Being the mother of multiple cats, I frequently find myself in the cat food aisle at the store. I’m not new to cat parenting. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. But it still amazes me when I find myself standing, gazing at the vast array of neatly stacked cans of feline foodstuffs. And over the years, the choices have multiplied tenfold.
First, you have the brand distinction…9 Lives, Friskies, Fancy Feast, Whiskas, Science Diet, Iams, as well as all the store brands. Then, within each brand, there are endless varieties…bits, shreds, filets, tenders, pate’, tasty treasures…and tens of flavor choices. Some flavor names are straightforward, such as Tuna, Beef, Liver, Chicken, or Turkey. Others make it sound sort of fast-foot kitschy, like Sea Captain’s Choice, Super Supper, Mariner’s Catch, and Country Style Dinner. Then you have your combos, like Ocean Whitefish & Tuna, Turkey & Giblets, Liver & Chicken, or Chicken & Tuna. And then you get into the specialty foods, like those for indoor cats, senior cats, or kittens.
There is no lack of variety or choice. The thing that often strikes me as funny is how we humans stand in the aisle and make the decision as to which cat food to buy. I’ve even had conversations with other people, doing the same thing, and we muse at how ridiculous it is to be so choosy. Even though I’ve done this hundreds of times, I STILL stand there and look, and look, and then debate which kinds to purchase. Do we base our decisions on our own taste preferences? I doubt many cat owners have actually TASTED any of these flavors of cat food, yet we spend just as much, if not more time, choosing cat foods as we do choosing our own groceries.
Do we pretend to know our cats’ preferences? Because last I checked, my cats change their little kitty minds on a daily basis. As soon as I discover that they seem to vacuum up a certain flavor of cat food, and stock up on it, sure enough, they stick up their noses at it the next time I serve it. And it absolutely drives me crazy when they leave food sitting in their cute little bowls to dry up and get hard, which I then have to scrape out of the bowl. When they do this, I hold off on giving them more canned food, yet they gather at the bowls, and sit there staring at me. It’s as if they are saying, “Hey! What about us? Aren’t you going to feed us? We’re wasting away to nothing here!”