Having a cat was huge responsibility at seven, first thing I did was take the cat to the vet:
vet: hello, what do we have here then?
JJ: It's a cat
vet: I see, you know you probably shouldn't carry it around in a plastic shopping bag, you should get a cat basket
JJ: ok, I'll ask dad
vet: Is it a boy or a girl?
vet: what's it's name then?
JJ: dunno, my dad brought it, they didn't say
vet: you'll have to give it a name. We'll he looks fine, I'll give him this vaccination then you can take him home
JJ: what does it eat?
vet: cat food
JJ: do we have to give him a bath?
vet: not usually, maybe once or twice a year if it gets really dirty
JJ: thank you
Six months later I rounded up my brothers and we ran a bath for the cat. We just filled the tub a dropped the cat in, the cat didn't even touch the water, let out an fierce scream and bolted for the door. I was completely baffled, surely the cat realised it was bath time? After some debate we decided that cat's don't like bath time. But the vet had said it had to be done, we wanted a second opinion but we didn't fancy spending hard earned pocket money on another visit to the vet. So, we went to the library, all kids library books clearly state you have to give the cat a bath.
A week later the cat returned. This time we bolted the bathroom door and organised ourselves; two to hold down the screaming lunatic and one to apply the shampoo. It didn't say in any of the books what sort of soap one should use on a cat so we reasoned it ought to be shampoo - it's all hair, out came the Head and Shoulders. We decided that lather and rinse was enough, "repeat" would not be necessary. It was strange that we had never read shampoo instructions before, now it seemed important but there was nothing there about cats. "Avoid contact with eyes - may cause irritation", irritation? The cat was already incandescent with rage, this comment seemed a somewhat redundant, what sort of an idiot would shampoo in a cat's eye anyway?
Cat's really don't like water, and they like even less being held in the water and shampooed. This one decided the fair response would be to skin our hands and arms with it's claws, which it did very well. But eventually, the job was done and we all went off to our respective corners to lick our wounds. Made a mental note to wear gloves next time, gardening gloves might work or those white gauntlets you get with bio-nuclear hazard suits. Another week went by before normality was returned.
Another six months went by before the second and final bath night for this cat. Don't get me wrong, the cat survived, so did we. The things is cat's aren't like dogs, they have a certain away of looking at you, like "Is that how it's going to be? ok, fine, we'll do it your way", if you've ever been married you'll know what I mean. We just gave up on cat bath night after that.
Some years later the cat died of a suspected road accident, there were no witnesses. It was sad, we'd been through a lot together. But then it meant we could get a dog, that's how it is when you're seven, "Dad the cat died, can we get a puppy? can we get a puppy? can we get a puppy?" and so on. It worked eventually and then we had some real adventures...