Friday, April 23, 2021

We Put The Cats On A Diet, A Tragedy In 3 Parts

John and I adopted our cats Suki and Eva when they were both small enough to fit in our palms, so in our minds they'll always be our little bitty squishsnoozles.


You pet parents know what I'm saying.


 In fact I still call Suki "Little One," at least when I'm not calling her Suki-Doos, Suke R Dupe, Suker-Poops, or DON'T EAT THAT YOU FLUFFY NINCOMPOOP. 

Now that both girls are about to turn 3, though, we've had a realization. Maybe it was when John grunted as he went to lift Suki for her twice-weekly tooth brushing. Maybe it was as we watched Eva's pot belly swing wildly side to side as she came running for treats. Maybe it was when I said, "Well hello, Little One," to Suki, and a friend who was visiting at the time looked alarmed and asked who I was talking to, as if there might be another, smaller cat underneath all this:



So yeah, at some point we realized our teeny lil' floofs have upgraded from itty-bitty...


... to Chonk.



"Are you taking a picture? You are, aren't you? DANG IT, MOM"


I will forever look for an excuse to repost this. :D

Hang on, I'm told Suki would like to interject something.


"How dare you."


 Noted, Sukes. Noted.

So with much reluctance, but also with the responsibility we feel toward our felines' future health, John and I decided to start restricting the 24-hour cat-food buffet.




"SAY WHAT."


Here's how it's gone so far.


Phase 1: Blissful Ignorance


At first the girls didn't notice the change. We served half their recommended daily amount twice a day, 12 hours apart, and for about two days they continued to graze every few hours without seeming to miss the heaping pile of food normally filling their bowl.

John and I started to wonder if we were still serving too much, while also breathing a collective sigh of relief that this was actually easy.

[foreboding chuckle is foreboding]


Phase 2: Pure, Unadulterated, Unmitigated OUTRAGE

At some point on day 3 Eva went to graze and discovered she could see a lot of the bowl under the remaining food. This was unacceptable, and was communicated as such in no uncertain terms.

She still had another 3 hours 'til their next food offering, though, so during that time we bore witness to the song of her people, in increasing volume.


She's taken to hanging out on top of the column in our bedroom. The better to stare at us reproachfully.

INCREASE REPROACHFUL STARE BY 200%


Phase 3: Confusion

At this point Eva has decided John and I are both idiots, and has doubled down on trying to explain what the problem is, how we're supposed to fix it, and just how saintly she is to put up with us in the first place. She leads us from the food container to her bowl and back again. She stares fixedly at the partially-empty bowl while performing what I can only assume is a one act play on the tragedy of an existence saddled with subpar human servants.

Mostly, though, she looks at us like this:



Talk about capturing both girls' personalities in a single photo. Ha! This is uncanny.

In fact I should note that the ONLY one with a problem here is Eva, who arguably should be eating the least at "only" 10 pounds, and who gets first go at the bowl every feeding time. Suki the badonkachonk with her 17 pounds, on the other hand, is happy as a clam to wait, and the very definition of chill. She wakes up from a nap, does a little food bowl drive-by, and if there's some nosh in there, great! Otherwise, back to napping she goes.


When you think it's her tail but realize that's her leg.

It's cute when your kids start imitating you, am I right?

We're still less than a week in with this whole cat diet thing, so I'll report back if and when Phase 4 turns out to be Plotting Our Untimely Demise. As I typed this sentence Eva crawled into my lap for a snuggle, though, so I think we're good.  ::looks at clock::  Or she knows it's only 10 minutes 'til her next feeding time. 
 
CLEVER GIRL.

*****

K, your turn, peeps with pets: what's the most ridiculous thing you've done (or do!) for the sake of your pets? What makes your non-pet friends roll their eyes the hardest? Do you brush your ferret's teeth, carry your cat in a baby sling, take your dog for walkies in their own custom stroller? I know this is my tribe, so c'mon, SPILL.

*****

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72 comments:

  1. Twice a day I build a little barrier in the door to my room and throw kibble over it for my cat to chase. I alternate near and far, so she always has to make the jump to get the kibble. This makes sure she gets some exercise, and she's turning into quite the little show-jumper!

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  2. Our princess get's a massage by my husband every morning at 7am and if he isn't at the appropriate space by then she meows at me like I can do something about it. Every night at 8pm she gets brushed and at about 7:45 she's sitting in her tree/perch staring at me, willing me to not forget and as soon as I stand up she runs to the brush, flops on the ground and shows me her butt so I can brush that first.

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    1. Oh...I made her an extra large crocheted cat couch too. People either roll their eyes at it or think it's adorable.

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  3. I'd just like to comment that I learned from an earlier set of cats, if you're going to do a twice-a-day feeding, make the two times "after work" and "before bed". Or at least, not first thing when you wake up. Because my two kept advancing wake-up time by 5 minutes every day.

    My issue right now is that one is overweight and needs a diet, but the other one is underweight and we don't want her to lose any more. And the chonk is always the first to the bowls.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Fix.... large upside down box with a hole/door cut in it that the chonk can't get in through. Feed skinny cat in box.

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    3. genius, but my little chaos machines would need a plastic bin because they destroy cardboard in seconds.

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    4. That was our problem too, our solution was some rather nice RFiD feeders. So chonk can eat all of her food, but can't touch the others, but she ofter stares at it longingly.

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    5. my friend has the rfid bowls and had implants added to the cats (like an find-me implant) and the skinny cat opens her bowl and walks away so the fat one gets first dibs.

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    6. We once put a cat door into the garage, where we kept the food for the smaller cat unit - the larger one couldn't fit through until he lost some weight. These days, we have to lock our chonk in the bathroom until the others are done eating so she won't bat cleanup for them.

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  4. We started feeding our cats only once daily in the evening, and now they don't bother us in the morning any more! It took around a week of extra things knocked off the dresser and extra nibbling on the house plants in revenge, but now they've settled down it works really well for us. They do know their feeding time to the minute though!

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  5. The dogs get home made chicken broth on their kibble in the mornings. It started when the eldest was having issues and I was trying to get her to eat. She's been gone for over a year now and I still do it for the other two. I'm their slave.

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  6. We have a little backpack for cats. Only one of our cats like it, but we'll take her for little walks sometimes and it's great. Also when we put our addition on, one of my stipulations was that the windows being put in had to have ledges wide enough for cats to sit on haha. My babies need their cat tv.

    We have four cats, and we have complicated food situations. Two are on (different) special diets, two are on normal diets, but they're all prone to helping each other to each other's food so that's fun. Also our two oldest do really well with grazing, they've not chonked up and are good weights according to the vet. The two youngest don't understand grazing, if they see food, they eat it. They might leave a little in the bowl for an hour or so, but it will NOT last all day. So now the two oldest's dishes are in the half bath off the kitchen, and the two youngest get fed at set intervals, once in the AM, wet food at dinner, once in pm. We let the two oldest into the half bath on and off all day, they'll eat their few nibbles and ask to be let out again (one via whining and clawing at the door, the other by sproinging the door stop).

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  7. My rescue mixed up lab chonky dog will eat anything food adjacent. Has it ever been near food? She eats it. Did it fall on the floor near where we usually prepare food? She eats it. Is it chocolatey smelling poop because she unzipped my daughter's backpack and tore into the box of 40 chocolate bars she was selling for choir? Gone. She once ate some sock Olafs the kids made for their classroom winter party that were filled with rice. The leather off a baseball. Silica gel packs. I have the animal poison control hotline number posted in my kitchen. I called them on Christmas this past year. My most common google search begins with "Can dogs eat..." I once had to pull a whole paper towel out of her butt. It had once held food, so she ate it. She's a loveable, chonky, bedhog.

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  8. Originally, we fed our 2 cats twice a day. Then my husband started working from home; since he was then available for lunch, we started feeding them 3 times a day. Now that we're both home all the time, we pretty much feed our cats whenever they ask for it. They mainly eat wet food, so no automatic feeder. I try to remember to weigh them at least once a month. So far, neither has gained weight. However, if we ever go on vacation again and they just have someone come over to feed them twice a day, they're going to be very sad cats!

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  9. Fun fact: there is a study that shows that cats actually get "hangry" when their food is restricted, so, Eva's wrath is not so unusual. Stick with the diet if you can, though, and don't get discouraged. Cats lose weight really slowly.

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  10. Well, you heard my fun this week. "That's not food!" And "What have you eaten this time?!?" Are frequent comments in my house. Rotten Stormageddon. She's a week out of surgery. Maybe she will have learned more prudence in what she puts in her mouth. I'm not holding my breath.

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  11. So Zuki's V.E.T. put her on Prednisone. The side effect they warned me about is increased thirst and urination. They didn't warn me (I had to look it up after noticing) was a very much increased hungries! My poor pupper was gobbling down her foods...and then of course pooping it all out and gaining weight. So instead of free feeding Zuki (did I mention that she is only 5 months old?) I have now had to ration out her food and limit her treats. We are also going on 3 walks per day (I need the walks also). Zuki hasn't complained much about her empty bowl...she is mostly complaining about her treat shortage and will walk over to where they are kept and either give me the eye or attempt to help herself. sigh! Luckily she only has to take this until May 5th...YES I am counting the days. I hope that her apatite returns to normal soon-ish as she has become a bit of a chonk. Poor baby.

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    1. Watch out on those walkies... the prednisone is what weakened my dog's ligaments so she blew both CCLs and is now kind of not the best walker you ever met.

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    2. Oh my gosh, how awful Lizard! Renee Nefe, Prednisone makes me both voracious and angry, so I am a real treat when I have to go on it. Can't imagine being a pet with the same problems.

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  12. well..... our sweet 11 y/o dog was VERY suddenly taken ill and ended out to have an extremely rare pulmonary torsion (one lobe of one lung just flipped itself over). So we had surgery done for that, thinking it was a shitton of money but she'd just WHOOSH get better. Then she got *some* better but kept developing pulmonary effusion (fluid in her chest around the outside of her lung(s) so we had to do a second (so much money) surgery for that and then some of the medication weakened her ligaments so she ended out rupturing not one but BOTH rear CCLs (about 6 weeks apart) so she can now, about a month after the second, walk a few blocks but not very far *and* she now refuses to eat dry dog food because while she was in the hospital the first time she wasn't eating so we started cooking for her and so now we have the most expensive dog int he world so she had best like another million years.

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  13. live another million years.

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  14. Every night my cat demands to settle into my lap and give herself a bath. She bathes other places, but our nightly bath time is her (and let's be honest, my) favorite time of day.

    Also, other than her being barely 8 pounds, she and Suki could be twins

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  15. We adopted our little Molly, well, actually she chose me when I went to the Humane Society. I picked her up, and she didn't let go - all 2 pounds of her! She had quite the personality, and always knew what she wanted. Every night, anywhere between 10pm and 3am, she would wake us up by throwing herself at our bedroom door. She wanted to go outside! Every morning, my husband would let her in, and she would race for the bedroom, leap up on the bed, and wait for me to pick her up. I'd throw her over my shoulder and carry her out to the kitchen for breakfast. Every single morning for 13 years. She developed kidney disease last summer. Oh, I still miss her so much.

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  16. I also have a really, big cat. The vet said to only cut the amount of food by 10% to begin with as any more than that at a time could lead to medical problems. After a while you can cut it by another 10% until they are getting the amount of food needed to be healthy. My girl is down to 2 tablespoons of dry food and one forth of the tiny wet food cans twice a day. Result? She's still quite chunky. But at least she doesn't complain in between meals.

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  17. I think this started when my cat would chase the occasional cockroach, but for years I would buy her crickets and toss them into the bathtub for her to chase. She would hop in, bat at them, then catch & eat them (although she didn't like the longest of the legs, don't blame her). This was a very regular thing for awhile but once she learned that the tub was where Kitty Cricket Gladiator happened, she would hop in and yell at us to demand crickets. Cute unless you were trying to shower, or poop in peace :)

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  18. Our great big Doggie-woof-hound has a shockingly delicate tummy for such a tank, so for a long long time we had to feed him "puppy dog sundeas." Dry food on the bottom to fill him up. A generous scoop of yogurt to destinkify his butt, a sprinkling of flax seed for his itchy skin, and somewhere along the way he came to expect a dollop of peanut butter on top. ��

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  19. Not me, but my ex boyfriend. He's the guy who notices a cat wandering around the street, traps it, takes it in to be sterilized and vaccinated, then takes it back. All the neighborhood cats know he'll feed them. In fact, he bought the duplex he's living in, and after having a terrible renter in the side he doesn't live in, he turned it into a cat house. Literally. He had like 20 cats living there, coming and going through a pet door in the back.

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  20. My little house panther has a puzzle feeder. She gets the full daily amount of kibble in the morning ( two different kinds ) split into the five different cups. At supper she gets a bit of canned food ( alternating between pate and gravy every other night ). I've had to stop topping off the kibble dishes if she finishes them before bedtime, because... my bad. She gets a few treats at three different times throughout the day ( breakfast, when I come home, and when I close the curtain on her window at night). The on;y time I ever had trouble was the breakfast one... because she'd wake me up demanding them until we set a proper routine- she doesn't get those first treats until I have a cup of coffee in my hand. SERIOUSLY. I get up and make the mistake of stepping in to the living room first thing and she flies across the room and leaps up into her spot, then loudly demands her treats when I don;t immediately open her curtain and give them to her... and I say "Excuse me? Do you SEE a cup of coffee in my hand?" ... and she looks at me then quietly jumps back down and goes to investigate her kibble dish to see if there's any left from the previous day. As soon as she sees the mug in my hand, she's right back at her window again. She's beyond picky about her soft food and has been threatened many times that if she doesn't eat the kind I gave her I'm going to pack up all the cans and give them to her cousins... I had the cans of a kind she hated stacked in the hall way once and when she saw that... and then saw me put them into a plastic bag and take them away... she polished off that bowl three nights in a row without a moments hesitation. Her cousins are now on all strict diets and can't eat her food anymore, but I know other cats and she KNOWS this.
    I also am NOT a fan of spiders... but my cat IS and her favourite toys in the world are plastic spiders. We have ONE rule - no spiders on the bed. She has followed this rule to the letter. The spider has been on the couch where I also sleep on occasion, but at the time, it was not an actual 'bed' ( it is now a day bed and the spider has not reappeared on top of it), however she has on occasional thrown it at my feet... and at my head. The other day my mom was coming up the stairs and I yelled out ' SPIDER ON THE STAIRS' so she wouldn't come around the corner and freak out at the sight of the tarantula sized plastic spider on the landing where the cat had thrown it but was sulking because I wouldn't go toss it back up for her to chase again. This little beast has ME playing with fake spiders... I have actually gone out and SEARCHED stores to find and buy a plastic spider as close to her favourite one that she'd lost as possible. Only for the love the furballs do we do these things... lol

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  21. My dearly departed floof was ... to put it lightly ... a moron. I had him for 17 years, and I made a LOT of adjustments to keep him happy and prevent his untimely death. I put the garbage can up on the table or counter, where he couldn't get it, because this absolute unit just HAD to try and eat the plastic bin liner. I moved books off the bottom shelves because, yes, he would chew on them.

    (And it wasn't a problem of stimulation. He had piles of toys and lots of one-on-one time. He just couldn't stop trying to eat things.)

    The hardest thing for his own good, though, was definitely the insulin. For the last four years of his life, I had to give him daily injections. He was NOT a fan. Many's the time he registered his objection with a chomp to the hand, and I took to calling him unprintable things upon such occasions.

    But I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. He was practically family. Very, very, very dumb family.

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    1. My cat needed insulin, she was very un-interested in the process and never objected. She's been gone a while now and I still miss her.

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  22. We don't have a couch or living room chairs anymore, not really. The furniture is there, and sometimes we even get to use it, but 99% of the time, every available cushion or pillow is arranged into some kind of blanket fort for le princess puffy paws herself, Her Majesty Queen Evie Clawsmore. We're talking full on propped up pillows, draped blankets, and even her cushy bed under a pavilion of fleece blankets we *could* be using to ward off an unseasonable April chill... She is our God Queen and she knows it lol!

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  23. I would set up an array of coins on top of our bookcase, just so she could have the entertainment of pushing them off one by one. Over and over again. Also, these days we have a 1.5L stein of water sitting on our kitchen table that she drinks the top 1" of water out of and then demands that we refill so she can reach it with her tongue. We do this every morning.

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  24. We have an automatic feeder that dispenses twice a day and it's the BEST! We tell the kitties "don't ask me for food, the robot feeds you now".

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  25. This is going to be a bit sad, so be forewarned.

    I had a dog that was dumb as dumb could be, but also as sweet as could be and she had the misfortune of getting bit in the nose by a copperhead. This is not the sad part. She survived that ordeal with much steroids and morphine and lived another 6 years past it. After that point, though, her stomach did not work like it should so we kept her on sensitive stomach dog food. She would constantly give us scares on major life holidays for the kids, which would involve surreptitiously going to the vet and getting her a shot to get her through the child's birthday so that she could die another day. On one such occasion she had stopped eating for a few days and we were eating spaghetti for dinner and decided to just give her some because she was obviously dying and what could it hurt. Dog ate everything. OK, so it's the food, not the stomach. I had found Dr. Dodd's liver diet on some forum online and thought, what the hell, I'll cook for the dog (it's a mix of potatoes and fish and other ingredients) and what do you know, that dog rebounded. So I made enough for a week and she got better. And then we tried to put her back on dog food, which immediately failed again (copious vomiting).

    I cooked for that dog for 2 more years before she finally passed away. Routine was peeling and boiling 20 lbs of white potatoes, 20 lbs of sweet potatoes, baking 20 lbs of white fish, canned veggies, vitamins, and tomato sauce (spaghetti dog) and then mixing up 2 cup portions to freeze for the next few weeks, thinking, well, she can't possibly keep going, I'm just making her comfortable. It was the healthiest we ever saw her. So I cooked every meal for that dog for two years.

    If I never peel another potato it will be too soon. It's been a few years, but you can now get canned variations of that recipe. I no longer have doggie hospice, but it's nice to see the options opened up.

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  26. First time commenting, but this too ridiculous not to share. Our older cat (approx 11) has some upper respiratory issues and is essentially an overweight snot-machine masquerading as a Siamese. My husband has recently taken to using the Frida Baby snot sucker on her (note: we do also have kids so this was not actually purchased for the cat). As I've mentioned, she's also a chonk so free-feeding is out, but our other cat only wants to nibble here and there so it's A Struggle to get them both an appropriate amount of food. So pretty much Schmutz (Siamese) gets locked in the office for most of the morning so Mortimer (Eva's doppelganger...but skinny :P) and can have several hours to actually eat his #@%$^*#%$ breakfast. Schmutz also needs Prozac daily but is disturbingly good at spitting out the pill if it's whole or just refusing to eat if it's crushed. The Prozac is so she stops stress-grooming herself bald. So yes, she's an overweight, balding Siamese dripping snot, but we love her!

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  27. This is going to sound ridiculous, but get smaller sized dishes. It really helped mine have his food limited (He's partially Maine Coon, but close to 18 pounds - that's too much for the part of him that is not!).

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  28. My former cat Weatherby was on a diet for most of his life and hated it. I felt terrible because he was always hungry but also always a chonk. Our 2yo house panthers started out totally normal but Rip developed struvite crystals last summer so had to go on a special diet, wet food only. He was NOT happy about it at first. To stop him from trying to eat his sister Rosie's food all the time we got them special feeders that open with their microchips and put her on a wet diet too. It's more work for me to feed them more often but they're both at their ideal weight.

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  29. My feline void has asthma (she's part Siamese, which runs in the breed). I've tried allergy meds, allergy drops, etc. And the only thing that seems to be genuinely working? An air purifier. Yep, I bought an air purifier for my cat. SIGH.

    My cats are also on special diets (3 cats, 3 diets), so it's fun to get them food in the morning and evening. To keep them from nagging me earlier and earlier though? I set an alarm on my phone - the meow mix theme. They hear it, they know it's mealtime, and they think I don't have any (direct) control over when they eat. The phone starts meowing, I get up to get them food, they eat. That's all they understand. Kind of wonderful, in a way.

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  30. My older cat insists on being able to look out my bedroom window at night — it’s okay if the other windows have curtains or blinds, but not my bedroom, she’ll shred the blinds if they’re down after I turn off the lights. So I’ve installed that one-way film so she can see all the critters outside but no one (but the cats) can watch me sleep.

    And...none of my furniture is upholstered any more. Removable cushions are easy to re-cover and I prefer not to set myself up for getting mad about things like that. I feel that, having brought the cats in to my home, I owe them the same kind of respect as I give my son. Although *he* folds laundry instead of sleeping on it :)

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  31. Don’t be surprised if they don’t lose any weight. We put our cats on a ‘diet’ (I hate that word, even for animals) after our vet recommended that Ella needed to lose weight.

    That was December.

    Now in April, Ella hasn’t lost any weight, but Jack, who has always been skinny, has and Jack is Not Happy With Parents daily.

    Of course, our cats go outside, so Ella might be feasting on mice daily, we don’t know.

    I can’t think of anything particularly weird we’ve done for them. Maybe because what’s weird to others is normal to us?

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  32. Our cat, Spot, starts letting us know her food bowl is empty as soon as she crunches one mouthful. We call the outraged vocals Klingon Opera. Can you tell my husband and son are Trekkies?

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  33. my 4 cats are all too fat. as well as a special, expensive diet food, they get fed a tablespoon each 5 times a day, in theory. IRL, they get breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight, 3 am & 6 am. Guess who the sucker is who gets wakened in the wee small hours? I can't ignore them, cuz they pluck at me with pointy sharp claws, and/or fight loudly on the bed. I get more sleep by giving in promptly. sigh

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  34. We upgraded our bed from a full-size to a king-size for the dogs. We would have been fine in the full-size, but the dogs would push us to the edges at night. So we thought the bigger bed would give us and the two 100 pound "lap dogs" plenty of room. Nope. We still sleep on the edges of the bed while the pups sleep comfortably in the wide-open middle space.

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  35. I have driven to every grocery store in a 20 miles radius to get the right lettuce - romaine, only romaine, never butter, bib, or Boston - at the right color - dark leaves only. For a rabbit who would express his displeasure with light leaves or the wrong variety by flipping over the dish or urinating on it. Oh and did I mention this was during a nation wide romaine shortage due to contamination? He. Did. Not. Care. Dark romaine leaves, twice a day, or suffer human. Gods I miss him. :)

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  36. We recently switched our dog's food in an effort to help him lose weight. He's supposed to be 20lbs but has been 30 for several years and you would not believe the snoring volume from this guy. It's so loud we can't hear the television. So loud people have commented on it on the phone and during video meetings. But the biggest motivation to get him in shape is I was researching and his breed is very prone to heart problems, especially if overweight. That scared me enough to get more proactive after 2 years of "just feed him exactly what he is supposed to get, no making up skipped meals" advise that the vet had given me that resulted in zero weight loss. So now we've switched him to a weight-loss formula and we're supposed to reduce by 10% every two weeks until we start seeing him lose a pound every two weeks. I quickly discovered that the nutritional value of the new food is different than his old recipe and he technically requires 1.25 cups of the kibble twice a day, versus the 2/3 cup he was getting before. Taking care of our animals is complicated!

    As for my fluffbutt kitty, she gets 1/7th of a can every morning (Yes, I literally divide the can into 7 portions so it lasts her an entire week) and then 1/2 a cup of dry food which she grazes on throughout the day. I used to just fill her bowl every day but that made it difficult to track how much she was eating and if I was overfeeding her or not, so I switched to measuring out the food every morning and what she doesn't eat gets dumped back in the container before I dish out her fresh serving. I had tried giving the dog a little bit of canned every morning too but he refused to eat leftovers, even if I warmed it up, so he only gets the dry now.

    Years ago I had a cat who we'd taken in as a stray. That's when we learned not all cats could be trusted to only graze as needed. We went on a short-trip and left a roasting pan full of food for our two cats and when we returned, he had eaten the entire pan and the other cat was all, "thank goodness your back. I'm starving!" We had to start feeding that cat in a different room to keep the chonk from eating her food. He was 17lbs of pure love to anyone who would feed him. <3

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  37. Yes, I am going to be *that* person: Did you check with their vet first to see what their actual correct weight ranges should be?

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  38. My chonky cat is very food motivated and when I switched her to scheduled feeding she never grasped the concept. Anytime I'd go near her food bowl I was treated to the loudest cat symphony I've ever experienced.

    The side-eye moment was when I bought her a food robot to take over feeding time. It's been several years and she still doesn't understand the schedule, but at least I'm no longer the focus of her pleading confusion!

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  39. You can get kitty kibble balls and toys that force the cat to do things to get kibble. I have one, for my old cat who passed in January. My other cat (who's NOT chunky) still uses it on occasion when she wants an extra treat.

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    1. I got a couple of those puzzle balls for my labrador-in-a-cat-suit chonk. He got them stuck under every piece of furniture he could, and when I got a saucer-shaped one that he had to scoop kibble out of with his paw, he gave me a serious stink eye then proceeded to bully both his siblings out of their food on sheer principle. We don't use puzzle balls anymore...

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  40. The first winter after I got one of my current cats I noticed that she really liked sleeping on the afghan my mom made me which I only have on my bed when it's chilly (I live in Texas. It rarely gets cold.). Kota completely changed up her napping routine so that she could nap on that blanket. When it was time to put the blanket away in the spring, she seemed very confused and upset. So I had her email my mom (I helped a bit with the spelling and the typing and the English) explaining her confusing and frustration that her favorite blanket got put away and asking if mom might make her a blanket that was just her size and just for her. Mom wrote back asking Kota her favorite color and the next time I went visited, Mom gave me the blanket she made for Kota. That blanket now lives on the foot of my bed for the majority of the year when I'm not using the full size afghan. And everyone is happy.

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  41. My spoiled pup won’t eat unless her food has “sprinkles” on it. I bought a coffee grinder specifically to grind up liver treats to sprinkle on her food. I also have to set my alarm at least 20 minutes early so she can have early morning belly rubs in bed. If she does not get her belly rubs in the morning she sulks all day. Once COVID is less of a risk and I have to go back to the office my pup will be very upset. Since I adopted her she has rarely been home alone for more than a few hours. Luckily her granny lives close by and also spoils her.

    On the pet diet issue - my mom’s dog had to lose weight. The vet prescribed some diet food with extra fiber. He is loosing weight but is not overly hungry because of the extra fiber. He doesn’t even beg for treats as much.

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  42. I impressed my vet by teaching my 16 year old cat to let me brush her teeth in about two weeks. Now, this IS likely possible in part because I weened her as a kitten, have taught her to let me Do The Thing, and also knowing she's down for just about anything as long as I give her food/treats afterwards. The hardest part was me realizing she really hated the toothpaste. I've also harness trained her. The only thing I can really complain about is her habit of eating my (four foot plus long) hair.

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  43. The most ridiculous thing I've done for my cats is to buy four (4) $180 microchip feeding bowls for them. We had a fat cat and a slim cat, but it got a lot more complicated when I took in my MIL's cats after her passing. Then I had three slim cats and a fat cat that was on the rise.

    My routine was a can of food per cat in the morning and evening, with dry food freely available because the slim cats nibbled small amounts slowly throughout the day and their weight was fine. MIL’s cats only ever got dry food at her house so although wet food is much healthier, I didn’t want to disrupt the old cats routines too much. However the easy access to high-calorie dry food was tooooo much freedom for the fat cat.

    I tried buying one feeder to hold the dry food that all three slim cats could access, but when the MIL's cats started needing special diets too, I just went whole hog and bought three more feeders to keep everyone's food separate.

    That was several years ago, and the MIL's cats were already quite old when we took them in, so LSS, I now have four microchip feeders in storage in my garage. I pulled the batteries out, packed them away with all the instructions and accessories waiting for the day when we're ready to add to the family again. (The fat cat is still around, and doing pretty well now that I don't have to balance the needs of four cats.)

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  44. My husband made fun of me for putting a blanket on the dog one winter. He was shivering!

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    Replies
    1. That's just being a good mom!

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  45. Two years ago my sister and I purchased four pet rats, one of which gave birth to twelve babies. When said babies turned one, they were given birthday hats and cakes made of vanilla wafers, peanut butter, and dried cranberries. This would be insane enough on its own. For those who had lived to the age of two they got new party hats, party decorations, and human cake cut into little round rat sized cakes with actual frosting and two sprinkles stood up for "candles". Perfectly normal.

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  46. I feel like we created our own monster in this: Our cat spooks easily (or so we've told ourselves, or at least my boyfriend is convinced, either way...), or at least has a tendency to barf after eating so we have taken to creating a non spook zone/ chill zone/ keeping her appraised of her presence. So we regularly walk around humming, singing, whistling during meal time. I realized this had taken a turn when I came home one day was told the cat was eating and promptly started singing; like it was NORMAL! So if you're wondering why you hear scheduled whistling from our house twice a day just know - it must be feeding time.

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  47. Yes, cats will learn that food is served at certain times when there is an alarm or other sound associated with those times. We (both retirees) feed our two cats three times a day. They know breakfast is after my 7:00 a.m. alarm and lunch and supper are when our clock chimes at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The clock makes the same sound each hour and sometimes the cats will try to convince us that noon is 1:00 p.m. or, at 2:00 p.m., that we forgot to feed them the previous hour! They also try to open our bedroom door in the morning before 7:00 but we ignore this. We're *staff*, not slaves! ;) Measuring out the portions when feeding the cats keeps them at good weights. Making sure everyone measures the amounts correctly i.e. a level scoop, not a heaped scoop is important, too.

    Now for the "some people will roll their eyes" back story! Our cat, Gem, was a rescue. After we decided to keep her, we found out she was pregnant. She had 2 kittens. We kept her daughter, Onyx, and her brother went to friends of our son's who we knew were already good cat parents. While she was pregnant and nursing, we let Gem free feed. She didn't try to eat the whole bowlful at once so we just made sure there was some in her dish all the time. I had 3 large cages left from having pet rats (wonderful pets!) and I used one (about 18" x 30") for Gem's "maternity suite". Gem could get through the door easily to get to her kittens and they were too small to get out for about 3 weeks. Once they could get out of the cage, I made an enclosure (about 3'w by 4'd) with panels from a pet playpen zip tied together. Gem could jump over the sides (about 3') no problem. When the kittens were just about able to climb out, I made a roof using the rest of the pet pen and more rat cage parts. One section had a door which we left open so that Gem could still get in to her babies. She was able to jump out through the door, too. The door was in the centre of the roof and the kittens were too small to make that leap straight up. One panel of the roof we kept closed with clips so we could open it to get at the litter box and clean the floor (tiles, not carpet). Once the kittens were eating solid food, we had to keep the enclosure closed because Gem liked their food, too, and would eat it all! We had to put the food dish in the middle of the enclosure because Gem would reach through the bars and scoop the kibbles out of the dish! We kept the enclosure together to use it as "the recovery room" after Gem and then Onyx were spayed. Then we were done with this large enclosure but still needed some place to give Onyx her kitten food - out of her mom's reach! - for her first year. So I put together the smaller rat cage to use as her "dining room". We were feeding her 3 times a day by then so didn't have to worry about giving her free access to her food. The wires of the cage were too close together for Gem to get her paw through, though she did try. She also sat with her face pressed against the wires, looking at the kitten kibble...so close and yet so inaccessible...so funny! When Onyx was a year old and started eating adult food, we finally could put the cage away, out of the living room! We still supervise them when they eat because if Gem finishes first, she may push Onyx away from her dish to get what's in it. Or Lloyd, our son's cat, will eat whatever is left if either Gem or Onyx doesn't eat all of their kibble and he is a good weight without having leftovers!




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  48. My parents had a 20-year-old cat that was deaf and blind. My dad put bumpers around the entire finished basement so she couldn't get lost between her food, her litter, and her sleep area. He made a ramp with walls so she could get to her favorite window without falling. He caged in an area in the backyard so she could go out and get her excercise (aka walking in circles for 10 minutes). My mom wasn't much better- a quarter of a pill crushed in wet food in the morning, and a half pill crushed in wet food at night. And these were tiny pills to begin with, so sectioning them was a pain. Needless to say, the cat lived a very long happy life.

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  49. The vet brought our doggo's issue to my attention. (I just thought she was like Manny in 'Ice Age" - she wasn't fat, she was poofy.) Anyway, he told me how many calories she was supposed to have in a day and talked about the ideal ratio of carbs/fat/protein to look for in her food. I researched FOR DAYS, all the while thinking to myself that it was absurd that I had never spent that much time thinking about what I was feeding myself or my human children. But I did find a brand that hit all the criteria and was still the same serving amount so she didn't really revolt. That and I bought a $100 trash can that she can't get in to. Went against every frugal bone in my body!

    Even if you don't have a fleshed out post ready to go, you should probably post a we are still alive message. Just so we know Phase 4 hasn't gone into effect! :)

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  50. We have seven, yes...seven, furballs. Yes, I am insane.

    Fry is on special urinary food and absolutely can not eat anything else. Dexter is a butterball and can only eat special urinary diet food and absolutely can not eat anything else. If either of the special food boys get their mitts on anything other than their own food, they pee everywhere in sight. Remy steals food from the first two, but he can eat regular food. We feed him the urinary food anyway, since boys are more likely to have urinary issues anyway. Being preemptive!

    Three of the four girls (Violet, Q, and Clover) can eat regular cat food. Velma is the youngest (six months) is still on kitten food.

    They all get fed at 6am and 8pm with some being fed separately in different rooms of the house so they only eat the food that they are supposed to eat. It is quite the monumental effort to pull this off twice a day, but well worth it!

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  51. For the past few months, our cat Luna has required what I have started called "breakfast pets" and "lunch pets." Our back stairs lead to a door in our kitchen with a window in it. She has always loved to pop up in the window to demand attention. But lately, she pops up every morning and noontime to demand love and snacks. We usually move her food bowls into the back stairs because our 11yo makes her nervous (he's just, you know, a clompy 11yo). But even if the bowls are already in the stairs, she still pops up because apparently, she can't have snackies until she gets love.

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  52. Little Miss Maine Coon likes to sing the "Song of the hungry cats" at 4:30am when breakfast is at 6am. "It is too early, kittens have to wait" is greeted 2x a day with glares and operatic yowls. But to get the dry biccies at night, one must "touch" (self nose boop) and then do a "tail parade" (tails up and frittering) to get said yummies.

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  53. So my dog Albert fell out of a tree chasing a squirrel. The tree had fallen over a stream so he didn’t realise how high he was and neither did my husband. So he smashed is leg and we too him to the royal veterinary hospital close to where we live and they did a big surgery putting plates and screws in his leg. He’s spoilt and sleeps on our bed but due to his delicate leg we had to lift him up and down off the sofa, up the stairs everything so I slept on a mattress on the bedroom floor for 3 months waking up every time he moved slightly because I was so worried he would damage the leg while we waited for it to heal. It was awful but it was 6 years ago and he fit as a fiddle now so it was worth it :)

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  54. We have three German Shorthair Pointers: 13yo gets a mix of 2 different foods to go with her 2 meds and vitamins; 7yo gets to eat a different kind of food out of a puzzle bowl in the garage because he came to us with some food aggression/snarf and barf issues; 1yo eats a 4th kind of food, partly from a regular bowl and partly in a puzzle bowl to slow her down enough for 13yo to finish across the kitchen; then all three get a nightly salami treat because 13yo has thyroid and liver meds that need a little help going down and the other two quickly discovered that help came with salami. We love them so. = )

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  55. My cat Humphrey is an exotic shorthair (google it, I dare you not say 'awww'). His face is flat, and because of that oils and dirt collect in the folds next to his nose. So every day, I take a special little scrubby brush and feed him treats while I painstakingly clean out his squooshes.

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  56. 20 years ago, when we bought the house it came with a landscaping allowance. We spent everything on 6' chain link fencing around ~1 acre of yard. Yes it is butt ugly. But have you ever seen rescue greyhounds running free? BeeeYOOtiful.

    Also we figured out how to build duct tape and infant diapers for them when they got older and had issues. Like they do

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  57. Artemis The Cat enjoys hunting lizards here in Texas. Unsurprisingly, they aren't as fun coming out as going in, which led to rage poops, where she would poo on a bathmat while yowling as loud as she can and glaring over her shoulder at us.

    Enter Laxatone, the maple flavored petroleum jelly. Every night, before I am allowed to get into bed, she screams at me until she's licked her fill from the tube. It's less irritating than the yowl poops.

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  58. We had to stop the free feeding and switch our cat to a prescription diet. He does not love it and we do sneak in some "junk food" as well. He lost a little bit of weight, but the best part is that he no longer has bladder crystals.
    Have you seen the TikTok videos of people who have trained their cats to talk with push buttons? It's amazing, I wish I had thought of that because I always wonder what my cat is thinking!

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