They sure are cute…when they’re sleeping!

Since the arrival of my two new demons (a.k.a. the kittens, Harley and Dinah), mealtime for the kitties has become quite an ordeal. When I got them, I was told that they didn’t really eat a lot of canned food – maybe 1/4 of a can at a time between the two of them – and that wasn’t even every day. I followed that schedule, feeding them their dry kitten chow daily and only pulling out the canned stuff every once in awhile. Well…

It didn’t take these two long to figure out that my 17-year-old cat, Janie, gets canned food twice a day, in addition to her dry food. (Over the last couple of years she’s lost weight and we’re trying to fatten her up a little!) Soon, every time I would head for the kitchen, the kittens (had I known how precocious they would be, I would have named them Fred and George, despite them both being female) would fly by me down the hall way, skidding to a halt in the kitchen, so as not to miss a meal. I had to start giving them their own canned food, otherwise poor Janie couldn’t get anywhere near her own bowl.

It’s not that I mind feeding them the canned food, but as I mentioned above, the whole ritual has become quite an ordeal. Because of some bathroom issues, both kittens are currently on antibiotics, which I mix into their canned food. Here is the typical routine at mealtime in our house:

  1. Janie stands in the kitchen and meows at the top of her lungs to let me know that it is time to eat.
  2. I walk down the hallway towards the kitchen, and am nearly taken out by two furballs that fly past me, very close to breaking the sound barrier.
  3. I get to the kitchen to find 3 felines anxiously awaiting their breakfast/dinner. Janie meows loudly, Harley opens her mouth, but usually no sound comes out, and Dinah just looks at me as if to say, “Just give me the food already, lady, I’m not gonna beg you for it.”
  4. Trying desperately not to step on/trip over the 3 cats winding randomly around my ankles, I go to the refrigerator to get the cat food and the kitten’s medicine.
  5. I set the supplies down on the counter and pull one (if not both) of the kittens out of the refrigerator before shutting the door.
  6. Repeat step #5 if I need to go into the pantry for a new can of food for either the cat or the kittens, but substitute the word “pantry” for “refrigerator.”
  7. I get two dishes and place a small spoonful of kitten food on each.
  8. I scream in pain and remove Harley (and her claws) from my thigh after she decides to climb my leg. As it is summertime, I am typically wearing shorts when this happens.
  9. I measure the proper amount of antibiotic and mix it in to each dish of kitten food, pausing to repeat step #8 as necessary.
  10. Warily watching Harley and trying not to step on Dinah, I give the kittens their food, then spoon out Jane’s.
  11. I stop Harley from moving over to Dinah’s dish. Put her back in front of her own.
  12. I stop Dinah from moving over to Jane’s dish, which contains neither kitten food, nor her medicine.
  13. I try to coax Jane back to her dish, telling her that the big, bad kitten won’t hurt her.
  14. Repeat steps 12 and 13
  15. Repeat steps 12 and 13. While step 12 is going on, repeat step 11.
  16. Jane has given up on eating at this point and left the room. I place her bowl on the counter to remove temptation from Dinah.
  17. I stop Dinah from moving to Harley’s dish. Place her back in front of her own.
  18. Harley has finished her own food and now thinks she might like to help Dinah finish hers. To keep this from happening, I either:
    1. Hold her
    2. Distract her with a toy
    3. Put her in my bedroom and close the door
    4. Give her more food, this time with no medicine in it.
  19. Sitting on the floor, I notice how dirty it is, and think to myself, “Gee, I should mop the floor.”
  20. Dinah finally finishes eating, and we are done!

Tonight, though, Dinah decided to add a few new steps into the process. She seemed eager to eat, but when the food was placed in front of her, she wouldn’t touch it. She would come and smell it, then back up as if she smelled…well, whatever smell would be unappetizing to a cat. Considering they lick their own bottoms after using the litter box, I’m not exactly sure what that might be, but whatever it is, Dinah acted like she smelled it in that food. I figured she had gotten smart about the medicine, and I was going to have to get out the little syringe and shove it down her throat. Then, I got an idea…

I took Jane’s food (since she had already given up) and put it into Harley’s empty bowl. It then went onto the counter to take it out of the game. I next scooped Dinah’s food (and, incidentally, Dinah is sitting here on the desk right smack in front of the monitor very intently watching me type this) into Jane’s bowl. Thinking she was eating Jane’s food, Dinah then proceeded to wolf it down in about 90 seconds.

I guess, at least for now, I am still smarter than they are.

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