Wet pussies

Ha, bet that got your attention, or at least a few raised eyebrows.  I’ll probably get sickos looking for pr0n, landing here and being most disappointed.

Because I’m talking about felines.  Felines that have had a close encounter with water.  Our two big Maine Coon clowns* adore the water, as do most Maine Coons, which is to their advantage in the Australian heat.  All cats run the risk of over-heating and dehydrating in summer.  I keep a close watch on our two for signs of stress given they are so big and furry, and the temperatures are so extreme [over 38C pretty much all through February, getting down to a “minimum” of 25 – 28C at night, with very high humidity].

*  and gee are they big – they’re both around 7 kg now and nowhere near full grown.  Ruadhàn is not yet a year old;  Aoife’s not quite 18 months and the girls are generally a lot smaller than the boys.  They’re not the teensiest bit fat, it’s all solid muscle and bone.  They are both very fit and energetic, never stop chasing each other around the flat and leaping up and down off windowsills, bookshelves, desks, the dinner table … And when I get out their toys for them to play with – balls or rattly felt mice or their absolute favourite, the rat-on-a-stick [a fuzzy rattly rat-thing attached to a piece of dowel with a long piece of cord], they go nuts.

So, keeping them cool is one of my chief tasks in the summer, given they are so very very fluffy.   Their fur does not mat up much, and they don’t require a lot of grooming.  I brush them every day or so but only because they enjoy it so much, and they are very fastidious about keeping their coats squeaky clean and shining white.  Their fur is really long and thick even after the spring moult.  [Ruadhàn’s coat is quite woolly; Aoife’s coat is silkier and finer.]  Their tails could double as big feathery boas or headdresses in a cabaret or burlesque.  Even their enormous feet are fluffy with fur between their toes and pads – known as “snowhoe” feet.

One of the more obvious signs the heat is affecting the kitties is when they lie spread out like shag-pile bath-mats on the bathroom or kitchen floor, mouths open panting and tongues hanging out like big dogs.  We call Ruadhàn “the puppy cat” due to his size, resemblance to a Golden Labrador / Retriever, and his adoration of Tux.  He’s very devoted, and likes to lie dog-like at Tux’s feet, or sprawled on his back so Tux can rub his belly with a socked foot.

Here are a few summer activities / water sports I arrange for them to help keep them cool, plus they have heaps of fun and play :-

·          I’ll wet and squeeze out an old towel or sheet and lay it on the bathroom or kitchen floor tiles for them to lie on, with a fan blowing gently onto the sheet.  Low tech evaporative air conditioning! 

·          They like cool but not icy-cold drinking water so I fill their water bowl every morning and evening, and float ice cubes in it.  The like playing with the ice cubes too, “fishing” for them with their front paws.  This also keeps them interested and more likely to drink enough than if the water were not fresh or cool

·          A preferred hang-out is in the shower stall, after one of we humans has showered,  They’ll splash about in the puddles left on the tile, and lie down and get thoroughly wet

·          For all that, it is still surprising how much they love a sponge bath; even more surprising that they enjoy being sprinkled with water until they’re absolutely sopping.  They’re very absorbent so when they make too much of a mess splashing about and there are puddles all over the floor, I can just plop either Aoife or Ruadhàn in said puddle and use them to sop up all the excess water.  A feline squeegee mop!  [our kitchen and bathroom floors have never been cleaner]

·          I must consider setting up a paddling pool in our garden for them next summer.  It would have to be made of very tough tarpaulin though – not one of those plastic blow-up kiddie pools.  The big galoots would destroy that in five minutes with their massive paws, claws and teeth

·          I wonder if a poodle cut might be a help?  Not the Full Monty but a clip, especially around the neck, chest and tummy.  And the pantaloons and tail, leaving just a big puff on the end.  [“Puffy tail!  Puffy tail!” – Homer Simpson]   I promise to get photos.

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