Okay, I'm not a neophyte to feline relationships. Since leaving my parents' home at age twenty-two, I have always had somewhere between one and three cats.
I've learned to accept the roadkill on my doorstep. I overlook the cat staggering across the tile floor to yak up his undigested dinner on the only Oriental carpet in the house. I no longer object to waking up in the dark to two yellow eyes in front of my nose. I even get out of the way in the bathroom so that the waiting cat can watch the toilet paper swirl in the commode on its way to my septic tank.
I KNOW that, after years of only eating one flavor of catfood, a cat will suddenly tire of that flavor and refuse to ever taste it again. I NEVER buy a large supply of one flavor.
My household operates on a seniority-based protocol. I open three flavors of catfood at each meal and offer the entire selection to Tribble, the twenty-year-old grande dame. Although she almost always chooses Fancy Feast's Chicken Flavor, she will sometimes surprise me by taking the Beef Flavor instead. Bobbin (the two-year-old) prefers the Beef, but is always willing to take one of the remaining two cans.
Dinah (seven months old) joined the household earlier this month when she followed Bob home. After Tribble and Bob choose, I offer Dinah the remaining can (usually Salmon or Tuna). She has been thrilled with whatever flavor the others leave her.
Last week, my grocery store ran a sale on Fancy Feast catfood. Twenty-seven percent off. On top of this, I had a stack of coupons I'd been saving. This brought the price down well below Wal-Mart and Target's prices. I decided to buy 100 cans, which saved me approximately $20 on what would normally be a $55 bill.
Knowing the tendency of evil-minded felines to abruptly abandon a flavor, I was careful to purchase a V-A-R-I-E-T-Y of flavors. With ONE exception. I purchased thirty cans of the freaking Beef flavor, confident that if one suddenly developed a dislike for it, the others would take up the slack.
Friday and Saturday morning went well. Not wanting to throw things off, I offered the same selections I'd been offering for weeks: Chicken, Beef and a seafood du jour.
Then, last night, Tribble turned up her nose at BOTH the Chicken and Beef, opting instead for the Salmon. Not overly concerned, I then offered the Chicken and Beef plates to Bob. To my surprise, he turned down the Beef and took the Chicken instead. I then gave Dinah--who has been willing to eat ANYTHING for three weeks--the Beef. Without hesitation, she walked over to her Iams Kitten Chow and began eating K-I-B-B-L-E!!!
I felt a feather of unease tickle my neck. Still, I gamely left the Beef out, figuring one of the three little demons would polish it off before morning.
This morning, dried, hard Beef stared at me from the dish. I grudgingly threw 35 cents worth of premium catfood down the disposal.
Thinking to outwit the little monsters, I offered Trout, Chopped Grill and Ocean Whitefish for breakfast. Tribble took the Trout. This time, it was Bob who walked over to Dinah's Kitten Chow. Dinah made it clear she was doing me a favor by agreeing to even taste the Chopped Grill. She left half of it behind.
I picked up the kitten kibble, which contains too much protein for an adult cat, and ignored Bob's howls of protest. I told him it was Ocean Whitefish, or he could go hunting for his own meal. In a fit of pique, he stalked out the front door.
Anyone want to buy three cat pelts? Calico, black and black-and-white? There's probably enough fur to make a short boa. I'll even throw in $28.70 of assorted catfood flavors.