywhere near gratitude but I’m sure he’s relieved not to have to suffer summer fur ball syndrome any more. My observation, based on personal experience, is that some of the things you lose as you approach your third age are no real loss at all.
Dolly, however, is the same as always. When the moult starts she gives her coat a half-hearted lick or two, throws up a massive hair ball, gives up, and pretends her coat belongs to someone else. We’ve always had to brush her but it’s most particularly necessary in the moulting seasons. Miss a day and the matts start to appear. Miss two days and there seem to be more matts than cat. So, each evening, out come the brush and comb and she has to submit to an intense grooming.
We’re quite expert at it, so the complaining shrieks and wails she utters are nothing to do with pain. It’s her dignity she’s defending. Holding down a twenty-five pound cat in the prime of health and strength takes some doing. Trying to do it with one hand while you brush and comb with the other takes a lot of doing. A very great deal of doing. So we take it in turns, day and day about. At least, that’s the theory.
“Who’s turn is it to brush Dolly tonight?” I asked.
“Yours. I did it yesterday.”
“Are you sure about that? I thought I did it yesterday.”
“You’ll have to do something about that memory of yours.”
“That, if I may say so, is a foul blow.”
“Anyway, I can’t do it tonight. I’ve got to call my mother.”
“And that really is under the belt.”
So, all my defences beaten down, I took up the brush and tapped it on the table. Dolly sat up, glared at me, and made haste to hide in the far end of the house. Used to be she would jump up on the table to be groomed. Not any more.
It took me a full five minutes to retrieve her from a succession of hidey-holes but I succeeded, tucked her under one arm, and brought her back into the dining room, plonked her on the table and started in on the task of separating one outsize cat from a half kitten’s-worth of loose hair.
The house filled with the sounds of a complaining mega-cat, a dutiful son doing the ‘yes, I know’ job, Skulder and Mully tracking down aliens, conspiracies and lost X-files, and me, moaning. We all finished our jobs at about the same time. Dolly jumped down, gave herself a good shake, and proceeded to take a light supper. I switched the TV off. Silence reigned.
Graham surveyed the scene. “Will you just look at the Dolly-fluff on that carpet?”
“Just you remember,” I said. “It’s your turn tomorrow.”
“Ah but will you remember?”
“Yes, I shall. I’ve made a note of it.”
Don’t you come near me with that brush