Mauled! How to Determine if You’re a DIY Candidate

Years ago, we adopted our first cat (someday I’ll tell you all about the circumstances involving Bonnie’s adoption, but that day is not today). Today’s Monday Malice is directed at those “experts” who convince you that you’re totally qualified to do things you have absolutely no business attempting yourself, especially when it involves live animals.

We were not good DIY candidates

My husband is an avid do-it-yourselfer. And by “avid”, I mean “believes that he can do anything based on instructions in a YouTube video of dubious quality, created by someone of dubious expertise.” I’ve already expressed how I feel about videos in general; this experience certainly contributed to that opinion.

Bonnie was a gorgeous, smoke-gray Persian. Pro tip: Persians require regular grooming. And by “regular,” I mean “it’s possible that you will have to brush your cat three times a day.” No, not really. But if you don’t groom them at least weekly, you are likely to have a cat that rapidly grows mats, otherwise known as “nearly impossible to remove wads of hair that have glued themselves together with a substance that could be used in homebuilding.”

The photo above is of Bonnie after one of her professional “lion cuts.” Excuse the mess. I’d tell you that our house was usually cleaner, but I’d be lying.

The photo below is of Bonnie with a bit more fluff.

Mauled! How to Determine if You’re a DIY Candidate

We fell off the DIY wagon almost immediately

We, of course, quickly fell off the wagon; three kids and demanding full-time jobs left little time for regular grooming. Sorry, Bonnie. And when we did get around to it, here’s another pro tip: brushing gets rid of, like, 1% of mats. Once the mats have set in, you have two choices:

  1. Professional grooming
  2. Professional grooming

Now, “professional grooming” may involve someone who actually knows what they’re doing, in which case your beautiful Persian cat will come home as an adorable fluffball, mat-free, and likely wearing a jaunty kerchief. Or, if even the best groomer in the world cannot overcome your neglect, your beautiful Persian cat will come home with a “lion cut”, madder than a wet hen, but mat-free and wearing a jaunty kerchief. On that night, you should sleep with one eye open.

Score: Clippers: 2, Us: 0

After mortgaging our children to pay the professional groomer multiple times, my husband decided that he was totally skilled enough to perform the grooming himself. I controlled my eyerolls (barely) and, in the spirit of a happy marriage, if not a happy cat, said, “Sure, honey! Buy those $150 clippers – they even come with a link to an instructional YouTube video!”

We got through two home groomings before the vet visit (which, really, we should have known was inevitable) to repair our efforts. The repair came in the form of a few stitches; the bill made the grooming bill look like loose change. Finally, the vet looked at us and said, “I understand what you’re trying to do, but look what you’re actually doing.”

Yes, Doctor, we understand. Yes, Doctor, we’re sorry. No, Doctor, we will never try home grooming again.

Used Clippers for Sale

We wanted to try to recoup some of our clipper investment, and I was struggling to write a catchy Craigslist ad. “Here’s what you can say!” suggested one of my colleagues. “Used clippers: hardly any blood.”

I don’t remember what I actually posted on Craiglist, but I do know that the clippers went to another wildly overambitious do-it-yourselfer. Sorry, cat. And to your veterinarian: next time, we’d like a cut of the bill, please. You’re welcome.

A special shout-out goes to Jeff Goins at the amazing, for reminding me of this episode with his fabulous “how to bathe a cat”. I’m not sure if that lesson is publicly available, but if you reach out to him, he just might be willing to share. If you sign up, you’ll get a lot of great free tips, and you may even get his guacamole recipe, which I hear is fantastic.⧉

What about you? Do you have a favorite “DIY gone wrong” story, whether it involved animals or inanimate objects? Let me know in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Mauled! How to Determine if You’re a DIY Candidate”

  1. I have a standard response to requests for DIY-ing – ‘OK, but, I don’t do straight and I don’t do level. Complaints will not be accepted’
    This gets me out of most.

    1. Ahhh, what a great read! Coach Dawne fans, I highly recommend Mr. Ohh!’s work. He’s hilarious, and understands the magic of duct tape. – Coach Dawne

    1. I wish we could! Oddly, I’m allergic to shorthairs (of course I am, just more of my cursed uniqueness!), hence why we have high-maintenance cats. Sigh. – Coach Dawne

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