Skunked!

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Radar the BatCat in less smelly days.


It’s inevitable that ranch animals will make the acquaintance of skunks. While older animals may be smart enough to take a whiff from a distance and pass on by, puppies and kittens tend to want to play with the interesting black and white critter. The latest of our animals to do so was Radar, The BatCat, who bounced in the door not long ago stinking to high heaven. Luckily, he’s very quick on his feet and I think he only got a glancing blow, but he was still rather odoriferous. So Mom grabbed the de-scenting makings and whipped up a quick wash.

Don’t you “kitty, kitty” me!”


When dealing with skunk scent, time is of the essence. The longer you let it sit on the animal’s fur, the more the oils embed themselves in the hair shafts. For dogs, straight tomato juice is quick and easy, although it is the least effective of the odor removers. The wise ranch wife always keeps a few cans around just for this purpose. You can also use one part cider vinegar mixed with two parts water. Pour it on the animal and rub it in well. Let it sit for an hour or so and follow with a nice warm soapy bath and a good rinse. If the dog still smells, mix a quarter cup of vanilla extract with a quart or two of water and repeat the dousing process.
Cats, however, do better with the following recipe. (You can also use this on dogs, but it takes a lot, especially if the dog is long-haired):
1. One quart hydrogen peroxide
2. ¼ cup baking soda
3. 1 tsp dish liquid soap
Use this immediately – you can’t let it sit or it won’t work – as the chemical reaction between the baking soda and H2O2 is what neutralizes the odor. If you have the sort of cat that is used to regular baths, you can use this mix to wash the cat in the bathtub and then rinse with warm water. My cats are definitely not enamored of baths. Instead, one person holds the cat (good stout leather gloves are an asset). The other dips a hand towel into the cleaning solution or pours it onto the towel. Rub the wet towel into the animal’s fur – dodge teeth and claws as necessary. Repeat with a towel saturated in clean water. If your partner is still able to hang onto the cat, you can dry with a third towel. Since I had to do Radar alone – hubby was in town – I dispensed with the drying part.

Mom, now I’m all wet!


The cat still smells very faintly of skunk, but it’s diminished to the point that we can live with it. However, I am definitely on the feline fecal roster.

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