General Tso is 6 1/2 years old. (Poor thing was born on 9/11/2000. I don't think he understands).
He was named after the delicious Chinese dish because Bill, my mom and I had just been to the China Buffet and my mom had convinced me I needed another cat. We were not too sure where in Rutland, Vermont to find a cat, so she asked the waitress who either didn't understand the question or was being defensive. After that, naming him General Tso was a no-brainer.
He sheds his fur in massive quantities this time every year and if I'm not quick to brush it out it forms dense mats of fur that tugs at his skin. It can't be pleasant. I tried at first to shave him. I can shave my own head so how hard can it be to shave an animal. With claws. and teeth. He's a sweet cat, but that was not going to happen. He was shaved for the first time in 2005, much to the dismay of cat #2, Ticonderoga who responded to his return home by hissing at him and chasing him around. As if looking like a poodle were not bad enough.
I decided to go with a preemptive shave last year and brought him in before the mats became too painful. The nice vets at Green Mountain vet were warned that he's a sweet cat in a bad mood. They said not to worry. No cat could be as bad as Missy and pointed to a picture on the wall of a gnarled, one-fanged, mangy beast that looked as if it had been peeled off the road. I knew he was in good hands.
When I returned, the vet began laughing, handed me a pair of gloves that workers at nuclear power plants use to handle plutonium and suggested I would have to handle the Tasmanian Devil in Vet Block #481516. It took a lasso, a squirt gun and a burlap sack, but I was able to extract the angry monster from his temporary lair. Missy's picture had been removed, there was a new vet devil champion. He hissed and growled all the way home and was again not greeted as the liberator that many thought he would be. Oh wait that's another story.
Since I've moved from Vermont to Florida, this would be his first trip to the vet down here. He was fairly calm on the trip over. He asked at one point "what's up with coconuts?" which I took to be merely an existential question and not a botanical inquiry.
I warned his new vet that he's a cuddly, lovable cat but gets medieval when he hears the clippers. She jotted that advice down, giggled when I gave his name and told me to pick him up after 4 pm.
Apparently the vet forgot to tell her assistant about the clippers. Before Tso was knocked out he turned them on and the cat expressed his own anal glands in the poor assistant's general direction. I paid for it in the end.
In the end, it all worked out well. Tso got the Poodle Bob - which is a new style for him. If I had thought about it I would have gone with the Mr. T Mohawk in honor of Ash (pictured below being shaved by wife Kate on New Year's...a story for another day)
You gotta love this cat. And aren't pets supposed to look like their owners anyway?
Look at that tail!