Feb 14 2011

My very own picky eater.

Published by at 9:17 pm under Pets

If you could see a picture of my cats’ evening “treat bowls”, with no provided context, you might jump to the conclusion that I love one of my cats much more than the other one, and therefore reward her with like…six times the amount of tuna the other one gets. The reality of the situation might, in fact, be more disturbing.

The cats don’t actually get tuna every evening as a treat. They get it because they are taking Cosequin, on the recommendation of my vet. Since they are officially Old Cats, the vet thought maybe some glucosimine might help stave off any joint pain. Cosequin comes in convenient “sprinkle capsules”, which is a succint way of saying you take apart your average gel-cap and pour the contents onto food. But, as mentioned previously, one of the cats has a pretty serious food allergy, which means special vet food. And the canned version of this vet food is something neither cat will consistently eat, mostly because it looks like canned cat food, after you have wrung every possible drop of moisture from it. It’s very weird. So, they get Chunk Light Tuna in Oil. The ingredient list is reassuringly one item long. Less reassuringly, it reads “Fish”.

OK, I’m off track. We were talking about portion size. Why does one of my cats get a huge heaping forkful of tuna, and the other has to suffer with the barest minimum possible that will dissolve medication? Well, it all has to do with their personalities and medical issues. The one cat, the one who gets the Wee Bit of Tuna, is Destiny the Brain Damaged. She is, as her name might imply, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Besides that, she can’t see very well and she also doesn’t like to chew very much. So, once she licks food to the edge of her bowl, it pretty much ceases to exist in her mind, because unless she is SUPER INTERESTED, she often will not pick it up using her teeth. This means that if I give her a reasonable amount of food, most of it won’t get eaten. This means that most of the meds also won’t get eaten, rendering the whole exercise futile. Therefore, she gets a wee bit.

The other cat is Fate the Bully. She’s also Fate the Fast Eater and Fate the Greedy. If I don’t give her extra food, she will finish in a big hurry, and then go over to Destiny and muscle her out of the way so that she can eat whatever Destiny hasn’t had the chance to get to yet. And, Destiny is not a cat who can be redirected after an interruption. Once she’s been pushed away or distracted, she’s done. No more eating for awhile. And that is also why I try to feed the cats when The Man is not going to be in the kitchen. He’s a good man, but he is a cupboard slammer and a pot banger, and Destiny is skittish. If he’s in the room, it’s more than likely going to result in her walking away from her medicinal tuna for the evening.

That’s why I say that the reality of the situation is almost more disturbing than the fallacy that I love one of my cats more than the other. Because the reality is that, in order to get a non-essential supplement into a highly neurotic cat, I have to dole out precise portion sizes, and then stand around in the kitchen policing the way the cat eats, the other cat’s attempts at food robbery, and the frickin’ ambient noise level. And then, if I’m lucky, the cat might eat 80% of the seven shreds of tuna I actually put in her bowl.

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