No licking ritual for Fat Cat

By Tammy Keith Published July 16, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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Every time I give my cat a bath, I think of Steve Martin.

He had a bit from his stand-up routine back in the 1970s about giving his cat a bath.

“Oh, this is an interesting thing: I gave my cat a bath the other day. You know, I’d always heard you weren’t supposed to give cats baths, but my cat came home, and he was really dirty, and I decided to give him a bath, and it was great. If you have a cat, don’t worry about it — they love it. He sat there — he enjoyed it — it was fun for me … you know and, uh, the fur would stick to my tongue, but other than that ….”

You may still be stuck on the fact that I give my cat a bath. When I mentioned this the other night while talking to a couple of our neighbors, one man did a double take and gave me a weird look.

I explained: “I have to. He’s too fat to clean himself.”

Ashton, aka Fat Cat, weighs about 21 pounds, despite the “weight-management” cat food we give him. He sometimes plops himself against a wall to brace himself while he attempts to clean his belly.

He has long hair, and there’s a lot of real estate to get through. He gets exhausted and gives up after a couple of minutes.

He really doesn’t seem to mind getting a bath. I don my rubber gloves, put him in our Jacuzzi (we haven’t used it ourselves in years), and use a cup under the running water to get him soaked. I lather him up, and he pretty much stands, resigned, as I wash him. It’s the toweling off that he really mouths about.

He loves to be brushed, though, and he’ll come running when he sees the hand-held, pink Furminator, as it’s called. When we’re done, there is a ball of fur that looks like a bale of orange hay. This is a task best done outside, although to my chagrin, my younger son has done it while sitting on the couch with Ashton, trash can nearby.

This son, who moved to Kentucky last year, recently got a kitten from a litter produced by a stray that his neighbor feeds. He named the kitten M’aiq (sounds like My-eek) after a video-game character.

For his birthday this month, he asked for a gift card to a pet store to get supplies for the kitten.

My daughter-in-law wondered aloud whether he’d like the thing you can use to lick your cat.

What the heck? I’d never heard of such.

I looked online, and there it was — Licki Brush. It was an idea that was funded with donations from more than 2,000 people.

“Have you ever wanted to lick your cat? Now you can. Without the furballs.”

The pitch is that cats groom each other to form social bonding, and “there’s also evidence to suggest that cats view and treat their human captors as large cats. As a human, you’re left out of the intimate licking ritual.”

Licki is described as a high-quality, soft silicone brush, designed to feel pleasurable to your cat’s sensitive skin. “Gently grasp Licki’s bite portion with your teeth, slowly approach your cat when she is sleeping or in an otherwise pleasant mood, and ease into the soothing and mutually beneficial licking behavior of cats.”

Um, no thanks. I think that sounds Icki.

But I wonder if Steve Martin has heard about this.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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