Cat shaming Cat Cat

Have you ever been sound asleep in the wee hours of the morning when a loud crash from some other part of the house not only wakes you up but sends buckets of adrenaline through every part of your body. Suddenly you’re a cave woman. Clearly someone’s in the house. Of course, they’re going to try to kill you. Hell, there may be a dozen of them. Who knows?

Because at 3 a.m. your brain isn’t functioning at its finest and when you feel vulnerable you’re more likely to reach hasty and silly conclusions.

The last couple of times I’ve woken up to a loud crashing noise from the kitchen–two or three times in the last week–it’s turned out to be Cat Cat knocking over her automatic feeder trying to get it to give her more food. That’s right, our adorable, ridiculously-named spoiled princess of a cat bats around this enormous plastic feeder like a mafioso shaking down someone who owes them money.

My mom bought us the automatic feeder–not because we’re too lazy to feed our cats but because they’re both bordering on obese. We know they’re fat. And we honestly try to limit their food. But if they don’t get food whenever they want it, they follow us through the house screaming at us and winding between our feet. Not for a few minutes. Not for an hour. But until they get food. And neither of us has enough will power to hold out forever against the shrieking. I’m prone to headaches, both of us have book projects we’re working on. We can only sneak out of the house so many times before the fact that we’re letting our cats drive us out of our home because they’re gluttons.

So we tried the feeder. They’re smart cats; if they know their food doesn’t come from us maybe, just maybe, they’ll stop screaming at us for more. Colin programmed it to feed them three times a day–half a cup at 5 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.–and during the hour or so before they’re fed they become absolute beasts. They know the food is coming but they want it NOW. And at the tell-tale whirring of the food beginning  to drop you hear two very loud thumps as they hit the floor and scurry to their food bowl.

Neither is satisfied with the amount of food they receive. And yet there’s still fat. I hear stories about cats self-regulating their portions. In fact, most of the cats I’ve had over the years self-regulated their food intake. But with these two cats it’s just an impossible situation. They will eat whatever they can get ahold of, whenever they can get ahold of it.

In all honesty, I’m surprised that it was Cat Cat who decided to take matters into her own paws. I figured if either of them was going to turn into Godzilla kitty and regularly attack the feeder it would be Jack who is bigger and hungrier than Cat Cat. And yet, she’s the one we catch multiple times per day with her paw stuck in the food dispenser, like a little kid at one of those claw machines who just decided to cheat the system. And when the food bowl goes crashing down in the middle of the night, it’s her paws skittering across the floor to escape the carnage.

What could I do?

I’m a big fan of catshaming. (Dogshaming too, but I don’t have a dog to shame.) So finally, after coming home from a photo shoot today and finding the plastic feeder on its side in the middle of the kitchen, I took action. I grabbed a napkin and a sharpie and asked Colin to take this picture:

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Did she learn her lesson?

Not at all.

But I feel somewhat vindicated. I’m no longer some crazy person trying to reason with my cat. I am now part of a community of pet owners who come home knowing they probably won’t find their house in perfect order, knowing they may return to the sound of plastic rolling across the kitchen floor which is wet because she somehow managed to take out the water bowl when the feeder came toppling down.

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