in Cats, Daily Life, Rosings Park

The Pleasures of Self-Sufficiency: A Cat’s Perspective

If I’m going to resume writing here regularly, I’ll obviously be writing more and more about my cats. After all, they rule the house, right? Kris and I are merely here to serve them. Besides, they do plenty of silly things worthy of blog posts.

For example, all four cats — Toto, Simon, Nemo, and Max — are of the firm belief that while human-provided food is great, the best food is the food you provide yourself.

In some cases, this means food they’ve hunted. Simon, as long-time readers will recall, sometimes catches squirrels. (We just put a poor, dead, fat rodent in the trash last week — Kris found it in the rose garden.) Nemo is a fearsome bird hunter, and he especially likes catching baby birds. And Max? Well, Max is an expert and seeking out and destroying unopened bags of cat food.

Because Simon is on an expensive prescription diet for his urinary-tract infection, all of the cats are on the same diet. They all eat the same expensive food. I have to buy this expensive food at the vet, which never has it in stock — they have to special-order it for me. So, to save hassle, I order three bags at a time and then store them in the basement.

Max, the fearsome hunter, likes to venture into the basement whenever possible. His mission? To stalk the bags of unopened cat food, and to tear them apart. He enjoys the thrill of the hunt, and he especially enjoys the seemingly endless supply of food once he’s killed a bag. (Nemo enjoys this, too. In fact, he invented this game. Lately, though, he lets Max do the killing.)

We do our best to keep Max away from the expensive cat-food bags, but it’s not always possible. And sometimes, we just forget.

This morning, I woke early and came downstairs in the dark. I opened the door for the Cat Swap. The Cat Swap occurs when Toto comes in from her nightly exile (since she started peeing outside the litterbox, she’s banished to a heating pad on the porch every night), and one or more of her brothers bolts to the freedom of Outside.

After the Cat Swap, Toto usually begins crying for food. Her bowl under the kitchen table is empty because Max has eaten it all during the night. (Max has no off switch. He will eat and eat and eat until there’s no food left.) But this morning was strangely different.

While I spent a few minutes in the bathroom, Toto was silent. There was no yowling, no insistent begging. Instead, I could actually hear her crunching on food. “That’s strange,” I thought. “Why didn’t Max eat it all overnight?” When I came out into the kitchen, I saw.

Toto enjoys breakfast from the bag
Toto is perturbed at being disturbed from her breakfast buffet.

Max had indeed made his best effort to eat all of the food overnight. But it wasn’t the food in the bowl he’d been consuming. Instead, he’d torn open the cat-food bag I brought home yesterday (and foolishly left in the kitchen). All night long, he’d been feasting from the bag, enjoying the fruits of self-sufficiency. And now, Toto and Simon were contentedly following in his pawsteps: They were crunching away from the never-ending fount of food pouring from the bag.

“Dad,” they seemed to say. “This is a fantastic idea. Can this be a regular thing?” Nothing seems better to a cat than an entire bag of cat food, just sitting there, ready to be eaten.



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  1. My favorite part is how even after I put food in her bowl — including wet food, her favorite! — Toto is still eating from the bag. Because, come on, the food you find yourself is so much better than anything that’s served to you. Right?

  2. JD, we are in a similar situation. We don’t have a vehicle, so when we buy cat food we stock up. That being said, we don’t store the food in the bag it comes in. Instead, we pour it into a Rubbermaid tote and store the food in there, so our little one can’t get into it. Perhaps a similar thing would work with your cats.

  3. Ha! My cat tries to do the same thing, but she hasn’t figured out how to get into the bag (we buy science diet, and it is vaguely plasticy). She loves to eat.

    Have you considered putting the bags of food into a rubbermaid bin? That would keep the cats (and any bugs) out of it.