Thursday, November 01, 2007

The trials of parenthood. And tender morsels.

When we first brought her home, we should have known. She cried all the way. She kept sticking her little nose through the air holes in that cardboard carrier telling my husband The News.

I had wanted a cat for a long time. We decided to wait until we were settled into our own house and we had looked at the animal shelter several times. One day I saw Maggie- a little, fluffy black kitten in a cage all by herself, away from the other kittens. (Looking back, this should have been a sign.)

The day we first met her, we didn't adopt her. Instead, we walked away and decided to keep looking. All the while, I knew I was in love with that black ball of fur.

My husband returned to the shelter a few days later, planning to surprise me with a kitten. Little did he know, that same black kitty was still there. Another family had taken her home and returned her within the short time we had seen her. He thought it must be meant to be.

And I was surprised. What a thoughtful gift. A sweet little kitten for a crazy cat lady.

Maggie had the kind of health problems most strays suffer, so we nursed her back to health. She was a bit malnourished and just needed a lot of TLC.

She has always been a big eater, ahem. At first the vet said she was trying to catch up on being malnourished, but we figured it out later- she just liked to eat. Not any food. DRY FOOD. This cat was weird.

Early on, in an effort to give her a treat, I bought canned cat food, even "human" tuna. She wouldn't eat it; she just turned up her nose and tried to bury it. The canned food would have helped with the hairballs, but no, this cat wasn't interested.

Until that fateful day, years later, when a small can of addictive goodness arrived in the mail.

It was a free sample of Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys. I laughed but decided to give it a try. She lapped it up. Then went back looking for more. We all were in shock. This must be some pretty special cat food.

What started out as an innocent treat has become an obsession and a learned response that only Pavlov could understand. Because of her kidney related issues, canned foods are just a treat, not a staple good. So whenever Maggie hears any pop-top can opening, she goes insane.

Insane. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she even hallucinates in little kitty cat hallucinations of warm, sunny windows and clean litter boxes.

Now she even starts to twitch when she sees me pull out the paper bowls. Seriously, I think I need to call The Cat Whisperer. Not only do I have to sneak around the kitchen to have my Campbell's soup, I can't even use paper goods.

We've considered a twelve step program, but since Maggie is a cat, you can't get her to do one step much less twelve.

So, I am warning all of you, Internets. Stay away from gourmet cat food. And please, for the love of Garfield and Morris and all of the other orange, annoying cats, stay away, far away from anything labeled with a savory broth.

This may very well be the new gateway drug.


Kelli said...

we have a Persian hybrid that tears up full rolls of toilet paper off the spinner and chases ice you throw, like a dog. Relentlessly.

Southern Girl said...

Oh, I know all about that Elegant Medleys's the only wet cat food my Pumpkin hasn't turned her nose up at. She's not as far gone as Maggie seems to be, but she's definitely a big fan of that wet stuff. So, I keep my eyes open for places to request free samples, 'cause I'm just not buying fancier food for the cat than I do myself. ;)

Linda said...

Too funny! What does she do when she spazzes out?

ValleyGirl said...

Fortunately for me, our cats live outdoors with the dog, sleep in the dog house with the dog, and eat dry dog food with the dog. (And any mice and birds that make the mistake of thinking our cats are lazy!)

Reynie said...

That is too funny! I once had a cat, Rufus, who would turn his nose up at wet cat food as well. Until the day I tried this Wal-Mart chunky brand that came in a pouch. He loved it! Arn't cats the best entertainment!

Susanne said...

We used to have a black cat that got "loaded" on cooked carrots. We'd feed them to her just so we could laugh as she walked and rolled around like she was drunk. Really weird.