Sunday, February 6, 2011

Worse than a Rooster

When I adopted my cat Rusty 14 years ago, I tried for the sake of her teeth to feed her nothing but dry cat food.  However, the rescue organization I got her from had been giving her the canned stuff and she went on a hunger strike whenever I cut it off completely.  Eventually we compromised; she got all the dry food she could eat and half a can of wet food a day.  I fed her the canned food at night so she wouldn't wake me up in the morning on the days I wanted to sleep in.

That worked well until a couple of years ago when she started having trouble with her teeth and gums.  The vet gave me a kitty toothbrush but I wasn't able to use it; I need all 10 of my fingers.  Rusty also wouldn't drink the water additive that was supposed to protect her mouth.  The vet again suggested an all-dry diet, but you-know-who refused to eat it.  Eventually I gave up and resigned myself to spending more money on oral surgery for my cat than for myself.

Last year she went through a phase where she stopped eating dry food entirely and started dropping weight with alarming speed.  I tried to wait her out, assuming that sooner or later she would give up and resume eating the kitty kibble, but I was wrong.  After she had lost 2 pounds that she didn't have to lose, I started feeding her an entire can of soft food every day - still at night.  Unfortunately, she wouldn't eat it all because it would go stale before she finished it.  In addition, by the time I fed her every evening she was so hungry that she would bolt her supper and, all too often, throw it right back up.

Now I'm feeding her canned food twice a day, thinning it with hot water, and she's eating it without gagging.  She's even started eating dry food again.  As a result, she's regained some of the weight she lost and is more active than I've seen her in years.  All good, right?  But...

Now she expects breakfast to be served every morning, and she isn't necessarily willing to wait for it until we're ready to rise.  Much as I love her, I don't appreciate her whining in my ear at a quarter to six when I wasn't planning to get up until eight o'clock.  Barry, who needs more sleep than I do, appreciates it even less.  We've tried shutting her out of the bedroom (she howls outside the door), feeding her again before we go to bed (she's still ready for breakfast at dawn or a little before), throwing pillows at her (she dodges and continues to whine), and ignoring her (I can do this but Barry generally cracks); I don't know what else to try.  Of course, she's a pretty old cat, but she's in such good condition that she could be with us for years, whining all the way.  Maybe we'll have to lay in a stock of earplugs.

"After scolding one's cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference." ~ Charlotte Gray


  1. I have good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news first ( I like to end on a positive note ).
    The Bad: Admit defeat - you're outclassed. Cats are the ultimate dictators. I speak from experience, having been expertly ( albeit unwillingly ) trained by a series of feline megalomaniacs from childhood on. Resistence is futile.
    The good: Although it smacks of defeat, there is a viable solution ( other than strangling the poor beast )... you can purchase an automatic food dispenser, time it to spit out kibbles before you anticipate the morning operatics will start, and hopefully gain a couple more hours of shuteye before her highness finds some other need that requires your attention.
    There are a number of products on the market. Here's a link for one:
    Good luck!

  2. Good thought, Nina - I will give that a try. Of course, The Princess may be looking for personal attention as much as for food, in which case you are correct; we are dooooomed!