That Time I Got BenGay On My Cat

She was fine. I was not.

sarah james
Aug 31, 2017 · 4 min read

My cat Lucille is having a bit of a moment online right now…

So I thought I’d share the story of the time I got Bengay on her. And also use it as an excuse to post more pictures of her.


I am naturally a worried, anxious person, which is why I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. So many crimes are committed by the person you’d least expect: the quiet neighbor, or the community leader, or JonBenet Ramsey’s mom. You have to imagine the horror in the victim’s final moments. You… I never thought it’d be you…

This is what I have to imagine went through my cat’s head last night, when I accidentally got some BenGay on her.

Tiny, precious cat does not deserve her terrible human.

It was around midnight, as I was getting ready for bed, when my carpal tunnel decided to flare up again, due to my poor decision to leave off writing an entire script until the last possible three days. I’d been typing a lot of dick jokes, and my poor left wrist was exhausted. So, I busted out the BenGay, and rubbed down my wrist.

My BenGay is a little old, and I’m getting to the bottom of the tube, so a huge runny GLOP of it came out. Never one to let anything go to waste (thanks for that, Scottish ancestors) I lathered that stuff all over both my arms. As all my extremities began the process of going pleasingly numb that I hopefully won’t experience unless I freeze to death someday, I continued on with my nighttime routine: picking up my cat Lucille and taking her to bed.

She immediately freaked the FUCK OUT.

That’s not, like, entirely unusual. Sometimes in this stage of the process it goes through her little kitty brain: Wait I don’t like this where are we going!!!! And then we get to bed and she’s like, oh yeah, this is comfy, goodnight. But last night she freaked and squirmed out of my arms like a little maniac.

And I thought: maybe she hates the smell of BenGay?

And then I thought: huh, maybe I accidentally got some BenGay on her when I picked her up right after lathering both my arms with BenGay?

And then… I Googled.

The first result was something about how an active ingredient in some topical creams caused SEVEN CATS TO DIE. A more rational, not anxious person would have checked BenGay to see if this was one of the active ingredients in the product (spoiler alert: it’s not!) But I? I tossed my cat in the shower and TURNED IT ON.

She looked up at me, eyes wide, as I held her still while water rained on her tiny body. You… I never thought… I never thought it’d be you!

“I’m so sorry, Lucille,” I whispered to her. “I’m so sorry.”

Tiny perfect furry squish cat is tiny and perfect and furry.

Once I deemed her sufficiently washed (actually, once I could no longer hold on to her anymore) I tried to dry her off with a towel, but she had other ideas (specifically: running under the couch and licking herself for one hour.)

At this point, an anxious person would say, “ok, I potentially overreacted, but better safe than sorry. Time to go to bed.” But I’m not just an anxious person. I’m a DELUSIONAL ANXIOUS PERSON. Because what went through my head… was this:

What if, instead of getting the BenGay off, all I did by soaking my cat in my bathtub was encourage her to LICK HERSELF, thereby ENSURING that she ingests the deadly cat poison contained in ALL household objects? I sealed my own terrible destiny. Like Hamlet, or somebody tragic like that. Oedipus? No, that’s gross. Let’s go Hamlet.

Of course, sleep would be far off in my future. I could only listen to podcasts as I sat on the floor and watched to see if my cat was vomiting. I sat there for two hours. She eventually kindly came out from under the couch and sat on a chair in my bedroom; so I sat up in bed and watched her — occasionally getting up to check her breathing. For two. Hours.

She, of course, is totally fine.

I have concluded from this incident that I should never have human babies.

Precious innocent fur thing sits in a box, is perfect.

Sarah James had to buy the iCloud storage cause her phone was full of cat pictures. She tweets at cryingbaseball.

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

sarah james

Written by

sarah is an editor at slackjaw. her writing has appeared in reductress, splitsider, the toast, and more. thesarahjames.com

The Haven

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

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