Meal Time Mayhem

Meal Time Mayhem (2)

Pantry Shelf Meal Prep

I mentioned in a previous post that feeding time is a production in my house. We have two dogs and four cats, not to mention the bunny. Here’s why keeping them all alive can be a bit time consuming.

Breakfast is served at 6:00 a.m. during the week. Sometimes it’s the same time on the weekends, and other times it may be an hour or two late. The dogs are at an age where they would rather sleep than eat, but the cats remind us when it’s past feeding time.

I gather the six bowls and line them up on one of the pantry shelves. I don’t try to get everything together on the counter because I think I will be bombarded with cats, although hubby does this with no problem. They are content to gather at my feet during meal preparation. I start with the cats. I open one large can of wet food and distribute it among four bowls. Dry food is then mixed in with the wet food. Done! The cats are easy. No one is on medication.

The dogs’ meal prep is more involved. Each dog gets wet food, because Moose and Red no longer eat dry food. Not only have they started refusing it in their old age, but Moose has 14 teeth and Red has 12 teeth. (Dogs should have 42 teeth). I figure that they have made it this far, so I am not going to force the issue. I’m just thankful that they still have good appetites. Since they eat exclusively dry food, I put a teaspoon of canned pumpkin on top to help prevent loose stools. Following the pumpkin begins the med distribution.

I cut up one chondroitin/glucosamine chew into quarters, and each dog bowl gets a quarter, saving the other two quarters for the next day. Moose has a probiotic capsule that I open and sprinkle onto his food for his frequent tummy grumbles. Red gets a quarter of a pill for his nervousness and Moose gets a tablet for his heart. Whew!

After all the food prep, it’s time to eat! The dogs eat first, in their separate crates. Moose was food aggressive when he was younger, so we learned early on that eating apart from Red was best. I give Red his bowl first, which sits atop paper towels, because he is a slob who will get the concoction all over the crate floor. Next comes Moose, no paper towels required.

By now the cats have zero patience. Vlad gets shuffled into the laundry room, Tiki gets her bowl on the counter, Tiger eats in the bathroom, and Barnabas gets his food in our room. I would love to just feed them all together, but I doubt that would be possible. Vlad in particular is a chow hound; he is always trolling for any leftovers from his brothers and sister. This method works well for keeping track of who is eating and who may not be at any given time. I don’t free feed, meaning I do not leave dry food out during the day for the cats to graze. Our beloved Ozzy was on a strict food regimen, so we’re not used to leaving food out anyway.

After breakfast the dogs go outdoors, come in and snooze on the couch. The cats are sometimes seen but not heard from until it’s time for dinner. They are grateful for all the food prep, right?

Meal Time Mayhem (1)

Tiki Seems to Have an Opinion on the Cuisine We Serve

(Stink) Eye of the Tiger

(Stink) Eye of the Tiger (1)

Waiting Impatiently

I love Tiger to pieces. He can be a crabby tabby on a good day, but when he’s hungry, he takes crabby to a new level. He’s the only cat I’ve had who gets cranky at meal times.

If you read Rude Awakening, you know that when Tiger wants to eat, he wants to eat now. After the pestering, one of us staggers into the kitchen, tripping over assorted pets, to get their food together. If I have a.m. food duty (and most of the time I do, morning person that I am), their wait is extended because mom needs her coffee first. Otherwise, who knows what I will feed them in my fog. I figure that they have waited hours between meals already, so what difference does a couple minutes make?

Well, to them a few minutes makes all the difference, especially to Tiger. If I go upstairs to do something before I feed him, he often follows me. He voices his displeasure at my dawdling, and either tries to bite my feet or swat me. When I return to the first floor, he runs ahead of me, I guess he thinks he’s my guide to the kitchen, in case I forgot where it was.

He walks through the kitchen hissing and growling, to let everyone know that he is not happy. I can’t help but laugh, because it is comical. Food distribution is a production with two dogs and four cats milling under your feet.

A hungry Tiger lashes out at not only me, but also the animal inhabitants of the house. He will swat the dogs who aren’t doing anything but waiting themselves. Barney and Tiki are also on the receiving end of his ire, but it’s poor Vlad that takes the brunt of Tiger’s wrath. I think the orange bully knows that his brother is a lover and not a fighter, and uses that to his advantage. Barney and Tiki are more likely to stand up to Tiger swat to swat. Of course, before he starts terrorizing his brothers and sister, he gives them the stink eye. It’s a look that says don’t mess with me, I am hungry, and I am eating first! Tiger may have hierarchy in the feline population, but both Moose and Red came before him.

I use part of the pantry shelf to arrange the bowls to keep them from swarming me. Sometimes when I’m getting their meds to mix in with the food, I see Tiger on the shelf trying to get to his meal. He is the only one to do that, impatient brat that he is.

The dogs are fed first, followed by the cats. Tiger’s mood changes when I walk with him to the bathroom, his breakfast in hand. Everyone eats in separate rooms to avoid any squabbles over food, and it makes it easier for me to keep track of who is or isn’t eating at any given time.

When Tiger finishes breakfast, the crankiness is gone. He retreats into bed and continues to do what he does best—ignore me.

(Stink) Eye of the Tiger (2)

Tiger Takes Feeding Time Seriously

Rude Awakening

Rude_Awakening_Moment

Tiger’s Rude Awakening

Cats can function as furry alarm clocks, especially when it’s feeding time. Some are subtle about it, while others are downright rude, beating you over the head to wake you up. Tiger has his own obnoxious way of telling us when he wants his breakfast.

We have four cats. Vlad will lay on us, Barney will stare from atop furniture, while Tiki taps me on the head, giving me gentle kisses. Not too bad, right? Enter the orange monster Tiger.

He jumps on the bed, all 13 pounds proceeding to pace on our pillows. It’s annoying, but easily ignored. If that doesn’t elicit the response he wants from us, he ups his annoyance game.

On the dresser located next to the bed is a clock radio where an old iPod charges. Tiger has found a way to walk on just the right button to start the music. I’m all for blasting heavy metal, but in the wee hours of the morning, not so much.

Remember I mentioned about being beaten over the head? Tiger takes this to heart. He sits on the dresser, proceeding to swat objects onto the floor. There’s not many things up there that are cause for concern, except the lamp. The heavy, brass lamp. He knocks it down onto the head of the unfortunate person who sleeps on that side of the bed. That unfortunate person is always my hubby. Luckily, he has never suffered a serious injury as a result of Tiger’s wakeup call. Did I mention that Tiger swats the lamp cord loudly against the side of the dresser before sending it crashing down?

I’m not exempt from Tiger’s morning tantrums. He wreaks havoc on my hair, but not all the time. He seems to take offense to the smell after it has been processed. That’s when he tries to wake me up if the hubby won’t respond. He bites as close to my scalp as he can and pulls. Hard. I shouldn’t be surprised that the scent bothers him, because this is the same cat who tries to cover up my coffee mug when it’s sitting out.

Tiger has another tactic to let us know that he wants breakfast. There are two pictures hanging on the wall, accessible to the tabby with attitude. He stretches up from the dresser and proceeds to swat the photos repeatedly against the wall. Wham, wham, wham! I think it is even more obnoxious than blasting the music.

As annoying as all of this is, when he doesn’t do it, we miss it. Tiger wasn’t eating for a couple days, and during that time he wasn’t into his normal routine. We’re not sure what was wrong with him, but he left the vet’s office with an appetite stimulant that got him eating again. I thought he might have a hairball blockage, so I found something at a pet supply store to remedy that. Now that he’s back to his usual self, he’s up to his old tricks. Maybe I will buy hubby a football helmet for Christmas.

Rude Awakening

Looking for a Way Out at the Vet

The Case of the Missing Tabby

Tiger the Gotcha Day Lump (1)

The Lovable Lug

Not to be outdone by brother Moose, Tiger celebrated his own Gotcha Day recently. February 22, 2018, marked nine years since the orange tabby with attitude came to live with us. However, in that time he’s sometimes given us quite a scare.

We have learned that Tiger has a unique skill, something not done by any cat we’ve ever had. Perhaps he picked up this talent from watching his canine siblings. Italian Greyhounds love to burrow in their blankets, but what about cats?

When Tiger first came home, he was a dreaded door darter. This is not unusual for a cat who was allowed both inside and outside by his previous owner, but it is a problem since all of our cats are kept strictly indoors. Tiger got out our back door three times into the yard, and three times I was able to grab him and thwart any notion of freedom that he had. It seems he has since lost interest in this pursuit, but you have to remain vigilant when it comes to open doors. We live on a heavily traveled road, so a positive outcome for an escapee is unlikely.

We do a head count of the fur kids as a matter of course in our house. I also tend to do this when I’m doing the laundry, because I worry about a kitty taking an unintended ride in a Whirlpool. Every time we go out, and before bed, we check everyone’s location. Prior to implementing this practice, poor Tiger once spent a chilly night in the laundry room closet before being discovered the next morning.

One night during our rounds before lights out, we couldn’t find the cranky orange tabby. After checking the usual hiding spots and coming up empty, panic began to set in. Did he sneak down the basement stairs unnoticed? Worse yet, did he slip outside the safety of the house? That’s my biggest fear, one of the cats getting out the door and losing them forever. We continued the search, but still couldn’t find him. I called his name and even shook the treat bag, which summoned all the cats except Tiger. Where was he?

It seems our boy got tired and maybe a little chilly and called it a night early. A close inspection of our bed found a mysterious lump beneath the comforter. Peeling back the bedclothes revealed a blinking orange tabby, oblivious to the chest pain he was causing his pet parents. His hiding spot uncovered, he calmly stretched and walked into the other room, relinquishing the queen-size bed to its rightful owners.

I have since observed Tiger burrowing under the covers. He will also disappear under the comforter on the bed, or under the throw we keep on the couch for the dogs. You have to be careful where you sit or you could wind up with a claw to the backside. I wonder how the dogs feel about sharing their blankets, and I also wonder if I should have a cardiologist on speed dial.

Tiger the Gotcha Day Lump (2)

Hiding in Plain Sight?

Meet Tiger

Meet Tiger (1)

Waiting for a New Family

By now you know that I have two Italian Greyhounds which I adore. I also share my home with four rescued indoor cats. I’ve previously written about the two latest additions, Barnabas Collins and Vlad. In this post I will introduce you to the first cat I adopted through my volunteer job.

We already had two cats when I started volunteering for the shelter approximately 15 years ago. They were acquired as kittens, the products of what I call “oops” litters. Annie was a brown tabby, perhaps mixed with a little Siamese, and Ozzy was a gray marble tabby (and the best cat in the universe), whose mother was Russian Blue. Sadly, we lost both of them exactly a year apart on June 2, 2015 and June 2, 2016.

There was an orange tabby in the adoption center. He was an adult cat who just wanted to lay around, and he didn’t stand out among the other cats looking for forever homes. I’m not sure why because he is a very handsome cat.

Week after week we developed a routine. I would lay my coat on the bench and he would curl up in it. I would come in for my shift and if he was already out of his cage, he would look to me for my coat, and I always obliged him. Since no one had showed any interest in him, and we had a bit of a bond, Tiger became cat #3 in 2009.

Fast forward nine years later, and guess what? He still lays around. That’s ok, now he has a much bigger space to lay around. I’ve heard that orange male tabbies are some of the friendliest cats. (Did you know that the majority of orange cats are male?) I have to admit that this isn’t accurate when it comes to Tiger. He is the least friendly of our felines. This is not to say that he is mean, but if you pet him too long, he will reward your effort with teeth marks. However, he is a cat’s cat, affectionate on his terms. He will head butt for attention, and climb into an available lap when the mood strikes him. Sometimes Tiger will even lay close to his humans in bed.

He likes to carry his toy mouse around and meow loudly, delivering us his latest “kill.” For this we heap tons of praise on him. He is the hunter of the group, and the only cat of the four who does this.

We call Tiger Pass-Out Cat, because he likes to sleep face planted. It really is adorable. If he’s really cold, he will burrow under the covers on the bed. If you see a lump, you know there’s an orange kitty under there. Again, he’s the only cat of ours to do this.

Tiger may not be a cat thrilled with kisses and cuddles, but we love him just the same.

Meet Tiger (2)

Pass-Out Cat