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The mealtime mambo

About a year-and-a-half ago, we put the cats on a diet.

Predictably, mealtime drama ramped up to incredible proportions. In fact, Grizzo will begin his campaigns for breakfast or dinner up to three hours before it is actually time for whichever meal. He’d always been food-oriented, even before the diet, but the diet has flipped some sort of circuit breaker in his tiny little brain and it’s constantly shorting out now, with especial surges when anybody makes the mistake of walking near or in the direction of the food canister.

The diet has been a success, however. The cats are now comfortably within the weight ranges our veterinarian suggested and I must say that the both of them (and especially Minnie) do look much healthier and better proportioned than ever. They don’t act much different than ever, being cats and all. They sleep a lot, when they are not awake and actively wrecking something. Griswald still has his unfortunate territorial urinating compulsions, and Minnie still “plays with gravity” or scratches on things when she wants attention.

We’ve tried positive reinforcement, we’ve tried negative reinforcement, we’ve tried to eliminate likely triggers, yet the cats tend to stay a step ahead of us and find something to befoul or destroy. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty much impossible to train a cat out of a bad behavior, and you just basically have to wait until they finally give up and die and cats live for a very, very long time.

Anyway, the whole point to today’s entry was that I’ve had to instate yet another step in feeding the beastlies because Griswald, and to a lesser extent, Ruby were running Minnie off from her meals.

Minnie is by far the oldest of the lot of critters here. She’s somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years old and has slowed down a little bit, especially in the area of appetite. She will eat her portion of food in entirety, but she doesn’t gobble it down like Griswald or inhale it like Ruby does. So Minnie will still be nibbling away long after Griz has snarfed his portion, so he not-so-subtly will move in on her. He’ll stick his whole head in her dish and shoulder her over. She’ll settle back on her haunches, looking intensely peeved, but not doing anything to reclaim her rightful meal. She might pause for a hiss or a growl when he moves in, but doesn’t really back up her words. Then Ruby will pick up on the excitement and hover over the cats, poised to pounce on whichever cat moves first. This, of course, drives Minnie even further away from her meal, which by that point has probably been entirely polished off by Griswald.

So, to combat this recent development, I’ve taken to putting Minnie’s dish on top of her crate, Griswald’s on the floor, and Ruby’s on the other side of the room. When Roo finishes her dinner, I call her into the other room so that she cannot loom over and menace the cats.

Having multiple pets can be incredibly labor intensive, and each time I think I have these little varmints figured out, they throw in a new complication. And I feel like such a loser for feeling all triumphant about outsmarting a pair of cats. Each time I crack one of their pesty capers, I’m all like, “hah I WIN!” and then I realize that I have been celebrating outwitting a cat, and the glory tarnishes just that little bit.

One Response to “The mealtime mambo”

  1. styro says:

    I totally relate, and laughed at the last part. I always get excited when I outwit one of my pets until I remember that they have a combined, cumulative IQ of like, 12.

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