When I took my cat, Buddy, to the vet for his annual check-up I found out he had kidney disease. He wasn’t showing any signs of this, aside from barfing a lot, which I thought is normal for cats. The vet recommended daily medicine and a special cat food formulated for cats with kidney disease. Great, no problem. We just mix the medicine in with the new food. Buddy had other ideas.
Well, he tried the food once and then decided the servants were remiss. As a day, then two, then three went by, I became disturbed by his refusal to eat. I called the vet and she said to administer the medicine directly into his mouth. I held Buddy down while my husband lifted his lip and pushed down the plunger. This was not popular. Buddy ran and hid under the kitchen table, looking highly offended. We tried mixing the kidney food with his regular food and giving him treats whenever he got medicine. He picks at his food and still hates the medicine.
Since his disease is accompanied by eventual weight loss, I am deeply concerned. I decide I’ll provide him with natural food. He loves hunting crickets in the basement and periodically I pick up cricket legs or bodies off the living room floor. Insects are great protein! So I go to the pet store and pick up a box of crickets. It’s food. It’s entertainment. I put the crickets in a large cardboard box. After all, how high can they really jump? I show Buddy the box. He is enthusiastic. So are the crickets. The crickets have a jumping contest urged on by a desire to run for their lives, sort of like running the bulls in Spain. They spread themselves throughout the house. I will be finding them for a long time to come. And finding their body parts. That could have worked better.
Okay, what else do cats like? Birds! We have lots of pigeons in the city. I get a fishing net from the boating store. I cast bread on my door stoop and sidewalk. The pigeons come like sheep to a shepherd. I pull the net strings quickly and although most get away I am left with 6 plump pigeons. I carry them triumphantly inside. Buddy is excited. I pluck one from the net and put the rest away in a cage. Buddy chases the bird all over the house. The bird is not happy. It shits a lot. All over the house. Buddy goes to sleep. The bird calms down, tucks its head under its wing and rests on my living room lamp next to the couch. I take a break and watch TV. Suddenly Buddy is crouching on the other side of the couch. With one great leap he tackles the bird which is now screaming in my ears. Buddy holds on. Who knew birds had so much red blood. Feathers scatter everywhere. Buddy is in heaven. He knows he is a true hunter. I know I must find another way to feed him.
What else do cats eat, I ponder. Google knows everything and tells me they eat mice. Of course. But here in Baltimore we don’t have mice. The rats have all eaten them. Just ask our president. Now, rats should be pretty easy to catch. Just leave out some nice smelly garbage. I wait for night, I put out the garbage. A flashlight assists my endeavors.I am equipped with a stun gun from a hunter friend. Here they come, a whole family. Mom is the size of a small tank. I figure I’ll take out the adolescents. No one really likes adolescents anyway. Having been in girl scouts finally comes in handy – I shoot quickly and accurately. Bingo! Three down and now I can put my garbage back in the can. I carry the rats by their tails and place them on the living room floor. Buddy comes to sniff them. He paws one of them a little. Then it wakes up and gives an ear piercing shriek. Staring with its little beady eyes the rat stands up. Buddy backs down. You cannot intimidate a Baltimore rat. The rat gives chase and Buddy runs frantically, jumping onto bookshelves and counters. The rat shimmies up the T.V. cord. Bleh! I aim and shoot the stun gun. The other rats wake up and charge down to the basement. When I go down, they are eating Buddy’s cat food. As they are fixated on the food, I chase them down with the stun gun. They escape through a hole in the side of my house. Darn, I didn’t know about the hole but now I have to fix it. Clearly, rats are not on Buddy’s list as a gourmet item.
Maybe YouTube will have ideas on what to feed Buddy. Youtube has plenty of kitty videos chowing down on everything from a chicken leg to a banana served with chopsticks. But I’m still pretty clueless about what might be a natural diet. What about larger cats, I wonder. I look up lions. They are enjoying hunting and killing a zebra. I’m sure the Baltimore zoo has a zebra.