The shaving of the big Squatch


Last week, we had our first few days of record heat. Traditionally, I’ve kicked off the unofficial beginning of summer with the shaving of the Sasquatch.

Sasquatch is my massive 9 year old Maine Coon cat. In addition to lots of fur, he’s also carrying some extra weight, so the heat makes him pretty miserable. He always feels better after he gets shaved and he doesn’t care if others think he looks silly. A few years back I found this very unpretentious grooming salon that would groom cats. Previously, I had taken him to a fancier salon, but I could tell they were more interested in their show dog clientele than my big kitty. Anyway, I was happy with the results of his grooming at the less fancy place, and the groomer/owner really seemed to like “the big Squatch”. When I called to book his annual appointment she would always say “Ohhh. I remember the big Squatch!” Yes, he is indeed memorable. Thirty pounds and 24 toes of Maine Coon usually makes an impression.

Last year around this time, I dropped him off in the morning and the owner/groomer greeted him with her usual enthusiasm. “Oh, look at the big Squatch! He’s such a sweet boy!” After we pried Sasquatch off of me (he gets transported using a harness and leash since he’s too big for my kitty carrier), I left him in their capable and loving hands.

When I returned around closing time, they were only just finishing up his bath and hadn’t even shaved him yet. So, the owner/groomer let me back into the grooming area to help hold and comfort him while he got shaved. She was able to get it done pretty quickly because he was being very cooperative. He really is such a sweet dispositioned boy. After she had finished with him, she wanted to carry him out to the car herself – I guess she just wanted that one last hit of the big Squatch. “Uh, OK” I said even though she had already started walking out of the shop with him. Big mistake.

It’s one thing to have 90 lb, 5’0″ woman handle your very strong 30 lb cat when the cat is behind closed doors. It’s quite another to take him outside and walk him towards the one thing he hates worse than water – the car. So, he freaked out. And while she struggled admirably, he escaped her arms and started running around the parking lot in a panic. We blocked him against going towards the street and got him cornered. The groomer/owner seemed to be dead set on being the one to capture him, because, no doubt, she felt responsible. Even though I asked her to let me handle this, she lunged for Sasquatch, and again, he freaked and dashed. Now I’m yelling at her to leave him alone and let me handle this, but she had lost her ability to understand or speak English and starts yelling back at me in Chinese. Her assistant, a large African-American fellow, hearing the brou-ha-ha comes out of the shop and gets into the act.

Again, we get Sasquatch cornered, this time behind a planter in front of a grocery store. And again, I’m yelling at them to let me try to calm him down and for them to cover the escape routes. Nope. The assistant goes after Sasquatch and grabs his tail. Next thing we know, Sasquatch turned around and latched his very large jaws in the assistant’s thigh. The groomer/owner then grabs Sasquatch tail, so now you have 30 lbs of shaved Maine Coon suspended by tail and teeth. The assistant is now screaming at a pitch I didn’t think possible for a man his size, the groomer/owner is shouting something in Chinese, and me, the fat white broad, I’m yelling at all of them to “STOP GRABBING MY GODDAMN CAT’S FUCKING TAIL!” In all this mayhem, I look up and see a family come out of the grocery store, and then with a look of abject fear, the father quickly leads his brood back into the store and they watch the drama unfold from behind the automatic doors.

Sasquatch once again makes a break for it and this time he heads for the back of the grocery store. As he is being chased by a bleeding African-American man, a foul-mouthed, pissed off fat white chick and a tiny Chinese woman, as you can imagine, we make quite an impression. A local redneck (and yes, there are rednecks in the Bay Area, and El Sobrante is a hotbed for them) asks the assistant what is going on. “There’s a cat on the loose.” To which the redneck drawled with a laugh,” you want me to go get my gun?” I turned around and screamed with all my might “GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, ASSHOLE”, which probably wasn’t the best idea to yell at someone with ready access to firearms.

Sasquatch had taken refuge under a car. I take a deep breath, try to compose myself and nicely ask everyone to step back so I can please try and calm my cat down. Too late. The owner/groomer is reaching under the car and grabs -what else? – his tail. The assistant, noticing his torn pants and bleeding leg, got fed up and went back to man the shop. Since the owner/groomer seemed to have a good grip on him, and Squatch looked like he wasn’t going anywhere, I decided to get my car and pull it right next to the car he was under, so that one of his escape routes would be straight into my car. When I got back with the car, the owner/groomer had trapped Sasquatch under one of those plastic milk crates you find behind grocery stores. I moved my car right next to his make-shift cage, she lifted it and he jumped right into my car.

The aftermath: Sasquatch stayed under the bed for several hours after we got home, but eventually he forgave me. I discovered that at some point in all the melee I had also been bitten pretty badly, but fortunately it never got infected. The next day I went back to the salon to pay them for the grooming and to check in on the assistant. There didn’t appear to be any bad feelings, nor were the assistant’s bites infected. But, as I left there wasn’t the usual, cheerful “bye bye! See you next year!”

I got the hint. Anyone know a good groomer in the East Bay who does cats?

22 responses »

  1. Wow. I thought stories like that only existed in movies. I really am speechless. I guess we all have odd and funny pet stories, but clearly yours is superior ro anything I have ever read or experianced. Congratulations on that level.

    On a whole other level, good luck getting the Sasquatch shaved.

    (Just a side note, a medium sized dog kennel would make a perfect trasporter for the ‘Squatch)

  2. This reminds me of the time I asked the vet to clip the claws of the cat to whom I refer as Big Dumb Darling Daria, and it took five adults to accomplish it. Then it took six adults to get her back into the carrier. I haven’t taken her back to the vet since then … she’s obviously healthy, and my nerves just can’t take it.

  3. I once came home from a weekend fishing trip and my German Shepherd had his tounge shoved into one of those hard rubber balls with the bell inside. I was wondering why he was making such a mess when I put a fresh bowl of water down for him…

    The vet cut off the ball with a pair of duck-billed scizzors, laughing the whole time… to the bank.

    Great story, LB.

  4. 🙂 We are leaving dueling comments on each other’s sites!
    You nailed it! The Milton Mann School of Accordions!! OMG.

    OK, I am also here to say…looks like we have the kitty love in common too. And holy balls what trauma for poor Sasquatch! You did paint a very funny picture there though. Here’s to finding a better groomer 🙂

  5. Omsbud – Your story about Ernie is very charming and completely captures the (over?)exuberance of the canine species. And yes, I hope you never have to endure the bloodshed and peril of my tale of woe (or more aptly, Sasquatch’s tail of woe).

    Adam – Yes, it was very cinematic, bordering on operatic. I think perhaps Taratino or the Cohen Brothers may be able to do the scene justice.

    Shortly after this episode, I did invest in a dog carrier for the ‘Squatch. Never again do I want to put him or myself through that kind of drama. It hit me hard when I got home and got him safely in the house how close I had come to losing him forever. He’s a very shy boy – the only people he’s not afraid of are me and the boyfriend – and if he had escaped, he wouldn’t have been able to survive for long. *shudders at the thought*

    David – perhaps Darling Darla is not so Dumb. She knows she needs those pointy little daggers for self defense, and you ain’t taking away her blades without a fight. As to why it took six people to get her back in carrier is a mystery to me. My experience has been that I simply open the carrier after the vet visit and my cats go running in – they want to get out of there and pronto!

    D.R. – Good lord! How on earth did he get his tongue in there? While the sight of that was probably pretty damn funny, funnier still I would think the sound of that damn bell that no doubt rang with the slightest move he made.

    Catnstuff – Welcome! I have some pictures somewhere of a recently shorn Sasquatch. I’ll try and remember to post them.

    tpgoddess – Welcome! I found your site through the listing of Amuirin’s friends. So in addition to the accordion, Amuruin, cats, there is also a SoCal connection. I grew up in Burbank, though I left SoCal after I graduated from high school. I’m better suited for the Northern California climate. I look forward to reading more of your site.

  6. What a story! Poor Squatch, being put through all that trauma.

    I hope everyone has healed and all is well now. And that you find a new groomer that will suit both you and Squatch.

  7. OMG. I feel for you, but I totally laughed my head off at the vision of Squatch chowing down on the assistant’s leg and you screaming at him. ROFL!

    A good friend has a big ol’ Maine Coon by the name of Pasha. She told me that I was going to be included in her will, and the only thing I wanted was him. He is a total love-bug and loves his belly rubs. He also loves for me to play with his poly-dactyl toesies.

    I used to shave my longhair myself, but it was a two-to-three person job. Duct tape may help.

    BTW, you’ve been tagged. DOH!!! I’m a pest. Check out my blog… 😛

  8. Okay, I laughed, I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it.

    I do feel sorry for Squatch – and you – though none for the store owner and her assistant. they had it coming.

    I used to take my house-rabbit, Muddy, to the vets to have his teeth and claws clipped and he would calmly proffer one paw at a time to the vet, then sit back and open his mouth… new vets always had to call an assistant to witness this, they could never quite get over it. 🙂

  9. Jules – It’s OK, sweetie. It all had a happy ending. Sasquatch is safe and sound, and precautions will be taken in the future to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

    Robin – Like I said, he spent a few hours under the bed, and then slept a lot the next couple of days. I can’t imagine his tail felt too good either.

    NM – The whole scene was pretty absurd, and you’re right, the assistant probably didn’t appreciate me yelling at him when he had my cat firmly attached to his leg. I wish I could adequately describe the expression of that family who walked in to the scene and then quickly walked back out. I can only imagine what they thought was going on.

    Maine Coons are such sweethearts, aren’t they? Especially polydactyl ones. Sasquatch, unlike most cats, doesn’t have an attitude, he’s quite earnest and just lives to give licks to me and his adopted cat bro, Alaska.

    Truce – thank you for the sympathy. But, I also feel responsible for not insisting she put on his harness and leash before she walked out with him. As his mom, it’s my job to protect him, and I did a lousy job at that.

    Ah, Muddy. How sweet is that? I need to put Mr. Binkles on his back so he goes into that little bunny trance before he lets me do his nails.

  10. The sounds remarkably like an adventure I would have. Except I would be the cat and my wife would be chasing me after a bad Chinese haircut.

    I’m glad everyone survived. Perhaps you could take a grooming course?

  11. NM – and Sasquatch meets your head butt, and raises you a nice hand licking with a raspy tongue.

    Stevo – if you’re going to be the cat, please make sure you have all your shots. 🙂 I don’t know about any grooming courses, but it is going through my mind to just do it myself. If I do, I promise to blog about it.

    Marshmellows – Oh my. I may need to tell Doris about your offer just to give her something to cluck about.

  12. What an amazing adventure — genre “adventures never wished for”. Chick’s kitty BG gets shorn (usually a ‘lion cut’ from time to time). She is NOT a sweet kitty (despite Chick’s protests to the contrary), and I never believe when Chick returns with her from the groomer’s with a report of “They can’t believe how sweet she is!” Hmph.

    I so felt Sasquatch’s fear and panic, and that blind need to escape an everworsening situation. I am so glad the tale had a good ending.

    If in doubt, get some clippers and see if you have some mad grooming skills of your own 🙂


  13. Pingback: So, you want to see a shaved Maine Coon cat? « Stumbling along the path

    • I now take him to Dog’s Best Friend/Cat’s Meow in Albany. They tend to be on the pricey side, and they don’t fawn nearly enough over my Sasquatch. But, they are very professional and do a good job. And I feel like he’s safe there – which after the episode above is key.

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