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Zelda was depressed.

Who does depression hurt? Zelda, that's who.

She wasn’t moving magazines, laptops, and dinner off my lap so she could lay there. She wasn’t gazing at her pretty kitty reflection in the hallway mirror. She wasn’t jumping out from behind the waste basket to attach her claws to my calves like a fly to fly paper when I passed the threshold of the bedroom. Not going to bed with bloody bumps and scratches on my ankles? That’s how I knew she was depressed.

She barely let me pet her and at first I credited this to the annual Seattle Heat Wave– the one week a year when it gets above 85 and the entire city bursts into flames. Our only saving grace is the extinguishing effects of our tears. I am no exception. While I love my cat (and I’m only saying that here because I know she doesn’t read my website) sleeping next to Zelda is like sleeping in a brick oven. No thank you.

But still, this was weird and uncharacteristic of Zelda. As much as I hated the cat drool and fur she left on my clothes and the near bouts of cat scratch fever I was forced to fight off, I kind of missed the mean, hostile, unpredictable feline I adopted officially a year ago.

After not seeing her for hours, which is quite the feat in a one-bedroom condo, I went looking and found her sitting in the dark, staring at the wall.

“Zelda!” I shouted. “What is going on with you?”

Normally she’d be humiliated to be caught in such a plebeian pose but instead she just sighed loudly and returned to the nothingness on the wall as if to say, “Just leave me alone. There’s nothing left for me here.”

“Don’t you want to bite me?” I asked. “A little nibble? Maybe just a nice, long slash across my shin?”

And still…nothing.

That was the last straw. If she wouldn’t come to me, I would go to her. I picked her up (and she let me. See? DEPRESSED!) and plopped her on my lap. It was then I noticed what I later found out was likely the root of her issues. Mats. Lots of them right above her tail.

“Oh poor kitty,” I cooed. “You’re dreading up!”

I got the scissors and went to work.

When I told my cat-loving friend about Zelda’s probable depression she said I was likely on to something.

“There’s a reason they have Prozac for cats,” she said.

I knew that actually and  found out the hard way when I fostered a cat whose previous owner didn’t mention poor Starlett’s co-dependency. That cat hid from me all day and came out at night to bang the cupboard doors open and closed while wailing in an eerily human tone, “Whhhhhhhhhyyyyyyy?”

Ugh. I shudder to think why indeed. But back to Zelda.

Karen went on to explain that when cats can’t groom themselves properly, which is obviously happening with Miss Z as evidenced by the matting, they become depressed.

“But why can’t she groom properly?” I asked. It’s not like she ran out of conditioner or styling cream. That’s my excuse.

“Maybe she’s too fat,” Karen said matter-of-factly.

Oh no she didn’t! No one calls my baby fat! Well, except the vet. And several other friends. Okay, maybe she was carrying a little excess weight around the middle, but who wasn’t? Perhaps I had to look at this objectively. Zelda’s weight gain was obviously affecting more than just her waistline. If I didn’t want Starlett Redux, I needed to do something.

Enter The Furminator. The name says it all but anything it might have left off was added by the perky, overzealous sales girl at the pet store.

“OMGthisthingisamazingyouandyourpetwillbesohappysoinloveiloooooooooovethisthing!”

Seriously, the girl makes what? $7/hour? Even if she worked on commission this sale would net her about $.30. Unless she secretly hated Zelda and wanted her to suffer why would she lie? So I believed her. And now I love her.

To make what’s looking like a potentially long story short(er), I’ll tell you this. She didn’t lie. This thing is freakin’ amazing. I brushed enough fur off of Zelda to make 85 more Zeldas.

And Zelda loved it too! She flopped around like a fish out of water ensuring I got every nook and cranny. And those mats? Gone. (I wasn’t supposed to use it on the mats but I read the instructions after the fact. Oh well. It worked.) Zelda was happy, shiny, and mat free. She even bit me to show her appreciation. Seeing drops of blood bead up on my thumb nearly brought me to tears.

I warn you: Furminating is addicting. Not just for your pet but for you too. It’s like peeling off sunburned skin. And don’t “ew” me! You love it! You know you do!

Just look at what I furminated off Zelda after only 3 minutes of brushing.

Zelda Jr.

See? You want one. You know you do. Go do something nice for your pets and Furminator them. Now, what else can I furminate?  Here, neighborhood kitties kitties kitties…

Shelly Mazzanoble

7 Replies to “Shelly’s Favorite Things: The Furminator”

  1. How dare you, Ro Ro? Just so you know, Zelda asked me to spam your comment but I decided to let it slide so I could inform you that she IS on a diet. She just had a little slip up. it’s normal! Did you ever think she eats because she is trying to erase her “daddy issues?” Jeez. It’s Oprah 101.

    Rest assured, the love of her mother has brought her out of this funk and I am happy to say she’s back to her old self again. My ankle is bleeding as I write this. I couldn’t be happier.

  2. Do you let Zelda outside? I sometimes worry that my cat, Cassie, gets sad because she can see out the window, but not actually get outside. She adopted us, waiting on our front steps like a Buddhist monk trying to get accepted into a monestary. She waited without encouragement, alright I may have given her some petting and chicken, for three days before we took her in. It then took a month to get her from the back porch into the apartment (after she destroyed our porch screen and security deposit).

    Since then we’ve moved and she has a much bigger house to play around in, but still seems sad from time to time. She even uses that creepy sub-human voice you mentioned, usually around 4 a.m. when my wife and I are worried about a possible C.H.U.D. invasion. Luckliy we don’t have proper sewers down here, or I’m sure her laments would summon some ungodly horror. She grooms herself quite thoroughly though, so I’m not sure what to do when she gets listless. 🙁

  3. Hi Jim,
    I live in a condo so sadly, Zelda is an indoor cat. I think in her previous home she was and indoor/outdoor cat so I’m sure it’s an adjustment for her. I do leave the balcony door open for her (and spiders) so she can get some fresh air. And once in a while I let her roam the hallways. She LOVES going out in the hallway. There is NOTHING interesting out there. Then again, I’m not a cat. In fact, she’s meowing at the door right now because she wants to go in the hallway.

    You’ll be pleased to know Zelda is no longer listless or matty. That Furminator is pretty amazing.

  4. I brushed my cat last night in honor of this blog, and she is very happy. I am too now that I’m not getting a kitten full of hair every time I pet her. Our cat, Cassie was just complaining this morning that she couldn’t go outside when I had to put out some trash at 6 a.m. After I shooed her away from the door she sat in front of it for a while meowing emphatically. The she ran around the house like her tail was on fire. Finally she contented herself to do her attention dance, which constitutes doing summersaults and rolls in one of the corners and pouncing on any dust bunnies she can find there. All the while she makes short, loud meows of complaint until you rub her with a foot or hand. She also does this when we play with our sugar gliders, that is until you get close enough for one or the other to spot their furry housemate, and then they go hurtling in different directions. I thought having animals was supposed to be less work than kids?

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