Monday, October 01, 2007


At 4:10 a.m. today, I woke to the sound of a low, deep, rumbling growl from Uschi as he paced by the bed. Suddenly a strong smell of skunk hit my nose, and I knew something BAD had happened. The boys have access to their outdoor kennel all night, and to this point have stayed clear of the skunks and other animals that prowl outside our house. Well, apparently in skunk vs. cat, Uschi had gotten himself sprayed.

I rushed Uschi into the bathroom and sniffed him (Phheeeeuuuwww!) and checked his eyes, he was blinking a lot, so I rinsed them quickly with water. He didn't have any scrapes or cuts we could see, so that was good. Les booted up the computer to get tips on "de-skunking cats." We did not have baking soda/hydrogen peroxide, but had some tomato juice (see info at bottom) and still had an unopened cat shampoo we bought before T&U came home, thinking that they might get bathed occasionally (which has never happened, until now).

We checked Tanj and Vladi, they were O.K., and the whole family crowded into the bathroom. First, I poured on the tomato juice. Unfortunately it had been in the fridge, so that was cold on poor Uschi. I kept rubbing him vigorously as he tried to escape the bathtub. The emergency phase was over, so Les got out the camera...

Rinsing the tomato juice off.

Uschi jumps out of tub and tries to hide behind
"his" bags of kitten food...

Uschi starts to lick dry, but we're not done yet. Next comes
the soap, and we rinse him using a cup to avoid his eyes.

Who replaced Uschi with a chihuahua?

Usch is back out of the tub and there is water everywhere.

Vladi's ears let us know that he does NOT want to be next.

Tanj, our stinky-odor-detector, is sniffing places
where Uschi has been. "This smells!"

Uschi is totally soaked, so naturally,...

he heads to the litter-box and is
soon covered in clumping litter.

I pull him out of the box and start towel-drying...
(Thank goodness it wasn't squirmy Tanj who got sprayed!)

"What happened to my tail??"

Tanj and Vlad have to check out Uschi's stick-tail.

Tanj takes a sniff of his Skunky-Swirl...

And starts to lick like crazy. Good boy!

Now Uschi looks like a damp marmot or maybe a beaver.

Poor Uschi, this is not the best way to start the day.

We didn't want to let the boys back into the kennel,
in case there was a skunk with attitude waiting
outside of the fence, so we locked the cat flap and
set up an auxiliary litter box...

Tanji and Vladi are pretty excited...

Sorry Vladi, Uschi can't play right now...

He is still busy licking, licking, and licking some more.

The whole house reeks!! With only one room, Uschi
was able to go pretty much everywhere before we woke up.
When we got to work this morning, we
(and everyone else) could smell skunk
on our clothes, Les' bag, oh yes, we are skunky.

At lunch we headed to the local specialty pet store and got goodies.

When we got home, to the stinky house,
the boys checked out their stash:
"Instinct" cat food (most expensive canned food at the store,
so of course its the only one all the boys currently like),
dental chews for T&U, a feather/mylar toy to replace the
one they mangled, a catnip toy for Uschi, sample cat food
bags for our picky eaters, and of course, a de-skunk potion.

Thanks for getting sprayed, Uschi!

Wait a minute,...

You still stink.

Whaat?, I don't smell that bad.

Mmmm, I taste pretty good too,...
I don't need another "skunky" bath!

Uschi finally has had enough and..

Settles in for a well-deserved nap.

Hang in there Uschi, today is only going to get better!

After some research we found out that the reason skunk smell tends to linger is because of compounds called thiols which contain very small amounts of sulfur. Our noses are acutely sensitive to these substances, so very small quantities (parts per billion) are noticeable. Skunk spray also has thioacetates which break down very slowly releasing the scent for a long time. Tomato juice also has strong smells so it really just masks the skunk smell. The only way to get rid of it is to destroy the molecules. A baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixture will actually neutralize the stink by chemically converting the thiols into less stinky chemicals, store bought "enzymes" probably do the same thing. The reason the smell seems to go away, then return when you return to the space is because our noses/brains get overloaded with/habituated to the smell, then when you get a break from it and return,... you smell it again.

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Johnathan; Columbia SC said...

AWWWW! Poor Uschi!

We give our 3 baths about once a year or so. I noticed with the first one, that if you do it often, they get used to it. But then I stopped, so now when I bathe them, i end up with scratches on my arms!

You know, i wouldn't have thought a skunk would walk up to the outdoor run and spray. Also, it doesn't look like one could get in there from your pics... What an asshole skunk!

I feel sooooo bad for you guys!

Kaze, Latte, or Chase said...

Oh that sounds horrible!!! I had a flea bath once and it was not exactly enjoyable. I can only imagine skunky smells.


Daisy said...

Poor, poor Uschi! What a horrible, skunky thing that happened to you. I never had a bath before, but it looks very terrible. I hope the rest of your day does not stink.

Anonymous said...

Poor Uschi! But the good side is his coat is even more shiny, Handsome Uschi.
What a shocking way to wake up.
I went through the same thing many years ago with my Bichon (named Bunny). She wasn't afraid of anything, and tried to attack a skunk that wandered into our yard. Woke me up at 4am to barking, just in time for me to see the skunk spray her. Luckily I had the de-skunking ingredents. The smell lingered for a week. I had to changed my attitude to "it's just another smell of nature" and I didn't seem to mind as much. I am just glad the skunk didn't find the doggie door!
Hugs to Uschi,
Kintaro, Tessa and Abby

Emma's Kat said...

Oh no! Uschi, I sure hope you smell better soon! Watch out for those stinky skunks from now on, okay, lol!?

Dr. P-K said...

Oh my poor patient! How cute he in the bath tub :) Your site is great! What wonderful owners these boys have!

Nova Prince-Kelly (Dr. PK)

The Stainologist said...

Wow, I feel for your kitty. Were you able to remove the skunk odor? If any of it got in your house, or on any other other item (othe then Uschi.) I know of a good Skunk Odor Removal product that works. I recommended it for many who had the same concern.
If you need it, you can find it here.

By the way, I love your pictures, I can clearly see you love what you do. I hope that helps you and Uschi.