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March 24, 2004: Feeding trials

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The past month weve tried a little experiment. Instead of chasing three cats around the house and trying to lock two of them in one room and the third in another room, all with their own special kind of very expensive prescription food while the remaining four cats scream at us from the floor and mill around our ankles doing their best to trip us so they might get fed too, we decided to hold our breaths and switch everyone to the most popular of the prescription foods, since all the cats had already proven they were more than happy to eat it. I think the fact that it is far more expensive than their other food probably had a lot to do with why they were all so happy to chow down on the new stuff.

Anyway, at first the experiment seemed to have been a success. After all, one of my biggest fears was that Tangerine would get sick again, since cats with irritable bowel syndrome tend to be prone to having nasty reactions to certain grains and proteins used in cat food. Plus my attempts to get actual information about the topic from Hills (the makers of Science Diet) met with miserable failure, due to the fact that the person who answers the customer support emails seemed completely incapable of answering a simple yes or no question, and instead felt that sending me pdfs of nutritional information I can easily get by reading the damn bag (and which did not answer my question, which was why I tried to contact them in the first place) should be sufficient. Thank you, Hills, for nothing.

But I digress. Despite my worries, Tangerine seems to be perfectly happy and healthy and her recent daily trend of having at least one mad dash up and down the stairs at top speed followed by a race around the downstairs circle while narrowly avoiding crashing into at least two other cats and possibly one human seems unabated. All the other cats have been eating the food and acting healthy, plus there was the very lovely added bonus that if this worked out we could go back to free feeding and not having to plan our lives around getting home to feed the cats.

Alas, as nice as it was while it lasted, the experiment ultimately failed. I took Rebecca (aka crotchety old lady cat) into the vet on Monday afternoon for yet another round of blood tests and discovered that her levels of whatever the heck it is they measure to test for kidney disease have climbed even higher, which requires that she go on a prescription diet. And, of course, this prescription diet is exactly the opposite kind of diet that the other cats need, and now we are right back where we started. Well, not really as bad as all that, actually, since now its only one cat we have to chase around the house and since there are two humans, one human can be getting the food for the rest of the horde so the other human can snag the ornery little tortoiseshell without fear of being tripped while climbing the stairs.

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