Cat bath

Many of you had asked how to pronounce my name.  I'm using the
pronounciation guide given in the Wordsmith, which is as follows:

   a   as in   bat             b    big          sh   shovel
   aa          make            ch   church       t    top
   a:          father, dog     d    dog          th   thigh
   aw          awe             f    fun          TH   thy
   e           let             g    go           v    van
   ee          leak            h    hit          w    way
   i           kid             j    judge        y    you
   i:          like            k    kite         z    zip
   ou          ouch            l    link         zh   pleasure
   o:          boat            m    make
   oi          boy             n    not
   u:          boot            p    pot
   u           pulley          r    rink
   *           'do-nut         s    sit

Now, using that, my name (Roshan Nalindra Sembacuttiaratchy) is pronounced
like this:
Ro:-sha:n Na:-lin-dra Sem-ba:-kut-ti-a:r-a:t-chi

I find the WordSmith quite interesting.  It sends a message per day,
explaining the meaning of a word, how it is pronounced, and an example of
how to use it.  To subscribe to the WordSmith, send a message to with "Subject:" line as "subscribe "
		     Cat Bathing As A Martial Art

        Some people say cats never have to be bathed.  They say cats lick
themselves clean.  They say cats have a special enzyme of some sort in their
saliva that works like new, improved Wisk - dislodging the dirt where it
hides and whisking it away.

        I've spent most of my life believing this folklore.  Like most blind
believers, I've been able to discount all the facts to the contrary, the
kitty odors that lurk in the corners of the garage and dirt smudges that
cling to the throw rug by the fireplace.

        The time comes, however, when a man must face reality: when he must
look squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to the contrary and
announce:  "This cat smells like a port-a-potty on a hot day in Juarez."

        When that day arrives at your house, as it has in mine, I have some
advice you might consider as you place your feline friend under your arm and
head for the bathtub:

        --  Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and
lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength.
Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.  Don't try to
bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him.  Pick a
very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I
recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding-glass
doors as if you were about to take a shower.  (A simple shower curtain will
not do.  A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker
than a politician can shift positions.)

        --  Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all
the skin from your body.  Your advantage here is that you are smart and know
how to dress to protect yourself.  I recommend canvas overalls tucked into
high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army
helmet, a hockey face mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.

        --  Prepare everything in advance.  There is no time to go out for a
towel when you have a cat digging a hole in your flak jacket.  Draw the
water. Make sure the bottle of kitty shampoo is inside the glass enclosure.
Make sure the towel can be reached, even if you are lying on
your back in the water.

        --  Use the element of surprise.  Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as
if to simply carry him to his supper dish.  (Cats will not usually notice
your strange attire.  They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.
If he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking
part in a product testing experiment for J.C. Penney.)

        --  Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to
survival.  In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the
tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and
squirt him with shampoo.  You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of
your life.

        Cats have no handles.  Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and
the problem is radically compounded.  Do not expect to hold on to him for
more than two or three seconds at a time.  When you have him, however, you
must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy.
He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself
off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too

        --  Next, the cat must be dried.  Novice cat bathers always assume
this part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at
this point and the cat is just getting really determined.  In fact, the
drying is simple compared to what you have just been through.  That's
because by now the cat is semipermanently affixed to your right leg.  You
simply pop the drain plug with you foot, reach for your towel and wait.
(Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army
helmet.  If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him
loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained
from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry the cat.

        In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg.
He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will spend a
lot of time sitting with his back to you.  He might even become
psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

        You will be tempted to assume he is angry.  This isn't usually the
case. As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and
injure you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath.

        But at least now he smells a lot better.

Thanks to Troy Bowden for this contribution

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This message was sent on 23 Oct 1996