Tuesday, December 16, 2014

cat column

There's been big changes in our cat culture here lately, and if they think it's because of the visit they paid to the vet yesterday (always a traumatic occasion), they're right.

Maia had been eating by grazing at an always-filled bowl on the counter in the upstairs bath, where we'd kept it ever since that was the room we kept her in for a week when we first got her, so she knew food was there, and Pippin wouldn't find it.

Meanwhile Pippin was on a strict diet, so we fed him twice a day, and since Maia (like Pandora before her) would nudge her way into his food despite having her own, and he is too much of a giant wuss to stop her, I'd developed the practice of using Pippin's feeding time as Maia's playtime, enough so that Maia came to know to wait under the cat tree as I put Pippin's bowl out, because that meant the delectable peacock feather would soon make an appearance. (I am still holding back the laser pointer until she gets older and slower, because the laser pointer is the turbo-charged crack of cat toys.)

But now the vet says that Maia could use a bit of a diet too, a bit of a surprise since she's never eaten all that much, but now Pippin's mealtime is hers too. Pippin eats on a blanket by the piano bench, where we originally put his food in a futile attempt to keep it away from Pandora whose food was in the kitchen, and when Maia isn't playing and isn't stealing his food she likes to watch him from above. So now we put her food on top of the piano bench, where again Pippin is unlikely to notice it. It took Maia a few days to figure out that Pippin's foodtime was now her foodtime too, but again she eats a little and goes away.

It does mean that Maia's playtime has been moved away from mealtimes, and she lets me know when she'd like to play by flopping on the floor, usually upstairs, where I've taken to petting her with my foot. We then either play on the cat tree downstairs, or I stand on the staircase and drag the feather across the carpet on the upstairs landing, which she also loves.

The only catch is that it turns out that Pippin, who would like more food than he gets, associates Maia's playtime with his mealtime as firmly as Maia had associated them the other way around, and when I play with her he comes up and gives a "well, are you going to feed me?" look.

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