I am announcing the winner of the “cat dilemma” competition as an article rather than as a comment because I want to explain myself fully to avoid upset. Also it might create some additional discussion ;). The first point to make is that these are only my opinions. Secondly, the answers were great and I want to thank people for participating. I think this mini-comp was a success because in trying to solve this dilemma we have come up with possible answers to similar problems which someone else might have.
For visitors new to this, I posed a cat lover’s dilemma and solutions were sought with a prize for the best answer. You can read the dilemma on this page. The page opens in a separate tab or window so that you can stay on this page at the same time.
I relied on four criteria for deciding the best solution:
- to think of the welfare of the two visiting cats, Maggie and Marty
- to think of the welfare of Alfie equally
- to bear in mind that Jenny can’t really stop helping a cat that comes to her
- that the primary responsibility for solving the problem falls on Ethel
The Simple Answer
The obvious answer is for Jenny to stop feeding Marty and Maggie. However, Jenny struggles with that. Also Marty and Maggie will probably eat somewhere else so their welfare is not really considered fully in that answer. Also Jenny might put waste food down for other animals which the cats might eat. Why should Jenny change her routines because of Ethel’s irresponsibility? Also the food that Jenny puts down might be beneficial to Marty and Maggie.
A consideration was the difficulty with feline diabetes. There is an argument that the high carbohydrate and sugar content of dry cat food causes diabetes if the cat is predisposed to it. Being overweight might not be the primary cause. Also high carbohydrate dry cat food can cause mild hypoglycemia which can encourage eating. Marty is on dry cat food and some wet. Is the diet a factor in overeating and diabetes?
The winner is Marc. His is an unexpected solution. It is an example of lateral thinking – problem solving from a different angle or approach. You can read Marc’s answer by clicking on this link. It opens on a new tab/page.
At first I was not sure if it was workable. Would a vet respond to an email or letter from Jenny about Ethel and her cats? As Ruth says, is it his problem? Well, I think as the cats’ health is at stake and as it is possible that Jenny and Ethel use the same vet, the vet has a role to play albeit an unusual one. There is nothing wrong in pushing the boundaries a bit and asking a vet to get involved in cat welfare and health in a different way.
Why do I prefer Marc’s solution?
- it proposes a form of mediation between Ethel and Jenny. They can’t agree. The vet might release that log jam.
- it tackles the underlying health problem of Marty, his borderline diabetes. Perhaps the vet can come up with a diet that improves Marty’s health while at the same time stop him being hungry enough to go in search of food elsewhere.
- it puts the onus on Ethel as she will receive advice from her vet who she will listen to. I think that is the key. Ethel will listen to her vet but no one else. The vet could solve this by looking afresh at the diabetes and diet issues.
- the cat lover’s dilemma is about cat health and vet’s are the experts on cat health.
Dee is the runner up. I loved her simple, elegant solution that also focused on the health and welfare of Marty and Maggie. It is more or less saying that if Marty and Maggie want to share their humans then so be it, but the humans should then work together to make sure the diet is correct. It also puts gentle pressure on Ethel to solve the problem. You can read her solution here if you like.
I’ll be in contact with Marc to get his prize to him and his cats. I want to give a prize to everyone but can’t really afford that.