Feb. 22nd, 2016

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Saffron is prone to inflammation of the gums, so she eats a prescription diet called TD, which is in large hard pieces that have to be crunched up, not bolted whole as is the feline way. She got the hang of it quite quickly. Cassie eats a different food. They each get a small handful of Greenies dental treats every afternoon. These are also hard and crunchy and need to be chewed. Cassie can bolt them whole if she tries and then eject them in a far more repulsive state, so she gets hers fed to her one at a time. If I'm home, I give the treats to the cats. If I'm not, Raphael gives the treats to them. This situation exists because they are more effective at bothering me as treat time approaches. Yesterday afternoon I was at the MinnStf pool party, so Raphael provided the treats to cats.

For complex historical reasons, Saffron gets her evening food at the foot of my bed, while Cass is shut up in another room lest she eat faster and then come steal the remainder of Saffron's food. So last night I turned off the light to the sound of crunching. At some point Saf leapt from the bed and ran off into the kitchen. She's easily distracted, though it's more common in warmer weather when the windows are open and she can, apparently, hear a rabbit hop through the back yard. It does sometimes seem that she can also hear a spider moving across the kitchen floor. I started to drift off to sleep, and then heard more crunching as, I thought, she finished her food. Then she came and burrowed under the quilt and purred madly and kneaded my arm and we went to sleep.

At six a.m., I came slowly and reluctantly awake to the sound of crunching. Had Saffron actually left some of her dinner for a sunrise snack? No. The plate was empty. The crunching turned to rustling, then to crunching again. I got blearily out of bed, found my keychain with its flashlight, and looked around. Saffron had kindly left her tail sticking out from under the bed. She had a badly-mauled bag of treats and was fishing them out one by one and eating them. I took it away from her, and after wandering around for a few moments, stuck it into a cupboard with a door and went back to bed. For some sleep-befuddled reason, putting it back in the cupboard where it belonged didn't appeal to me because it had cat spit on it. A few last crunches came from under the bed, but then she came back and got very purry with me.

At ten a.m., I was once again awakened by crunching, though no rustling. Raphael had let Cassie out at some point, and both cats were under the bed chasing down the last few treats. There did not seem much point in trying to take the scattered treats away from them. At least the treats were meant to be eaten by cats. This has not always been the case with things I have heard them eating.

They were still quite keen for their breakfast an hour later. Raphael said zie must have failed to put the treat bag away -- it's a bit tricky hand-feeding Cassie and making sure Saffron gets a roughly equal number of treats and doesn't end up taking Cassie's away from her. Their internal protocol seems to be that Cassie gets dibs on food, including Saffron's, but Saf gets dibs on all treats, including Cassie's. I had left the bag out myself just a few days ago, when the phone rang as I was giving them their last couple, but they hadn't yet found the bag when I came to my senses and put it back in the cupboard.

This entire adventure was punctuated, once the sun came up, by the tweeting and squawking of the house sparrows that often nest under my window air conditioner, and by the much less welcome rattle and grind of yet another squirrel trying to chew through the accordions so it could make a nest in the spot between the air conditioner and the edge of the window. The previous air conditioner had been installed with much more room on the left than on the right, and we had hoped that putting the new one in the middle and avoiding the creation of a large space would discourage such activity. Sadly, squirrels trying to make a nest in such a spot mostly seem to be young ones, and they have no sense at all.

Pamela

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