I washed the cat last night. No, that's not a euphemism. We gave the cat a bath because he has fleas and fucking Frontline is a lying bullshit meany-head that doesn't work. I don't think the bath has completely solved our problems, but it's a good start, and I didn't even get gouged or clawed. No blood! YAY! Not bad, considering it was the first time Q has ever been subjected to such horrors.
We took a "he has big claws and is going to cut the fuck out of us" approach at first, which is probably always a good idea when bathing a cat that hasn't had the first knuckle of each toe surgically removed. It went something like this: Fill the bathtub with water. Add one large beach towel and wet thoroughly. Remove towel from water, and quickly drape over unsuspecting cat. Rub well to soak all fur, on top and under the animal. Remove towel from cat, allow cat to dart to door and paw under it frantically in search of an escape route. Apply generous squirt of flea shampoo directly to cat's back. Lather. Ignore wails and yowls. Don't think about the fact that you're standing in a quarter inch of water in the middle of your bathroom floor. (*If you don't have tile floors, you might want to re-vamp these directions.) Once cat is fully lathered from head to tail, stand back and watch him try to get the hell out of the bathroom. Don't let him groom himself; licking flea shampoo can't be a good idea. After 5 minutes, pick up cat and, with your hand firmly around the base of his head and facing his claws away from your body, immerse cat into bathtub full of water. HOLD YOUR GRIP!!! It's a good idea to have the water deep enough to fully submerge the cat, but if you don't have that going on, you can sorta use your forearm to hold his back down while splashing water and rubbing out the shampoo. It helps to have a second person standing by with a cup or bowl or something to scoop and pour water - your hands are mostly busy making sure those claws don't get an opportunity to fuck you up. Remove cat from water and wrap immediately in large towel.
Q was traumatized. He hates being held upside down, on his back, like a baby, but I held him that way in that towel for a good five minutes, kissing his kitty neck and telling him he was a good boy. His eyes were wide and he was looking at me with an expression that said, "What. the fuck. was that?" And then I put him on the floor and unwrapped the towel, and beheld his little rat-like appearance - he was every meme picture of a wet cat that's ever been posted on the internet, right there in my living room. And then he darted down the stairs to groom and sulk in private. I found him an hour later on the club chair in the basement, licking his used-to-be-balls, one leg in the air over his head, back fur still wet and wild, tail still rat-like. He purred when I scratched behind his ears, though, so at least he doesn't hate me.