Sunday, March 27, 2011
Another Hurdle Cleared
Yeah. I know. Not the most titillating subject for a post, is it? Still. One of the biggest concerns we had about embarking on a five month sailing trip - a trip that includes our feline companions - was how to feed them. Three were easy. They'll eat canned Wellness cat food. The lady to the right, Hatshepsut, will not. She is exceedingly particular. Homemade, raw cat food or hunger strike. Stop rolling your eyes. Yes. My cats are spoiled rotten little brats. I freely admit this. I'm also clear who created and who perpetuates the problem. It's all the DH. :D
Feeding raw is easy when you live in a house with a real refrigerator and freezer (and when you have a veterinarian with training in feline nutrition to give you the information you need to keep the food nutritionally balanced). On the boat, with a freezer the size of a loaf of bread, it's much harder. I couldn't make five months of raw food and just stash it in the freezer. There must be some kind of option, right? So off I went to Earth Pet, our local pet store. I stocked up on five months of Wellness (15 cases of 3 ounce cans) and treats. I asked for suggestions about how to handle Hatshepsut's strong dietary preferences. The excellent staff shook their heads and said, "Wow. Let us think on that. She won't eat anything canned, huh?"
It was at our last vet appointment (all the cats had to have health certificates in order to enter Canada), a possible solution presented itself. The clinic carries a package called Wild Kitty (I don't name these things). It's a 'kit' for making cat food. You mix the packet contents with one pound of ground chicken or turkey and voila. Raw cat food that I can make just about anywhere there's a grocery store, and I can make it in small enough batches that my teensy freezer can accommodate it. I bought a pack to try out on the youngest, since she was the gating factor in the whole cat food saga.
When I opened the kit packet, all of the cats thought the contents smelled pretty interesting. I reconstituted the freeze-dried ingredients as instructed, then mixed in the ground chicken. Cuillean hopped up on the counter to help herself to a taste test. I gave her a spoonful. Cuillean approved. I offered Hatshepsut a taste. She tried to bury it. Erie comandeered the sample and licked the plate sparkling clean. I gave her more. She ate that, too. Autolycus, by this time, realized his sisters were getting something he wasn't. I offered him a plate. He had to think about it for a split second, but then he licked his plate clean. Perfect. The three cats who didn't need a raw food option all love it.
The one I needed to have eat it, didn't.
I had to resort to big guns. I added soemthing called 'Healthy Powder' to the mix, stirred it up and offered another taste to Hatshepsut. She actually thought about it trying a bite...and she didn't attempt to bury it. Progress. Clearly, bribery was in order. I adorned her sample with a few kibble. No go. I sprinkled crushed Wildside Salmon treat over the top and...SCORE! She ate it. She *liked* it. She didn't polish her plate, but it was a close thing. Yay!
Now, of course, I have to go buy a five month supply of Wild Kitty cat food kits...and Wildside Salmon treats.