How We Became Those People Who Shave Their Cats (And Give Them Prozac)
By Andrea Chmelik on April 05, 2013
We are all judgmental to a certain degree. We all have a list of things we would never ever do and we have a certain opinion of people who do them. Shaving cats and feeding them Prozac was once definitely near the top of my not-to-do list.
The first time we got the cats shaved was mainly an accident. I was heavily pregnant (which truly should be an explanation enough), living in an apartment that was covered in cat hair. At first I thought I could keep it under control. I brushed our two cats daily and I vacuumed every day (or our Roomba did). I had a hand held vacuum cleaner for the couch. I tried every single brush, grooming glove and de-shedding tool in existence. It didn't make a bit of a difference. The chunks of cat hair were flying everywhere. I was getting desperate. I imagined our newborn rubbing his eyes and nose and mouth with cat hair covered hands.
Then a random lady witnessed our futile efforts of using a FURminator outside on the patio and mentioned that PETCO has an excellent grooming service. Desperate, I decided to give it a try. When I brought the cats to the grooming salon, I still innocently believed that they would just thin their coats out. Trim them a little bit, you know. The lady was very straightforward and explained to me clearly they didn't trim, they shaved. At 38 weeks pregnant, after chasing the cats around the apartment for 20 minutes and fighting them in the carrier, and then dragging the carrier at the top of my huge belly, I was not ready to back out. I figured it's worth a try. One time won't kill anyone. It's hair, it grows back.
I didn't get a good look at them until I let them out of the carrier back in the apartment. I was horrified. So were the cats. At least the female one. The male one didn't care all that much. He ran straight to his food bowl. Something about the male ego you can't crush no matter what. The female one ran under the couch and refused to come out. She is normally super cuddly. I was devastated. But the next day she was fine. They didn't seem to mind at all. And the amount of hair dropped significantly. So once they grew all that hair back and we started to drown in it again (just about one year later), back to the groomer they went. And now we are those people who shave their cats.
Fast forward to when our son was about one and a half year old. Our male cat started to pee outside of his litter box. He also seemed to be in pain and distress, so we brought him to the vet. We learned that male cats often have urinary issues that are stress related. I had no idea cats could get stressed before. It still sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me. But there we were, with the cat that was always the most obedient little darling (we always joke he thinks he is a dog, that's how good he is), peeing all over the place.
First we tried environmental changes. At least the kind we could make. Different diet, different litter boxes, different water fountains. We were unable to get rid of the toddler that appeared to be the biggest stress factor of them all. Nothing helped. So we started with different medications. And that didn't help either. And then all that was left was Prozac. I had heard about cats on Prozac before, and I thought the owners probably needed to see a specialist themselves. But this damn cat of ours that we love dearly was clearly suffering. He was straining to pee, he was yelping in pain when he did, he even managed to get an obstruction. So we got him some Prozac. If you're curious to know if that finally cured him, it didn't. It stopped just as suddenly as it started, six months later.
But that's not the point. The point is that sometimes, no matter how stupid you think something is, you just end up doing it anyway. You become the person you were rolling your eyes at just the day before. You know...like when I was going to eat super healthy and exercise while pregnant, and then the only thing I could keep down were french fries and I preferred to stay in bed all day. Or when I was never going to have a child that talks back, and now we are yelling back and forth in the kitchen and I find it curiously fascinating how strangely logical his arguments are. Life has a funny way of making a fool out of you. You never know.
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