7.05.2017

Battle Cat vs Skunk: everybody loses

Dear Backyard Skunk,

You should know that your current form of defense - the spraying and the stinking - in no way deters Battle Cat from throwing your smelly butt out of his yard.  It's just not working.  May I suggest you try a different tactic? Something that might actually be effective.  Like honking a horn or martial arts.  Because the shooting off your anal glands does not work against cats with standards as low as mine. 

Sincerely,
Somebody who has better things to do than bathe a belligerent feline at midnight

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After thirteen years, our kitties have recently retired as indoor housecats.  In the morning, I clip on their collars and give them the option of going outside.  Tiny Cat mainly declines.  He's not a fan of the nature and, being a giant chicken, when he goes out, he tends to be gone for way too long as he's most likely hiding somewhere under a shed, paralyzed with fear. 

Battle Cat can't wait to get outside though.  Remember how I said Battle Cat is super chill?  That is all true, unless you happen to be smallish creature that dared to set foot in his yard.  He patrols his territory boundaries, which extends to everything he can see outside from our house windows, and has successfully driven off many aggressive invaders, like squirrels and large beetles.



And the other night, he chased off a skunk.  This was of mixed success.

We have an 'all cats in before dusk' policy because, you know, vampires.  A couple days ago, though, we were gone for the better part of the day and didn't arrive home until nearly dark.  We let Battle Cat outside for one quick rove, feeling sorry for him for being cooped up in a hot house all day. 

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

It's not like we didn't know about the skunks.  A mama and her three babies have been terrorizing The Man for months as he travels between the house and his garage in the evening.  You'd think those little skunks have bombs duct taped to themselves, the way The Man reacts.  He's ever alert for skunks.  I would actually say, he's almost pathologically terrified by them.

Which is probably why he was the one to first notice the stand off between Battle Cat and mama skunk. 

The Man's reaction was to yell at me to get out there and call my cat off because it's MY job to deal with rowdy children.  So I did (while The Man and boy child hid in the house).  My goofy five pound cat responded to my call with his 'coming!'  meow but added a, 'just a sec' chirp.  He would not and did not back down until the skunk had left his domain. The skunk was probably twice the size of my cat, yet Battle Cat did not hiss or growl, and he certainly never raised a paw.  He just slowly walked that skunk towards the fence line.  I think he wins with his pointed looks and general air of disapproval.  The one of time I've seen him in an encounter with another cat, a scarred old tom, he used this same lack of menace to remove him.  Perhaps his name has given him a reputation that other critters are too nervous about to test?  Like how the little guy with multiple tics, scarred face and neck tattoos named 'Skinner' never gets into fights in the pen?

Battle Cat, once he chased off the skunk, came back all perky and proud.  Good job, Battle Cat.  You smell bad, Battle Cat.

The scent was not so much experienced nasally as much as the feeling like someone was squeezing all the air of your lungs. 

In short order and in line with out family policy of having me deal with the icky stuff, Battle Cat and I were sequestered in the bathroom.  I had grabbed the cat, then The Man grabbed my shoulders and steered us both towards the bathroom, then firmly shut the door behind us.  Then, from the other side of the closed door he asked, 'What can I bring you?'

A pair of rubber gloves were pushed underneath the door crack and frantic Googling ensued, trying to find out with what to wash a cat with that has gone and done something so stupid as to get sprayed by a skunk.

Battle Cat's proud demeanor quickly turned to resentful disappointment as the bath commenced.  Oh, bathing a foul and hostile creature at midnight instead of crawling into the bed you so desperately need is super fun.  Reminded me having infants in the house. 

Stop washing off the wash, Battle Cat!


See, Battle Cat, this is the price of being outdoors.  You want adventure and fresh odors to sniff?  Well, congratulations, you've got it.  Indoor kitties don't need baths.  They also don't need flea collars or de-worming pills.  All of life is trade offs.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.



Good news though!  We pulled the cat in so fast I don't think the skunk oils had time to really settle.  He was being washed with a combination of dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide less than five minutes after being sprayed.  Another wash with just dish soap and Battle Cat smelled like the after supper dishes.  Granted, I turned nose blind after about ten minutes of being in that bathroom with him so I couldn't say for sure, but the next day he didn't make me feel like I'm suffocating when I put my nose up to him.  Boy child also gave me a thorough sniff after I washed up from washing up the cat.  He is very sensitive to odors and he gave me a thumbs up and allowed me to hug him good night.   

Spikey little pedal paws


The rest of the house also received a super clean up with a degreaser and just in case any skunk oils remain lingering about.  Right now Battle Cat is sitting on my lap and he seems to have forgiven me the bath.  That's great, because with his vet visit last week, the medications he's needing to take and his surgery planned for Friday, he has a lot of stuff he could be resenting me for.  But, he is, as I said, generally, a really chill cat.  Just stay out of his yard.

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This short video helped the childs understand what happened between the cat and skunk and answered boy child's question on, 'how skunk's work'.  It's a little graphic in the anal zone, though, so I do not recommend viewing first thing in the morning or while eating.

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