Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's that smell?

"Zee stripe! It is gone! She is not a skunk at all!"
- Pepe Le Pew
We sometimes refer to our cats as skunks in reverse. They have black bodies with white bellies instead of a white strip on the back. But recently one of our inverted skunks met the real thing. Taz came in with massive quantities of drool coming from his mouth. My first thought was rabies but then the smell hit me - skunk! He was been hit in the face and was pitiful sight. Fortunately my wife knew what to do.

1. We quickly removed our outer clothes so as not to ruin them.
2. She had me remove rugs and towels from the bathroom while she grabbed the cat.
3. Then she and the cat were locked in the bathroom for a bath.
4. We could not find tomato juice or V8. This has worked well for us though some websites claim it does not work.
5. So my wife suggested Listerine which did remove the smell.
6. Skunks aim for the face and cleaning the face is not easy. We poured cups of water over the eyes to flush them clean. The force of warm water directly out of the faucet was too strong.
7. We dried the cat with a very old towel.
8. And gave him a brushing once he had settled down.

We offered the cat water to rinse his mouth but he was not interested. Fortunately the drooling stopped shortly after the bath. Be sure to wipe up the drool since this contains a bit of the skunk oil and will spread on feet, shoes, etc.

First Aid
If the cat if bitten or scratched, get them to a vet. Skunks may carry rabies. Also call the vet if your cat's eye are red or watering.

Bottom Line

Many sites now recommend a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to breakup the skunk smell.

* 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (unopened)

* ΒΌ cup baking soda
* 1 teaspoon of strong liquid soap such as dish washing detergent.

Mix the ingredients in an open bucket or bowl. The mixture should fizz if the hydrogen peroxide is fresh. Be sure to keep the mixture out of the pet's eyes, nose and mouth. If it is necessary to apply it to the face, very carefully use a washcloth or a sponge. After applying the mixture, rinse thoroughly.

*Warning*
This mixture creates pressure as it fizzes - never store in a closed container, do not cover the container in any way. Always discard unused solution. Do not get the mixture into the pet's eyes, nose or mouth.

Web Resources
http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/veterinaryqa/qt/SkunkFirstAid.htm

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/skunk.htm

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