Flea-Ridden, Pizza-Stealing Cat Wreaks Havoc on Hatch Battening

Why Hurricane Irene was the least of my worries this weekend

While everyone else in the Greater Philadelphia area was standing in line at Target, I was crouched down on all fours, wearing a hoodie, long pants, and an oven mitt on each hand. In my left hand was a bag of shredded cheese, which I shook seductively at my four-year-old cat, Oink, as he hid under my television stand.

“If you come out, I will let you eat this entire bag,” I bargained idiotically.

Earthquakes and hurricanes be damned. I had a natural disaster right in my living room. On Friday, I discovered that my cats—the aforementioned Oink and his sister Rosie—had gotten fleas. If we were going to be holed up in the house all weekend—or worse case scenario: evacuated to a shelter—this problem had to be solved now.

Rosie was easily scooped up and locked in the bathroom, where my boyfriend scrubbed her down with special bug-killing shampoo. Wrangling Oink was not quite so simple.

Oink is not what one would describe as a sociable cat. He has been known to steal pizza right out of the hands of unsuspecting dinner guests and then hoard the slices under my bed, snapping at anyone who tries to remove them. This is where the shredded mozzarella comes in. I thought if I made a trail of cheese from his hiding spot up the stairs to the bathroom, that he might be dumb enough to eat his way right into my trap.

I was wrong.

Ultimately, it took two humans, one can of cat food, countless sprinkles of that shredded cheese, tears (mine) and hissing (his) to wrestle Oink into the bathtub and get him lathered up. When we finished, he was flea-free, the bathroom was soaked, my boyfriend and I were exhausted and my hand was bleeding. (The oven mitts were no match for Oink’s angry claws.)

We locked him in the bathroom to dry off and collapsed onto the couch as Irene began to whip into Philadelphia. We watched Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz and Adam Joseph compete for ratings and charged our cell phones in case we lost power.

A few hours later, as the television began robotically warning us of tornadoes, my boyfriend wondered aloud if we should crate the cats and head to the basement.

“We can’t,” I told him wearily. “We’re out of cheese.”