by Lee Juslin
One day, while opening my latest shipment from Chewy, lifting out the box of cat food, and putting aside the much prized, best-cat-toy-in-the-world kraft paper, I found a sample of Friskies cat treats.
Later, when opening the treats, all four cats appeared, naps interrupted and bird watching put aside. I gave each one a treat. Their reaction was immediate: MORE. Over the next couple of days, our mid evening routine centered on these magical treats.
Then, one morning when I came out to make breakfast, it was apparent that my three-legged, one-eyed black cat, L’il B, was not well. He upchucked several times and seemed to pull in on himself as if his tummy hurt. He had no interest in eating or drinking water. He was also very quiet which alarmed me, because B is part Siamese with a loud voice that he is not afraid to use.
Later, after a thorough check-up by the vet showed nothing wrong, a shot for nausea, and a shot to stimulate his appetite, the vet asked if I had changed his diet. “No, he’s still eating the same wet food and kibble,” I told him.
Riding home $98 poorer and amidst the caterwauling coming from the seat beside me, I tried to think what could have made B sick. Ah, those treats. They were the only change in his diet and routine.
At dinner time, I fixed four bowls with B watching from the living room instead of his usual spot at my feet. When I put his bowl down, he turned his back on me and sat down. Uh oh, message received: I am MAD at you.
Over the next couple of days, it became a battle to try to get B to eat something, and it was clear he had not forgiven me. I bought Fancy Feast to mix into his usual food and some wet food additive by Blue Buffalo that promised to be absolutely yummy. Nothing worked, and the sulking continued. However, he did deign to eat some white meat from the chicken I was fixing for our dinner. He gobbled it up, which told me his problems were nothing more than stubbornness.
Through the next day, I tried to think how to tempt him. I woke up during the night thinking about cat treats. I was distracted at work thinking about cat treats. Finally, I decided to try something with those Frisky treats that had caused the original problem. I scrubbed out his bowl, removing any traces of all the foods I had used to tempt him, dried it thoroughly, and took some of the treats to rub around the inside of his bowl. Then, I removed the treats, added his food, set the bowl down, and held my breath. Several minutes passed while he circled the bowl suspiciously, but then, he sat and began to eat. The other cats, that had been protesting in sympathy and eating only small amounts, also dove into their bowls. I stood stock still, not daring to move, and the only sounds heard in my kitchen were the happy smacking sounds of kitty lips.
Cats, in my experience, are different from dogs in that they can reject food for no apparent reason and are masters of the sulk with B being at the top of the list. Many of them, too, seem to upchuck now and then and always on a rug. If you have expensive, Oriental rugs, they will definitely pick those. Upchucking is not necessarily a reason for alarm unless it continues and is coupled with other symptoms as was the case with B. A cat hiding and behaving differently coupled with vomiting may well be cause for alarm. Cats can become dehydrated, and that is a danger sign, so, if you can, check your cat’s coat at the scruff and his gums for discoloration. Both are signs of dehydration.
And, always remember your cat is probably smarter than you are so dealing with them often takes a certain craftiness and thinking outside the box.
You can meet L’il B and his Hooligan friends here: Hampshire Hooligans.
Check out more animal rescue & therapy animal stories in our Pets section.