Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
Dear Diary:

There are things you really, really shouldn't do when a skunk hoses down your cat.

Of course, I did these things. But then, that's what my life is about. I am a living, breathing cautionary tale.

It was 6 oh-man-this-is-too-early-to-be-awake-in-the-morning when I realized that I smelled the indescribable stench of a skunk. Sitting outside on the sill of the closed window at the foot of our bed was our cat Enid begging piteously to be let in the house.

Now you might think that a person of average intelligence would piece together the fact that the appearance of the cat and the steadily growing stench of a skunk might be somehow connected.

Yes, you might think that. Oh, but I didn't.

After all, Enid is the cat that seldom goes outside. When she does go outside, it is to sleep on the screened in porch off our kitchen. Plus it was 6 oh-man-this-is-too-early-to-be-awake-in-the-morning and I wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders.

So I threw open the window and let the cat in. With the cat came an eye-stinging smell so horrible that I started to retch. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the cat was in as bad a state as I was�there was evidence that she'd also been retching.

Oh crap.

So the spousal unit grabbed her and we made our first big mistake, throwing her in our tub. The tub surrounded by a plastic shower curtain. Plastic, which absorbs odours.

We started off with the classic, washing her down with tomato juice. Not only was this totally ineffective, we had the added bonus of a cat already frantic from the skunk smell now totally pissed off at us for soaking her in tomato juice.

Oh crap.

I raced upstairs, fired up my computer and consulted the gods o' Google. Many commercial products were suggested, but it was stupidly early and I live miles out in the country. No access to any of that. So we decided to try the vinegar/baking soda/dish detergent mix one site recommended.

Imagine Enid's joy at being tossed into the tub a second time, still wet from tomato juice, and again assaulted with a liquid, this one foamy and soapy. After all, cats love being wet.


Imagine how much more wet essence o' skunk we sprayed on to our shower curtain as we rubbed down one extremely smelly, extremely ticked off cat.

The vinegar/baking soda/dish soap recipe certainly knocked down the smell but the cat was still, um, er, ah a presence in any room she graced. Then I noticed her collar. We removed it, threw it away, washed her neck, and that beat down the smell another notch. Now it wasn't so much a case of "what has died in this room" as "something smells wrong in this room".

In my world, this is an improvement.

I have washed down every surface indoors and out that the cat has graced. We think she was under the front porch when she was sprayed, because stinkiness randomly wafts out from under the porch area. The general consensus on the web seems to be this outdoor smell will last between two weeks and a month.

Unless, of course, the skunk has died under the porch.

Then it will get worse as the skunk decomposes. There is just a tiny crawl space under this porch. Neither the spousal unit nor I have any plans to crawl to the back of it looking for a dead skunk. Or, even worse, a living skunk which has decided to take up residence under there.

Out of sight, out of mind is our current motto.

A neighbour came by to get a plant I'd promised him, and he suggested a peroxide/baking soda/dish soap combo. Since the cat was still a presence in any room she entered, I decided to give her a third going over.

It is a testament to Enid's gentle disposition that she never once bit or scratched the spousal unit or I during all these washings. Had this been Binky, someone would have lost an arm.

The spousal unit's favourite part of the whole deal was watching my face as I smelled the cat after each washing. I checked various body bits after they were washed to see if she still smelled, if an area needed more work. Apparently, my face was pretty funny when I hit an odoriferous zone.

Eeny's face still smells pretty bad, but I decided I couldn't risk getting any of the various concoctions into her eyes. I'm hoping that she'll groom the skunk oils off her face in the next few days. Yum, yum skunk spray. The cat may never wash her face again.


We've lived in this house since 1977 and never had an animal sprayed by a skunk before. Hopefully this is our first and last time. I've been cleaning all day and I still fee nauseaous from the remaining smell.



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