Monday 29 April 2024

I ask my cat if he wants wet food and he answers

One of the difficulties for a cat caregiver is ensuring that your cat eats all or nearly all the wet food that you give him/her. You have to minimise waste both for financial reasons and because it is a pain in the bum getting rid of waste cat food. Giving it to the foxes is perhaps the best way if your neighbours don't know about it or accept it. Judging by the stories in the internet sometimes neighbours get angry about feeding wildlife by feeding feral cats. 

Anyway, this is how I minimise wet cat food waste. I ask him. Literally. Of course I also understand his body language and the signals he sends to me when he is interested in a meal but sometimes cats can fool their owners in this regard because they want a treat and not regular food. It is hard to tell the difference.

What I do is this:
  • I ask in English if he wants wet food
  • I place my cat on the kitchen counter - yes, I feed my cat on the kitchen counter. Some people do.
  • I hold up a sachet of wet food - a small sachet to make sure he eats all of it - near his face.
  • If he is interested and genuinely in the mood to eat because he is sufficiently hungry he head butts my hand. The one that is holding the cat food sachet. 
  • He wants it. I remove the food carefully to avoid splashing some on the counter. Sachets can he hard to tear open. I always use a knife to ensure that all the food is extracted. Waste not want not.
  • He eats all the food.
The key is his answer in the affirmative response by head butting my hand. This means he butts the top of his head against it. This is scent exchange - depositing scent on my hand but it also serves as a positive response to my question under these circumstances.

How did I get to this form of communication? It took several years of routine. As they say, patience is all when it comes to training a cat.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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