Anyway, it was the cat's first bath in over a year, which was a bit overdue because, even not going out, he has too much hair to do it himself and, for the first time in his life, he's properly molting, so I needed to help with the frequently falling fluff.
(Yes, we already brush handfuls out everyday.)
... because it's frequently falling in big tufts all over the carpet, provoking much deliberate picking up and hand-brushing of the carpet. Hand-brushing, because the Hoover won't pick it up - which is more of a comment on the (lack of) quality of the carpet, than it is on the inefficiency of the Hoover, though there's probably an element of that too.
Can I manage to get on my hands and knees to hand brush a carpet? Not a hope!
In a house with all tiled floors and in a warm climate, you just bath the cat and let it go outside. It just sits in the sun and licks itself dry and any moisture it drops on the floor on the way from bathroom to exit door, is easily and simply mopped up. Job done.
It's a task I'd been putting off for ages here, not wanting to cause him any more distress than he's already feeling in a strange land and, not wanting a grand "ho-ha", because it's not that easy to bathe a cat in a fully carpeted (even the bathroom) house and NOT leave one or two drops of water or slight temporary dampness somewhere.
Odd drops of water - even when they're appropriately inside the bath - cause great distress to my mother, who reacts, flapping about there being "water everywhere".
She also obsessively wipes and dries the bath every single time it gets wet, which I find both hilarious and the possible indication of a mental affliction, but, whilst I can ignore this behaviour, the cat wouldn't and would be likely to pick up on the tension. So to avoid any anxiety that might unnerve the poor cat, with shampoo at the ready, I grabbed the opportunity this morning while she was out for his annual bath.
He's no trouble at all: actually he's more compliant that the dog used to be and hardly objects, so it's not even a case of needing strength and agility to control him, 'coz the little bugger just stands in the bath and lets me massage the soap in his back, thoroughly enjoying the attention, pushing into my hands and purring away.
Afterwards, I wrapped him in a towel - which he lay in relaxed and prone like a newborn baby - rubbed off the excess and then gave him some fluffing up with the hairdryer, which in the absence of sun and decent temperatures, was necessary to keep him warm while he was damp. Thankfully, he's happy to put up with this too and I can even roll him on his back to dry off the fur on his belly. In fact, it's all no trouble at all.
Except the bending. And the doing anything really.
Yes I paced the task sensibly: I took a rest after the bathing and did the drying in several short bursts to avoid over exertion (because the cat puts up with that better too). When he was essentially dry, I let him finish "cooking" at Gas Mark 1 - he got into bed, so I switched on the electric blanket to keep him warm and avoid damp.
Heat helps fibromyalgia too, so I should benefit from lying on it too. And yet ...
This simple task just about "broke" my back (so you'd think from the pain), but not only that, I was actually shaking and trembling from exertion, indicating that I had pushed myself beyond my level of endurance. Now, even I'll admit that it's totally ridiculous to get to beyond my level of endurance from such simple, everyday, activities but this is not unusual. It's what happens and it's hard to see how to avoid or overcome it.