Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Snacks


It’s the human’s fault.  She was trying to add variety and hunting opportunities to the kitties’ daily repertoire.  The meows were pestering for snacks, so the 2-legged flipped the much-beloved scratching disc upside down. On the reverse side, there is a maze-like structure with a ball inside — yes, a ball with a bell! — and a series of interesting holes on top that are just the perfect size for kitty paws to explore.To entice the kitties to investigate the holes, the human put a small pile of dried organic catnip on top and then carefully — while the felines were watching — nudged raw freeze-dried meat snacks from the surface of the maze into the holes.  The kitties watched with fascination and even went over and looked inside the structure. The Merkitty hopped up, took a sniff of the ‘nip, and immediately was overcome with paroxysms of delight.  The other cats had to move back or risk getting hit by her flailing limbs and rolling body.  As she thrashed about, she would bat the ball that rolls along the track on the outside of the toy sending it spinning around the track.  Pretty quickly, she cleared the deck of other cats. Over a period of several days, the human added more snacks and more ‘nip to the surface, but she never saw a single kitty paw raised to explore.  Eventually, she fished out the snacks and turned the disc back over so the scratching surface was face up. Some hunters they are!


(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


Self-Serve Cookies

Since the morning snack is one of the highlights of both the 4-legged and 2-legged people’s day, the human tried an experiment.First she took the lid off the kitties’ snack container (aka cookie jar), then stood back to see what would happen. Many noses (followed by kitty bodies) moved over to sniff at the interesting object.Next, the human tipped the container on its side to see what they would do.  She figured the three biggest snack monsters — Caesar, Mac, and Corky — would soon help themselves. At first everyone sat around looking at this unprecedented situation.  <<Is this for real? Can we really go fishing for our own cookies?>>Corky, always up for a game involving food, stuck his paw into the container and soon hooked a snack, flipped it out, and started eating it off the rug.  
Mac was fascinated and Pepe was right there watching his brother.  Initially Caesar appeared disinterested, but he soon got involved in the goings on. Fireball moved back to sit by a chair. Perhaps he thought it was a trap.  <<No way the 2-legged will let us eat all the snacks we want. She’s being a tricky human again.>>At first Corky was unstoppable, but then Pepe muscled in and started digging for yummies too.Interestingly, no member of the Trio reached in and helped themselves, although Miss Mac got mighty close. <<First time for everything!>> The same cannot be said for the Duo, who got busy pulling snacks out and eating them. Well, the human watched and took pictures for many minutes. The two brave kitties got a fistful of snacks. The others were given a few snacks handpicked by the human. All in all, an interesting experiment for one and all.


(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Cookie Jar

The kitties each get 2 raw freeze-dried treats from the “cookie jar” in the morning. This temporarily fills big holes in little tummies and buys the human a bit of time to get their soft food prepared before the yowling begins.  Originally, the human used to toss treats around on the floor and invite each cat to go chase down the snacks. Most would literally hunker down and stare at the human as if she was crazy. Even when the human managed to successfully get a snack to land right beside a cat, the cat usually could not be bothered to turn and nibble. However, if the human kneels down on the floor and puts all the treats out in front of the cats, then they are happy to eat. While one could never really say they are well behaved as the human prepares to divvy up snacks, they are remarkably restrained given how they act at other times.The trick is not to stay and enjoy watching them nosh on their nibbles, but to quickly put the lid back on and run to the kitchen and get the soft food prepared as soon as possible. Some mornings the human remembers the bigger goal; some mornings she just enjoys watching the penta pack enjoy their treats. Those days she deserves the yowling that follows.



(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

New Toy Gets an Inspection

The human found the cutest toy on sale at a store. It’s a stack of 3 plastic rings that each holds 1 plastic ball that rolls around in a track on its level. It’s similar to the scratching disc with the one track on the side that holds a single ball. Given how much fun the cats eventually had with the scratching disc/track ball, the human figured the felines would absolutely love this toy. Boy was she in for a disappointment!The human proudly presented the toy to the meows.  First Pepe approached it and gave it a few sniffs.  He almost seemed a tad puzzled with it at first. Soon enough that little cuffy paw came up and started investigating. <<I wonder if there are secret eyes on the bottom of kitty paws?>> Pepe walked away.Corky showed up next and gave it a sniff. He didn’t seem very impressed. Of course, as soon as Corky showed up and started checking out the toy, his brother had to come back and claim it. Corky walked away.Next up, Caesar arrived. A quick sniff identified the item as not food. Since it wasn’t doing anything, he deemed it less than entertaining and just sat down to watch. In came Fireball and he too gave it a sniff. It goes without saying that no one seemed very excited. <<Showing the human she’d done something good breaks some unwritten kitty rule about how to properly train a human. Keep the 2-legged humble by rejecting nearly everything she gives you and that will guarantee the human will keep on trying.>>Cue the Merkitty, who also gave it a sniff while Caesar started grooming Fireball as he washed his side.  <<Ho hum, human.>>A quick circle around the toy and the Merkitty flopped on her side and lay there. <<You paid $6 for that? What a waste of money!>> The other cats started to disperse.Corky gave it one last sniff while the Merkitty did head rolls. <<Bah humbug!>>There’s a bar on the new toy that goes across the top to make it easier to carry, and you can look down to the floor below. Given the dismal reception the toy received, and to encourage further kitty interest, the human tucked some treats down inside.  When she came downstairs the next day, the stack had been moved way across the floor and there was only a single treat left inside, so someone had fun with it.  Of course, since the human couldn’t see the cats having fun, it was okay for them to go ahead and enjoy the toy…just don’t let the human see that happening!


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Will You Stop Fussing & Get My Breakfast?

Who cares if the bed is made, the water bowls are washed and refilled, the plants are watered, and the litter boxes are cleaned?  I want food, and I want it now!  And I want better food than what you’ve been serving.  No, I can’t tell you what I want, not exactly, but I know it’s not any of the 5 bags of crunchies and 4 cans of soft food that you currently have open. You’re a human. Can’t you figure it out?


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Better, but STILL Not Kitty Grass!

The human still hasn’t found organic wheat grass for the fur furs.  It seems like the local supplies have dried up with the hot weather. Since the last of the old wheat grass was pretty passé, they ignored the rosemary plant, and previous attempts to cut grass and catnip leaves and bring them inside haven’t gone over well, the human was on a mission to find something else.  When she saw a “buy 1, get 1 free” special on live catnip plants the other day, she picked up a pair and triumphantly brought them home and presented the containers to her overlords and overlady.  As you can see, while they were interested and gave the plants an initial sniff or two, that’s about as far as that went. Now mind you, when the human does manage to get cat grass and bring it home, they’ll have 5 minutes of excitement and then ignore that plant too.


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Must Get the Very Last Crunchie!

Heard a crash early in the morning. Groggy mind went through the options and decided to stay in bed and return to sleep.Sure enough, when the lazy human woke up, this is what she found when she went to change water in the water bowls.Someone was trying to capture fallen crunchies by pulling the absorbent pad out from under the water and, by then, empty crunchy bowls. Funny thing about the rack…it tips over when you pull the pad out from under it.  Notice the flood? Thank goodness the grey rubber mat caught the worst of it. Argh. Merkitty is the suspect.


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Bad Crunchies Again

img_4231Well, the human is back in the dog house. She found a bag of crunchies on sale that she’d really wanted to try. They are only partially dehydrated, so in consistency they fall somewhere between a soft treat and the usual hard crunchy.  They also are grain free and didn’t have any undesirable ingredients other than a bit of potato. She nabbed a bag (now 1/3 off) and took it home to her kitties. Sad to say, the new crunchies didn’t go over well, as you can see from above.

The human’s theory is that the reason the whole feeding station is upended is that the kitties were trying to find some of the “acceptable” crunchies that inevitably fall underneath the rack and bowls. (They are very messy eaters!) In trying to pull the absorbent pad with the good crunchies on it closer to their mouths, the tray and bowls that were sitting on the pad flipped over in the other direction. This has all the earmarks of the Merkitty, who has been fairly mellow these last few months…as long as the human was supplying acceptable crunchies. Mess up in that critical department and there is always hell to pay.  Such a Merkitty!

By the way, if anyone can figure out what constitutes an acceptable and a not-acceptable crunchy, please let the human know. She’s sick and tired of paying good money for ultra-premium pet food that the overlords won’t eat. Maybe they need a week of Friskies and 9-Lives to recall that they get pretty good chow in this house.


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Table Thief

img_4105Pepe and the human have been going round and round of late on the matter of the silly rule that no cats are allowed on the table or the kitchen counter. They can visit almost anywhere else in the house, but not there.img_4106Unlike his brother Corky, who seems to have no problem with the rule change, Pepe has not adjusted since moving from next door almost 2 years ago.  He’s still testing boundaries on a daily basis.img_4111When the human is eating, she must pull “his” chair up beside her own and pet him while she tries to eat, read, journal, talk with someone on the phone, or catch up on news. There is no excuse for not giving him 100% of her attention. When her attention drifts, as often it does, he keeps things lively, as would be expected.img_4108For example, he is trying to convince the human that just having his front paws on the table doesn’t count as being on the table. After all, most of him is still in the chair.img_4110And leaning forward onto his paws so his chest is on the table still does not constitute a violation of that boundary.img_4114Just let the human leave her seat for a minute to pour a cup of coffee or grab a condiment and the seat stealer is right there sitting in her spot.img_4115And if she has to be gone more than a minute, watch out:  any small item of interest on the table within reach of those paws is fair game to be knocked off and chased around on the floor.img_4118Just before Thanksgiving, the human (who had been working late) decided to use up some leftovers. She poured some crackers onto a dish while she cut a chunk of cheese.  She ate her food while Pepe fussed around on his chair looking for entertainment. The human stood up and turned to the sink for just a minute only to hear Pepe hop into her chair, knock something off the table, and then start chasing it around the slippery kitchen floor like a hockey player.img_4123The human looked back at her spot but could not figure out what the little thief had nabbed. Round and round the kitchen Pepe ran at a faster and faster pace.img_4124The human followed him into a corner only to see the purloined object slide under a rack that holds heavy Dutch ovens. She gave up and went back to her meal only to have Pepe reappear at her feet and leave whatever had been pilfered.img_4121Looking down she saw that it was a broken cracker. Huh! At least he didn’t eat it.img_4120 She got up to put the cracker in the compost pail, then offered him a pen cap, which he usually likes to chase all over the floor — but not that night.img_4125Next the human offered him a nickel figuring it would slide along the floor really fast. Alas, since it was offered, not stolen, the coin held no interest for the feline either.
img_4126Later, after the human had had her meal and cleaned up, she came back down to the kitchen for something only to find that an AA battery that had been sitting in a dish on the table was now on the floor lodged behind a piece of furniture. Cats!


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Canny Carnivores

img_3911Alas, all those packaging experts who claim that expensive, impossible to recycle multi-layer packaging keeps freshness locked into the bag and seals out oxygen that degrades food have never met my crew’s noses.  img_3912A few months back the busy human walked out to the kitchen while working late one evening. She’d barely crossed the threshold when she found a bag of crunchies laying on its side with kibble spilling out of a sizable gash.  Lest you think she temps fate often, she’d purchased the bag earlier that day and placed by the cellar door with the intention of carrying it downstairs and securing it in a heavy plastic container before she went to bed. She was too late.img_3913Clearly, the fancy packaging had not locked freshness (and the delicious odors) inside the bag and one (or more) of the cats had smelled them and decided to have a bit of an explore. Alas, with cats, there are so many lessons to learn…


(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.