My Finicky Feline

By Jo Singer

Siamese cat Hush Puppy

Dr. Hush Puppy – Photo by Jo Singer

The other day while I was checking out the Pictures of Cats website I ran across a most thought provoking question posed by Michael Broad, “How does your cat read you?”

The question immediately got me thinking about Dr. Hush Puppy, one of our two Oriental Shorthair kitties. For the longest time I have been wondering if our highly intelligent and curious cat is actually eavesdropping on the conversations my husband and I have when we are planning to go out to dinner and deciding what kind of food is appealing to us.

The reason I am suspicious that Dr. Hush Puppy is spying on us is that during our conversations, he cocks his head and gets an intense expression of his face. The only conclusion to which I can arrive from his behavior is that he is listening intently to our every word.

Now it’s highly possible that perhaps his odd behavior stems from his extreme pickiness about the food that he deems acceptable. But just like anyone who lives with a finicky feline, I am positive that I am not the only one who gets frustrated and arrives at their wit’s end; ready to tear their hair out when no matter what we dish up is met with an upturned nose. This rejection of our tender offerings cannot be considered anything less than a potent communication of displeasure.

Therefore I must confess that when it comes to his meal-time habits, Dr. Hush Puppy has me wrapped around his little paws. Since he knows that I worry about him when he doesn’t eat, he can play me like a Stradivarius violin! And just like any compliant kitty servant, I allow it. This finicky feline reads me like an open book, and knows I will ultimately succumb to his demands.

In fact, depending on his pleasure, he now insists that I feed him around the house in different locations. These areas range from a private little “grotto” in the living room, to “breakfast in bed” on our sofa. He even finds the top of the cat tree to be an infinitely desirable dining spot since he can survey his surroundings for any potential hungry intruder.

Dr. Hush Puppy has me chasing him around the house to grant his every wish. Sometimes he will start eating in one location; only to finish in a totally different spot. What is even more time-consuming is his insistence that I keep him company while he dines. Folks, don’t get annoyed with me, but he is driving me nuts. I am beginning to have fantasies of donning a black dress with a little white lacey apron to stylishly serve up his meals on Spode china, offered up on a sterling silver tray.

Because it is crucial for felines to not miss too many meals since this can put cats at risk of developing a serious liver condition called hepatic lipidosis, I have naturally acquiesced to his whims. But some folks think I am nuts and only reinforcing his skillful manipulations and spoiling him to death. They suggest instead that I simply wait until he is sufficiently hungry which would motivate him to eat where and when I feed him.

But that’s impossible since Dr. Hush Puppy reads me so well. He would know in a heart-beat that I am not into changing him, or endangering his health.

I am of the opinion that no cat on the planet exists that cannot read our intentions and energies. After all, for ages, in reality they have been our masters. What do you think? Tell us in a comment.

Jo

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My Finicky Feline — 88 Comments

  1. Thanks Jo. Your article is timely because Charlie is becoming finicky over his food. And demanding….

    It seems that sometimes I can’t please him.

    Do you think that we are the architects of our finicky cats? We know that cats subtly train us. They are very good at it and very persistent.

    The problem starts because we, who love cats, want to please our cats.

    All that said, is it fair to say that some cats are more finicky than others? I think they are. Also some cat breeds are more picky than others.

    Oriental Shorthairs are basically Siamese cats. They are recognised as one of the smartest cat breeds. I sense too that the Oriental SH can be more finicky than other cats. I don’t know for sure but being smart probably leads a cat to being more demanding and that can include food.

    I almost forgot to mention that Charlie has some Siamese in him.

  2. I can totally understand and see this situation happening easily enough. I know my Gigi is picky about things and I would surely go out my way to make sure she is eating and drinking properly. Getting her to eat wet food is hard – it has to be when I get home frm work before she can have any dry food. I would prefer she only eat wet food because its much healthier but it’s proving difficult. I also worry sometimes she is depressed – this kind of things puts me a position where I worry a bit and would pretty much do anything she asked me for. Sometimes in the night she wakes me up because she wants a cupboard door opened or something that’s usually closed – so I get up and open it for her. I generally just want her to be happy.

    • I think you have set the scene for how concerned cat caretakers react to a cat’s demands. I am the same. I tend to respond to everything Charlie demands.

      Occasionally, though, I don’t respond. I have found that it has no negative impact on the relationship. I don’t think we should respond to everything, particularly to do with food.

      I think when we respond to every demand we do it for ourselves. Totally understandable.

      Does Gigi prefer dry cat or was she “trained” or conditioned to like it before you adopted her? I forget how you adopted her.

      • I picked her and Molly up from the lady up the road who has kittens year in and year out. They were brought up on mostly dry after mother’s milk but a bit of wet and then they came straight to mine and had mostly wet food.

        But as time has gone by Gigi just doesn’t eat until she gets her small ration of dry food. Infact I kind of have to not allow her dry food at any time of day except once – so she becomes hungry when I am at work and is forced to eat the wet food. She is eating a bit of wet food in front of me – I am hoping more while I am away at work. She just loves the biscuits and would eat only them if she had her way.

        I am going away for a whole 10 days next sunday and I will leave instructions for my friend who will be staying over about when and how much biscuits Gigi can have. She is a little on the big side so it’s always a concern. She is not naturally motivated to be healthy like the other 2. But this comes back to my thinking she is depressed. Eventually I’ll have to think about giving her something at least until I move to the countryside in the years to come, for her mood. But it’s a worst case scenario cat prozac etc. I need to find a way to snap her out of it.

        • As you know, dry cat food can leave a cat a bit dehydrated. I used to give my lady cat microwaved frozen fish with added water to compensate.

          Perhaps Gigi just likes the texture of dry food rather than being conditioned to like it.

          Do you mix wet and dry? That combo might tick a box. Not sure though.

          She might be depressed. It is hard to tell, though. She may just be passive and like dry cat food, the combination making her a little overweight. The problem is figuring out the cause of depression if she has it – and if there is a distinct cause.

          • I’ll have to get a video of her ‘being depressed’ – I think she is a bit depressed and has become lazy and unmotivated due to her depression. She used to be the life of the party as a kitten and ever since she has become more and more distant. I could also be projecting but she often looks depressed. It’s not to say she never has fun, she seems to play a bit in the evening with the other 2 and with me, but she is very half hearted at playing which makes me sad. We have a bit of fun together for an hour or two in the evening when I am there and even if I am reading she will play with the other two a bit.

            But it’s all a bit minimal. She is just unmotivated. That’s the underlying issue I can see and have with it. If she does things she is very half arsed about it. Also she doesn’t talk so much as she used to.

            Ok maybe she is just a big lazy cat who never wants to be touched or cuddled and who rarely wants to play and maybe that’s totally fine. I can live with it but I am still concerned. She doesn’t like to be touched. Only at certain moments she leans is for a chin scratch. It’s almost like she just can’t be bothered with life – that’s how it looks on the outside, and quite often.

            Believe it or not I am thinking to have somebody else there for 10 days with me gone will wake her up a bit. I think it’ll be a change for all of them and for the longest time ever – I haven’t left more than 6 days so this 10 days I am leaving is really the longest. But they will have something different and maybe they will be happy to see me again when I get back – I know I will literally be running down the road to get home to see them again after all that time!

            The Gigi thing is worrying.

            • I trust your judgment on “cat moods and feelings”. You are are very aware and alert to these things.

              It is hard to know what is behind her low mood. Maybe nothing. Just like a person. A person does not need a reason to be a bit depressed. Gorgeous face.

              • I’m thinking it’s in the middle. Partly I am over reacting and projecting and partly she is depressed and frustrated – and she does have bad habits, that I can see. She seems very clever to me, almost to the point of it meaning she is bored by things which entertain the other two. When I use the laser toy they go mad for it but pretty soon Gigi just sits down and looks up at my arm holding it.

                Perhaps she is annoyed with me about be locked in? She lets Lilly cuddle with her and lick her and generally be close but I’m not allowed to touch her. Also she used to sleep with Lilly alot but now she has become more of a loner and Molly is cuddling with Lilly instead. I’m worried that she is unhappy and bored – I don’t want her to suffer.

                The good news which I haven’t begun to mention is that Molly has learn’t to trust 100% and she has become very cuddly now and curious and she’s constantly running around and having fun – no longer skiddish and a loner – it makes my heart sing it really does – I’m so proud of her coming such a long way. She’s flourished into such a great cat, so much like her brother Red it’s uncanny (could it be genetically possible they behave the same?), same mannerisms and character.

                GIgi used to cuddle alot though:

                • First: that is a cat tree forest! It’s a wow again. Amazing. Second: intelligence is an issue. The smarter the cat the more they need a challenge and stimulation. Even after 10,000 years of domestication we don’t understand cat psychology or mentality sufficiently to address these issues with some certainty. She may like being solitary. That is the default mentality. Look, if you can’t fix it then it is a tricky problem. Don’t take this the wrong way..is it because you work and are away a lot? Could that be a factor? Does she pick up when you are at home for several days? You probably can’t tell because it won’t be clear.

            • I love the pictures, Marc and especially the one of the cat forest. I wish I had something indoors as nice for Monty for when the weather gets cold. Your cats are very lucky!

              I think Monty gets depressed sometimes too. He really likes variety and adventure. If I’m cleaning, really digging into the corners, organizing things, he gets very stimulated and starts sniffing around in places he never noticed before. He gets bored easily, I think. He just had a go at the Christmas tree, got his claw stuck in the tree skirt, sending the little figurines in the Christmas village under the tree flying every which way. He had been reaching up to attack a low branch. I broke that branch off to remove the temptation and extricated his claw from the tree skirt. No harm done. I was playing some Christmas music– a CD, but it had me singing on it– and it’s almost like the music stimulated him and he attacked the tree.

              • Monty sounds like Lilly – and they are both black cats too. I may be wrong but it sounds like Monty gets more frustrated than bored and depressed per se. I mean Lilly never gets unmotivated like Gigi. She gets frustrated and gets into things like Monty and your tree. She is always curious though. She is naturally very motivated most of the time.

              • I think Gigi could well be depressed, Ruth. There was no way to reply to your latest comment, so I’ll do it here.
                I think your mom was right, and I think it applies to all very bright entities. And, yes, I think black and black/white cats have a real edge on most. They seem to need more stimulation and challenges.
                I think your idea of an outing for Gigi is fantastic.

            • To me, it makes no difference it a cat is fully black or black/white, these guys/gals seem more intuitive and intelligent to me than most cats. They get bored easily and can be sullen.
              This is why Damon gets away with his many antics, some that I wouldn’t allow others to get away with. It’s because he would vegetate if I wouldn’t let him have his hoarding piles, walk all over the answering machine, shred the bath tissue, play magic carpet ride with the throw rugs, play slip and slide on the freshly mopped floor…
              He’s allowed to do these things, because his mind is too sharp for any traditional cat toys.
              He’s also a watcher and can anticipate my moves. He’s most animated when I engage him in a search. “OK, Damon, let’s find mommy’s sunglasses”.

              • Damon sounds a lot like Monty. He would enjoy helping me search for something too. Do you really think black cats are more intelligent?

                Maybe Marc’s cat is depressed. My mom once said that she thinks very intelligent people are more likely to be depressed because they are able to look at the world and see it for how it truly is and ask questions for which their are no answers. Could this apply to a cat? Can a cat really be too smart for games the other cats enjoy? (“That’s not a real mouse, so I’m not wasting my time chasing it. I know I can never catch that point of light and I can see it in your hand, jerk. Now feed me some dry biscuits!”) Is that what she’s thinking? Does she long for life in a forest where she could explore and really hunt?

                Is there somewhere you could take her, Marc, on leash and harness– an outdoor area safe for cats, like a park posted No Dogs, but the sign says nothing about cats? We have a park like that near us and there is even a duck pond. Someday I may take Monty to watch the ducks, but he has his back yard, so there’s no urgency to give him other experiences. But maybe Gigi needs that.

    • I have a cat, Lucky, that appeared here one day and she would only eat dry food no matter what flavor of wet that I offered.
      So, I began dribbling small amounts of chicken broth on her dry, increasing it over time. Once there was so much that the dry turned to mush, she made the conversion to wet food.

      • Thats a good system I think – if things continue as they are which is on the edge for now – then I’ll have to do something like that and they will all have to miss out on dry biscuits for a while.

        The one thing I don’t want to do is only allow Molly and Lilly bicuits whilst not allowing Gigi any because that’s unfair for Gigi.

            • OK. Am learning so may great terms and phrases from here and adopting that, soon, Americans won’t have a clue about what I am talking about. They only think that they speak English…

  3. Monty is not finicky at all, the little glutton, but he exhibits the other behavior mentioned in the article. He will listen intently to conversations, so much so that it seems like he could at any moment become part of it by opening his mouth to speak.

    Last year my friend Melanie was a victim of identity theft. She was being hounded by a restaurant supply company to pay for a stove purchased by a restaurant in West Bend. She tried to resolve it by going to the restaurant, but the place was out of business. Police in both her city and in West Bend refused to help because the company seeking payment was based in Florida. She laid this all out to my sister and I in my living room, at a loss as to what her next move should be. Monty was listening so intently and seemed to be deeply considering her problem, so much so that I directly asked him, “What do you think she should do, Monty?” He looked startled and seemed to be saying, “Don’t ask me! I’m just a cat!” But the way he seemed to be considering our every word made me almost feel that he, like us, would offer up some ideas.

      • My friend saw that the restaurant was for sale and called the realty company listed on the sign. The realtor gave her the name and address of the owner, and she gave that info to the restaurant supply company. They decided it was more in their interest to hound the people who actually owed them the money rather than the random innocent person they tried to throw under the bus. Like they really thought that was going to work! Luckily, she never was bothered again. It just was funny how Monty seemed so into our conversation, as if he was actually considering her problem.

        The other day my husband went to work dressed as Santa Claus and after dying his beard white he said to Monty, “We could easily turn you into a skunk. We’ll just paint a white stripe with this right down your back and you’ll look just like a skunk!” Monty listened intently to my husband and then turned to me as if asking, “Do you think I should do that?” I told him, “No, Monty, that would not be a good look for you.”

        • ha! – yes I can picture that. I’m actually sure Monty did want to see what your reaction to your husband’s skunk idea would be so he looked at you to see. And I’m sure he even understood that you were not so into the idea 🙂

    • This throws up a big question. How much of a conversation between people do cats understand? They don’t understand the words, of course but they will understand sounds and body language and Monty is possible looking for a signal which means….food is on the way. He waits patiently and observes intently until the signal is given 😉 Maybe that is it. I don’t know. Just guessing.

      • With Monty it probably really is about food. He is fluent in “food” and knows every single word for food and will respond to all of them with great interest. As much as it’s cute seeing him seem to take interest in conversations about paying bills, he’s really not understanding any of that. He is waiting for a food word.

      • Michael- cats can build quite a vocabulary of spoken words- and respond to them only when they deem to do so. After all- they do know their names and will come when called IF they think it is in their interest to do so! LOL. Since our kitties have had so many medical issues, they definitely understand the word “vet”- and cringe.. I think…Hush Puppy definitely understands the word “beef”- his favorite meat-which we feed him raw as a special offering- They have learned thus far that they do well to comply with the word “down”- we follow Jackson Galaxy’s suggestion- “always have a ‘yes’ situation following a ‘no” so they no longer haunt us ON the dining room table while we are eating. Our kitties do understand quite a significant number of words- sometimes it gets scary. hee hee.

        • I agree Jo, they understand English words. I believe the understanding comes from the sound of the word and what follows. Perhaps that is how all words are understood.

        • I sometimes do wonder how many non-food words Monty really has acquired. The other day my sister and I were talking about how the door to her apartment doesn’t actually latch. You can just push on it and it will open, but it’s a heavy door. Her cat Kobe can open it from in the hallway. He knows to push hard. Monty doesn’t know he can open it. So when he’s free roaming the basement and the stairs up to my sister’s apartment, pining for entrance to that mysterious forbidden world inhabited by another cat– he actually could get in there any time he wanted. It made me nervous to talk about that fact in front of Monty. Did he understand? I guess not, because he still sits outside Jen’s door.

          If it were anyone but her living there we’d have to fix that door, but we never lock inner doors to our apartments. If she wants to come in and borrow some kitty food or whatever, that’s fine. Monty did understand her tell me that she borrowed a can of food and would replace it with one of those appetizers Monty likes. His ears pricked up at the word “appetizer.”

  4. I am employed currently by two kitties, one of whom seemingly could care less about food as long as she has her kibble – she is not overly fond of wet food, don’t ask me…..it seems odd but there you are. Her sister however cares a GREAT DEAL about food…..mostly having to do with timing and her INSISTENCE that she MUST receive SOME canned food or she will surely wither away. Stella is also the reason that I now have to ‘meal feed’ both of them. For many years I was able to free feed dry food. Not any more! Stella eats, if you’ll pardon the expression, like a d-o-g! She packed on the pounds after her arrival here. She also goes a little bit crazy and cries and makes a huge fuss if there is NO wet food offered. So, presently they each get 1/4 of a small can in the morning…which means that as soon as Shadow takes a break from nibbling at hers Stella will elbow her out of the way and polish off the second bowl. Then in the afternoon I put down two bowls of dry food (1/2 cup in each) Stella has calmed down over the several years she has been here and as long as the food is put down she seems much calmer. She used to wake me up at 5AM, then 6 AM etc until she was fed. Now she will let me sleep reasonably late (8AM). I do not want to think about what the people who eventually abandoned her at the vet did, but it it must have involved erratic feeding. Thanks for a terrific article Jo!

    • Great story. Interesting. Do you think that if a cat is crazy about food it may be because as a newborn she struggled to get to her mother’s breast? I don’t know. Is that too simplistic? It could be true nonetheless. If so it will be a lifelong “problem” but she will calm down as she gets older.

    • Hey Sharon – I can’t leave out dry food all the time either because my Gigi will probably eat way too much of it. I have to be careful – but just this morning I saw her eat a bowl of wet food which is great because its so important they have plenty of wet food in their diet. It’s just the dry food that makes mine get overweight.

      • People with depression crave carbs. Maybe Gigi is depressed. I posted something above in response to one of Dee’s comments, so then I wasn’t sure you’d see it Marc. I’m just thinking getting Gigi out in leash and harness somewhere might help.

        • I quite like that idea, Ruth. I think stimulating and distracting the mind will help and getting out should do that. The hard bit is doing it. She might be fearful etc and harnesses are hard to put on cats and keep them there! 😉 Good idea though.

  5. I think that some cats tend to overeat when they are bored- purrhaps in a way that’s similar to some humans who snack away- Sharon- that’s quite an interesting story there. Glad that your feline alarm clock is quieting down some to let you have more zzzzzzing time.

  6. Pirate is fussy about what he eats too…but at over 19, he’s allowed to be. He refuses to eat the food that is best for his kidneys, so the vet and I decided to feed him whatever / whenever he wants. He’s particularly fond of any treat that is cheese flavored and his current favorite dry food is Fancy Feast Filet Mignon (mixed with something else…I forget.)

    If he has an upset tummy in the morning, I sometimes have to get the appetite revved back up again with some wet Fancy Feast, and when he decides he’s hungry, he goes and lies in the door way of the hall bath (that I can see from my recliner). Some days he eats 4 times, other days it seems he goes in 12 times to eat.

    But, whatever he wants is what he gets. At 19, shiney eyes & coat, full set of teeth…hearing is fine (not to mention if I lock him inthe bathroom for too long, he’ll go in the tub to do #1 — A lot better than on the floor…Hey what more can I ask for? He’ll always be on his heart meds for his murmur, but just got a “wow, he sounds great” from the vet a couple weeks ago! <3

    • Great!
      I’ve had cats live as long as 23 y/o, so I agree completely with you. There comes a time when they can have anything they want!

  7. This is an article I’m sure we can all relate to lol I loved reading it Jo. Dr Hush Puppy has you right where he wants you!
    Walter is a terror to feed at times and like you we would never let him go hungry, he loves his food but it has to be put right under his nose before he will eat. He will sit just feet away until we move it to him. Jozef is far easier, he usually eats what he’s given, but if he fancies their cooked chicken instead he will sit in the kitchen, eyes pinned on the fridge until we cotton on.
    I don’t know anyone with cats who doesn’t spend a large amount of money on trying to please them lol

  8. Wonderful article *and photo<3*, Jo — and yes, we will go to any lengths to appease our feline overlords, won't we? 😉 There are times where one or another of our felines will insist on "breakfast in bed" or dinner in the dining room rather than in the breakfast room, their usual regular place to eat; with six, I can't be offering more than one entree at a time, but we usually do pretty well.

    Love this site and *WOW* what amazing pix posters have shared!

  9. Oh, Jo, Hush Puppy really has you wrapped around his dewclaw! I think maybe most cats KNOW what we mean. They just don’t always care. Cisco and Pancho and I have pretty good communication most of the time and we all listen to each other. Pancho particularly understands the words “Fancy Feast.”

    • In our house we call Fancy Feast “Crack”. When Dr. Hush Puppy recently went through some major dental surgery and refused to eat- a feline veterinarian friend told me to feed him anything he would like. So out came the Fancy Feast- and it was love at first bite. There is something in that food that gets them addicted, I swear. So I am slowly mixing in a grainless food along with the “crack” and it seems to be working. But we can always go back to it if Dr. Hush Puppy goes on strike for no legitimate reason. Sir Hubble will eat just about anything- he is an extremely easy keeper.

  10. Thankfully, I do not have picky cats. But this was a very interesting article and I love reading about the antics of Hubble and Puppy. 🙂

  11. Siamese cats have ruled my life for the past 30+ years and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Finicky cats are the result of their human’s behavior. Cats read us as if they had crystal ball. Btw, my meezer Merlin approves of Dr. Hush Puppy’s training methods. Merlin dispenses his wit and wisdom every Monday.

    • LOL. Yes, sigh…I know a bit about being trained by a cat. Mine has Siamese blood in him and wisdom, patience, persistence and so on….. I have learnt from him too.

    • Layla I’ve read plenty of Cat Wisdom 101 🙂

      I agree it is often the human’s behaviour that is a big part in a cat being finicky. It’s hard to know when to try and please a cat and when not to. I like to bring my cats things I know they like and I like to bring them new things to try every few days – usually something I am eating and I give them a tiny bit to try. I can see that this level of choice can make them ‘choosy’ or in other words, it can lead to you cat waiting for you to put down something he/she is in the mood for even after you put a couple things in the food bowls already. Just knowing that you will produce more options probably encourages them to wait and see what else appears if they turn their nose up to the first few options.

  12. Ever since one of my cats was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma, I’ve fed them only grain-free. I currently have two rescues: Sophia who is 9 and I adopted last year, and Mr. Hobbes, who is 6 and I recently adopted. I give them mostly wet food with some dry for nibbling. One thing a vet told me to do years ago when I had a cat with kidney disease was to add water to their wet food, which I’ve done ever since.

    • Yes, I am pleased you said that, Pam. Adding water to cat food – I used to add water to microwaved fish – is good because cats are not very good drinkers. I prevented a recurrence of cystitis in my late lady cat by giving her fish with added water. It helped to flush the urinary tract to stop the build up of bacteria. Happy Christmas.

      • I have had wunderbaar gut success with water fountains. All our cats just love them and they have been drinking phenomenal amounts of water since we implemented them ten years ago when we had our first experience with renal disease.

            • Well, back in December 2003, our little Cinders was shockingly diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). She was 5 years old and went to the vet for a routine dental cleaning. Pre-op bloods were normal. A week after the procedure, she began to be RAVENOUS for water. She would climb in the sink or bathtub just to drink. Back to the vet and more bloodwork revealed that her kidneys had acutely shut down. She was hospitalized and they seemed to recover (according to repeat labs) so she came home. The ultrasound showed that her kidneys were covered in cysts and John and I were told that if we got six months with her it would be amazing. We changed her food to Royal Canin Renal LP and purchased two water fountains so that we could stop leaving faucets running. She did amazingly well for a VERY long time. We were eventually able to stop doing subcutaneous fluid therapy at home because she stayed well hydrated due to the fountains. She got her angel wings at Rainbow Bridge June 20, 2008…..4 1/2 YEARS after diagnosis.

              • You did an amazing job to have had her that long.
                Thank you for sharing this.
                If you are like me, your eyes still fill with tears.
                Merry Christmas.

              • 4 1/2 YEARS after diagnosis.

                WOW, is all I can write. Amazing job. My lady cat had a very similar illness and I could not achieve what you achieved. Mind you she may have been older. She was about 20 when she was euthanized for kidney failure. It is still vivid in my memory.

              • Thank you Dee and Michael. I can’t take the credit. Cinders had a tenacious will to live. And I believe the good Lord had His hand in her recovery. I did not have to make a decision with her. She just simply died one night on our bed. There was no warning and no waning health. The vet felt she had a clot due to high blood pressure from the renal disease. And yes, I do still tear up when I think of her. But I also remember her with smiles and laughter. She was our “parrot”. She would ride around the house on John’s shoulders. And she was quite gabby. I still miss our conversations.

          • No, Sophia and Hobbes belong to someone else on this thread. These are CJ Sobol (orange) and Tallulah. Sobol is a very outgoing, loving, male. Tallulah is….well….Tallulah. She is roach backed, short legged, cross-eyed,, afraid of life, and has herpes. She is a little sweetie, though. In fact, she is sitting on my lap as I type this. My husband and I have a passion for rescuing seniors and “special” kitties.

        • Reno I have had the exact same immediate success. As soon as I put a fountain in the kitchen they all drink from it just about every time they walk past it. They seem to love it and they all drink alot of water because of it. Before when I had just a few bowls dotted around they never really drank any water.

          Fountains are great. Also in summer when it’s really hot a nice thing to do for them is put a few ice cubes in the fountain and because the water is moving it very quickly melts and cools the water – which for the cats in summer must be quite nice.

            • No – it plugs into the wall – it’s a mini waterfall but the water runs down a slope without splashing – its very quiet and smooth running. It has a filter usually as well which you can change occasionally if you want. Mine has a charcoal filter and is totally silent.

              I use the term ‘biscuits’ but it’s not necessarily a UK expression for dry cat food – or at least not that I know of. I just adopted the word bicuits because when I am talking to my cats it’s a good word. I used to ask them if they wanted ‘drydry’ or ‘wetwet’ but now it’s ‘bicuits’ or ‘wetwet’ 🙂

          • I will definately have to do the ice cubes in the summer. I never thought of that. And mine do the same thing…drink every time they pass. I rinse and refill them daily and on Saturday mornings they get run through the dishwasher. Well, on Saturday mornings, all 7 cats go “chirping” through the house for the two hours that they are fountainless. As soon as the dishwaher is done and the fountains are back together in their spots, lines form for a refreshing drink. 🙂

            • ha ha, they love the fountains don’t they – I don’t have a dishwasher and there’s alot of calcium in the water here so I do have to give it a good scrub every once in a while. I’ve never had to worry about them drinking enough since I got the fountain. Cats really love water in my experience. I used to leave them a dripping tap. Lilly always loved to drink from the tap. 🙂

  13. So many great comments by so many people. I love it.
    I’m not sure that I have ever had a cat that wasn’t persnickety in some way.
    Some don’t like fish, some don’t like poultry, some don’t like their heads petted, some don’t like belly rubs….on and on…
    And, it is incumbant on me to keep this all in my brain in order to please and make sure all is well.
    I’m not in charge here and don’t know if I ever was!

    • Dee- you had me in tears laughing- and bowing graciously at your supreme feline wisdom. As the saying goes, “Dogs have masters, cats have “staff”.
      To make your life easier, purrhaps you could jot down all these preferences or lack of on some post-its liberally strewn around your home. Just a suggestion from the “bosses” around these here parts.

    • Dee, you make a good point. Cats have their individual likes and dislikes. Some cat caretakers, not as as good as you, don’t get that. If you are looking after lots of cats it can become tricky as you state.

  14. Jo — you wrote a great essay last week. What goodhearted guys. Your contribution today was equally interesting, and also unique in that it laid bare the truth.

    Under this roof, half of the daily smorgasbord is offered to two panhandler cats, Bertil and Sidney Vicious, and the other one-third ends up in the freezer, crammed with close to forty-two 3-oz. cans every week of F. F., and ‘gourmet-boutique’ quail, rabbit, red-eye mackerel, tilapia, venison, duck, and wild salmon specialty items from a local pet food store. Little Ethel condescends to try the remaining dibs & dabs.

    Her approach is to take a dubious sniff and maybe – maybe – one taste, then move on to the next can and next can. What’s in the freezer is defrosted, loaded into plastic gallon jugs, driven out onto Jurassic Park back roads, and delivered once weekly to coyotes, ’coons, ’possums, mink, weasels, bobcats, cougars and crows lurking about in the ‘Wilds of Wanney’ (to use an English pen-friend’s description).

    These canned offerings are supplemented with a daily thimbleful of pellets of zero-carb kibbles (pricey as the canned offal) and, at bedtime, a quarter cup of fresh shrimp/scallops/or shelled butter clams, or Gerber’s ‘meat puddings’ or minced steak – filet mignon twice a month for a whoop-dee-doo treat. Little Ethel is butterball plump on the daily fare, disappointing though it is in failing to meet her lofty standards.

    Her diet is affordable, but just barely so, since her 22-year old housemate, Inspector McWee, passed away three months ago. The final ten months and five days of his life cost $4,000 in vet bills, what with his daily sub-Q hydrations and lab tests. The house would have been sold for additional funds if the vets could have saved his life. Which they could not. He was an apple-faced Siamese boy who will live on in memory. Forever? No. Nothing’s forever. But until he’s faded like a pressed flower. So far, though, he hasn’t progressed in his fadeout. He’s in every salt drop.

    Your beautiful Dr. Hushpuppy has a fabulous home with you and your husband. If only everyone loved their cats as you do. Give him a pet from this land of the temperate Rain Forest.

    p.s.: If all fails with Dr. Hushpuppy, Friskie’s ‘Whitefish’ is peculiarly scrumptious to a cat – go explain – though it’s sometimes hard to find. And most medium-priced commercial cat foods have discontinued their beef flavors. Canned chicken wattles, fish heads and innards are cheaper than beef.

    • Miss Sylvia Ann, I’m sorry about your Inspector McWee. My Muckaluck is now twenty. Oddly enough, I have never bothered with the Friskies Whitefish. I always turned up my nose at the can’s label, figuring the contents to be foul and unpalatable. Ha! Am heading straight out to the neighborhood market after commenting.
      Tall cans of pink salmon and poached chicken thighmeat are the wet part of Shrimpster’s and Luck’s diet. I get a mere taste just before serving them, making sure that it will be to their liking. But that’s fine by me, cuz I get my fill from watching them scarf it down. (Then I drop down on all fours and lick their bowls. kidding.) Thank you for the head’s up on the whitefish.:) This post was truly a pleasurable read!

    • Sorry to hear about Inspector McWee. It’s very hard to lose a cat. I can’t imagine how it is after so many years. I’ve never had a cat that long.

    • HI Sylvia Ann..Nice to hear from you…Happy Christmas

      He was an apple-faced Siamese boy who will live on in memory. Forever? No.

      No, not forever. Just as long as you live.

  15. Thanks for the interest in Sophia and Mr. Hobbes. Here’s a photo of their very first meeting a couple of months ago. They now snuggle up to each other, clean each other and play together.

    • They are beautiful – thanks for sharing 🙂 – for a first encounter Sophia seems pretty relaxed lying down comfortably – a pretty peaceful moment it looks like for a first encounter which, between cats, could be a lot different. 🙂

  16. Many thanks for all your kind words. There’s nothing unusual in any of this, though. There’s no one on this site who hasn’t had overworked tear ducts once in a while.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    Caroline – thank you for the suggestions! Wild-caught salmon supposedly has a lower concentration of mercury and PCBs than ‘people grade’ tuna, and the chicken also sounds very nice as a supplement to the canned cat food.

  17. I give my 7 cats dry cat food because I have one cat that has to be on urinary tract diet. I contacted the company way back when when I asked if it was alright to feed all my cats the special diet. They assured me it was fine and there should be no problems. I can honestly say I have had NO problems what so ever with any of my cats since they have been on it for 10 years. I also feel that dry is better because it helps keep their teeth clean. Animal dental problems are very expensive to treat. Thanks for the interesting article Jan.

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