Erg. I'm still all oogie-feeling over this one. And while I take full responsibility for what happened, I still place some of the blame on the vet. And my mother.
See, back when Mr. Big Acoustic Kitty was first starting on his whole diabetes rollercoaster, he had developed some serious grooming issues. His poor orange fur was just matting up something awful, and he couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it. But he certainly could still protest if we tried to do anything about it. After one especially memorable visit in which the vet techs scrubbed his nether regions (which resulted in some behavior on his part that still embarrasses me!), the vet suggested that we buy a beard trimmer from the drugstore and try to work on his mats ourselves. (Was this a polite way of telling me they never wanted to repeat that particular experience? I think it was.) We were deeply distrustful of the entire idea, but thought we'd spend the $25 on the trimmer just so we could say we'd tried. Amazingly enough, as long as I was the one who used the trimmer on him, and as long as he could keep his face buried in a pile of gourmet kibble while it was being used, he actually tolerated it. So now he looks like he has mange. But that's neither here nor there.
So there's the vet's share of the blame. I'll get to my mother's in a minute. (Hi, Mom!)
Since his insulin O.D., we've been focusing on other things than his mats, but over the past couple of days I've been noticing that he's grown some new ones that need attention. So I plunked down a pile of Blue Wilderness and grabbed the trimmers, only to find that the cheap-o generic batteries that had come with it were about dead. After changing the batteries, things zipped along much better. I whipped off three or four mats on his neck, made some progress on one on his side, removed one from his shoulder ... and then ran the trimmers through his whiskers.
I had to stop and look at what I'd done for a good minute or two, just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. But sure enough, his lower left whiskers are now only about an inch long. The freshly-shorn whisker tips were strewn around the remaining bits of kibble.
You might wonder why I blame my mother for this. In point of fact, I don't blame her for the trimmer incident. I blame her for this horrible queasy feeling I have in my stomach. You see, when I was a little girl, I loved to play with scissors. And I thought that trimming the kitty's whiskers was simply a nice thing to do ... they were all different lengths, and not nearly as neat and tidy as the rest of her dark tabby coat. (Looking back, she was remarkable tolerant about the entire incident.) But my mother took the scissors away from me and explained to me that you never, never, never trim a cat's whiskers, and that doing so is actually very mean because it takes away some of their ability to sense what's around them. It was a good, motherly, responsible thing to do, but considering that I was already well set on my path to full-on cat-personhood and very much in love with our cat, it gave me a horror of every doing anything damaging to a cat's whiskers. I even get a little OCD about "abandoned" whiskers that I find around the house. (I have a jar full of them. Yes, I'm sure there's something in the DSM IV about it.) So when you take a person like me and have her cut a bunch of whiskers off of her elderly, blind cat ... well, let's just say I'm not looking forward to any dreams I have tonight.
However, like Chinese did 30+ years ago, BAK took the whole thing very well. He didn't even flinch. So I'm hopeful that he'll get through the regrowth period pretty well.
And I do have that jar. Maybe some prosthetic whiskers and some glue ... ?
(Oh, calm down. I'm just kidding about the glue.)