Saturday, September 29, 2007

Beowulf Rings "Dinner Bell" for Service

It's hard for us humans to train cats, but it's not as hard for them to train us! Beowulf has trained me to come when called and to give him more kibble.

He will go into the kitchen, stand on top of the litterbox and meow at the top of his lungs. If I don't respond to his meowing in short order, he will start banging the litter scoop, which sits tightly in between the litterbox and the garbage can. We call this "ringing the dinner bell" for service. If I don't respond to his banging of the scoop, he'll swat the scoop onto the floor, causing me to go into the kitchen, pick it up, and throw him more kibble while I'm there.

He'll do this even when he has plenty of kibble in the bowl, so maybe it's not about kibble but about attention. I'm not sure. A few times he has called when he wants fresh water or the litterbox to be cleaned, but usually it's for kibble.

I'd like to get him to stop this practice, but I'm not sure how. I could move the scoop, but I'm not sure where I'd put it and frankly, if it weren't the scoop, he'd find another way of calling for service. Maybe I should just accept the call.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wet Food - They Just Won't Eat It

Our food situation is terrible right now. I have always fed the boys a mix of wet and dry food and they have always been very picky about which wet foods they would eat. It has gotten to the point where there is only one wet food they will even sniff and that's Solid Gold Blended Tuna.

Before the pet food recall, I used to feed the boys Nutro packet food and they would lick up the juice from it. Now I wouldn't even consider feeding them Nutro packet food.

I hear that it is bad to feed cats tuna on a frequent basis so I'm at the point where I don't give them wet food every day. They won't touch any other wet food I've given them and I've tried so many great brands. I tried every flavor of Weruva, tried all kinds of Merrick, Abady, Spot's Stew, etc. If you name it and it's a decent brand, I've tried it. They won't even touch other brands of tuna!

I've tried adding all kinds of flavoring and condiments to the wet food we have. On the advice of a guy at the pet store, I bought a box of Liv-a-Littles and crumbled them up into the wet food without success. I tried mixing tuna flakes into the wet food and Beowulf just picked out the flakes and left the food. I bought a bottle of Grizzly Salmon Oil and sprayed it on the food. I tried mixing Solid Gold Tuna with other canned foods, but that didn't work either. I'm at an impasse.

As for dry food, I had to give up on Orijen. I liked Orijen's nutritional info a lot, but Arthur wouldn't eat it so right now all the boys are eating is California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice. What can I do to get them to eat something else? Or should I just be happy that they have dry food they like?

Comfort During a Tough Time

The past couple of months were a tough time of going on interviews and waiting by phones and email, but I have a new job now, not working for cats, but working for people at the Parks Department. As I sat around the house on pins and needles for several weeks, my boys did everything they could to help me relax.

Beowulf was particularly helpful. Every morning I'd get up and he'd follow me around until I sat down at my desk to check my email. He'd jump up on the desk before I could even move the mouse and he'd sit in front of the keyboard until I let him rest his chin on my arm for a few minutes. After feeling his purr for a few minutes, I was much more relaxed and able to face whatever I had going on each day -- interviews, phone calls, or just waiting by the inbox and phone for news.