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This Week: “I Love The Smell Of Cat Toothpaste In The Morning”

catCreativecommons.org/Melanie Tata

I have a confession to make. My name is Vickie and I am a Crazy-Cat-Lady.

I have full blown theoretical conversations of immense philosophical importance with my cat. Half of the floor space in my living room is taken up by a (rarely used and often ignored) cat condo. And I’m considering taking up knitting just so that my cat can play with the balls of wool.

Yeah, that would be cute.

I’m crazy about my cat, and I love it when people call me a lady, so I guess I must be a Crazy-Cat-Lady. And when it comes to Cat-Lady-Craziness, I’m definitely a few cents short of the full dollar.

The object of my crazy affections? Dave the Cat, an astonishingly handsome marmalade tabby with the heart of a lion and a penchant for belly rubs.

And my Crazy-Cat-Lady issue this week? Teeth cleaning.

Now, before we start, I must confess that I have a few new scratches on my hands and forearms as I diligently type this story. You could even call them war wounds, I suppose.

You see, Dave the Cat an especially proud feline. He spends hours and hours – days even – grooming his luscious ginger stripes. So I knew that his recent episodes of gruesome toe-curlingly awful death-breath would be a major embarrassment to his highness.

It was time to act. Not just for his pride, but because dental disease can lead to far nastier conditions for cats – the lurid details of which I won’t go into here. Dealing with death-breath is bad enough.

Armed with some sterile gauze strips and some special cat toothpaste, I deviously planned my pre-tooth-cleaning-wooing with military precision.

First I played with him. I buttered him up with some games of hide-the-catnip-mouse and chase-the-feather-on-a-stick. This worked off any pent-up frustrations and destructive energies that he may have been carrying around.

My next manoeuvre was to chill him out. This meant a whole 20 minutes spread out on the living room floor as I administered a scandalous amount of belly rubs and back scratches while I slowly blinked into his beautiful pussy cat eyes. In cat talk, this means: “I love you. Big time.” It’s often referred to as a ‘cat kiss’ and sessions of cat kisses can increase the bond that you have with your purry prince.

By now he was putty in my hands. Stretching and rolling onto his back, his purrs had taken on a shameless, grunt-like eloquence, and yes, he was drooling a little.

Dave the Cat was in bliss.

Time to get out the big guns and give those pearly whites a cleaning, I thought. The Battle Of Bad Breath will soon be over.

It’s a well known fact, after all, that the element of surprise can be priceless in cat-to-lady combat...

But no general should ever assume victory. Because the moment that Dave the Cat got a whiff of my special cat toothpaste he was going crazy to get at the stuff. I guess it must smell pretty delicious to bad-breathed cats.

With a trick side-paw plunge, he had it out on my hand and on the floor in a split second. He pounced onto the tube with ninja-like precision as a squirt of the stuff flew up in the air like rifle fire before landing on the carpet. Whereupon Dave the Cat, all smug and self-satisfied, happily proceeded to lick the tasty tooth-cleaner off the floor.

Dave the Cat was laughing at me. I know; I could hear him.

And clearly, he was using guerilla tactics.

This was not part of the plan, but I was by no means ready to retreat. It was time for a counterattack.

So I took him in my arms, placed a dot of his special cat toothpaste on a gauze strip and attempted to give his teeth and gums a gentle massage.

To say that Dave the Cat didn’t like this would be an understatement. Ears flattened to his head; claws sprung forth like knives; and a guttural war cry rose up from his previously pampered belly.

There was blood (mine) and there were tears (also mine).

Maybe it was time for me to surrender.

So, in the Battle of Bad Breath, I can’t really claim that victory was mine. However, I had infiltrated the tooth-cleaning ranks and I do live to tooth-clean another day. The first time was always going to be the worst, and maybe the next tooth-brushing episode won’t be a full-blown battle – maybe it’ll just be a skirmish.

Here’s hoping. One thing’s for sure though, next time I’ll go armed with rubber dishwashing gloves.

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