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If necessity is the father of invention, Ripley must think that it is truly necessary to eat way, way too much cat food. As the weeks of her diet have gone by, her tactics have become increasingly complex and increasingly desperate. And, ironically, the agility and energy she has gained through her diet has only given her an advantage in her constant quest.
In the first weeks, Ripley played with our emotions to get food – those big, dumb golden eyes looking at me saying, if you loved me, if you weren’t a cruel monster, you would give me sustenance. She would then throw her body against my legs and meow as if she hadn’t eaten in weeks. She would go nuts if either of us even approached the kitchen and even extra crazy if in the kitchen we 1) ate something or 2) opened a bag or can. It was a simple scheme, but it worked from time to time.
After we started to see results and after my heart hardened against her pleas, Ripley had to move a step up from toying with our emotions. By which I mean, of course, repeatedly knocking over the trash can. Whether this was to find scraps or simply a gesture of warning to the humans — if you don’t feed me, I will destroy your lives - I’m not sure. But I am sure that raw chicken gets really, really gross after sitting at room temperature in the garbage after even an hour or two.
The next thing she tried was smarter. If Ben fed her, Ripley would scarf it down and then start harassing me as if she hadn’t eaten yet. If I fed her, she would know to go find Ben and play all hungry and innocent. It was truly an ancient war tactic: split the forces, confuse them, and conquer. We’re not sure how many double feedings she got from this method, but we caught on before too long.
Then a few nights ago I was making dinner in the kitchen. I opened a can of diced tomatoes and Ripley immediately ran into the room to inspect the situation. Ripley only gets canned food once or twice a week (variety is important in any diet, especially of the turkey-in-gravy kind) and she generally thinks that anything that comes in a can is a gift to be bestowed on her.
I said, “No, Ripley. This is not turkey in gravy. This is boring human food.” But she was convinced I was lying to her. And then she stood up on two feet and took two steps toward me in a desperate attempt to reach supposed canned kitty food. I’m guessing that by next month she’ll be perfecting a tiny kitty hover car or some contraption that will beam her to the nearest cat food location.