My cat just turned eighteen. Her birthday post can be found here. In all of her eighteen years Penny has done an immaculate job of cleaning herself. As she ages, the effort of cleaning has become too much. So she's stopped. She also seems to have succumbed to Feline Alzheimer's (which is a real thing!
After an impressive dirt build up we decided it was time to wash her. I imagined her calm demeanor as I scrubbed her clean, her coat returning to its gleam from younger days. Reality rarely holds to our imaginings.
I got home and found Penny sleeping away. I woke her up and was greeted by her smooshy sleep face which you can only fully appreciate if you've seen it as many times as I have. I brushed her and talked to her about her bath. I tend to use a high baby when talking to her. I don't use it when I'm talking to babies. Only Penny; and kittens in general. I mean, come on. Who doesn't? They're kittens.
I then carried her to the bathroom sink. Her confusion set in. Where am I? What an odd place I have probably never seen before. What am I supposed to be doing here? Then I dumped some water on her. Mean owner. Mean. She didn't cry or scratch. She didn't even squirm out of control; but man was she mad at me. She hated me for most of her - and subsequently my - life, so it wasn't anything new but all the strides we had made over the past few months were definitely broken. With any luck she won't remember in the morning; thank goodness for that Alzheimers. First time that sentence has ever been uttered.
The worst part of the whole thing is that I'm not really sure I even cleaned her. I felt so guilty for subjecting her to such trauma that I couldn't bring myself to do a thorough job. So while she's a tiny bit softer, she feels like she has terrible shampoo build up and is a little bit spiky.
The whole thing is just too sad.