Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No More Healthy Crunchies

Emma really didn't like the Natural Iams crunchies. Most of you will remember the pet deaths that were attributed to adulterated wheat gluten imported from China. Cats were particularly susceptible, as the melamine contamination caused kidney failure, the primary killer of household cats. The Iams that we'd been feeding our cats wasn't affected, but we'd been thinking about switching them to some kind of organic cat food. (Yes, I know they are "just" cats.)

So J returned from the store one day with Iams Natural. It didn't claim to be organic and, on reading the label, it seemed to contain the very same ingredients as the regular Iams. Well, we tried it on the cats. At least they didn't have the same reaction as our very first cat, Alexis, to our attempt the upgrade her food in, I think, 1984. She waited until we were at the dinner table, walked over to her food bowl, scooped the offending crunchies from her bowl and flung them across the kitchen floor. We got the message.

Emma, though, has never been that interested in food. She rejected human food treats from kittenhood, indicating her preference for crunchies--just crunchies. So we were surprised that she didn't adapt to the new regimen; we figured that she would eat what was set before her. Foolish us.

She didn't make any direct complaint. She just didn't eat very much. Her visits to her food bowl were shorter and less frequent. She dawdled, ate only a few crunchies and then left. Dash, of course, didn't have the same reaction. Maintaining his embarrassing 14 pounds requires regular communion with his food, and so he did what needed to be done.

The real evidence of her disdain for the so-called "natural" cat food was her obvious joy at the return of her regular food. We've mixed the food together in an attempt to trick them into eating the rest of the offending crunchies, but Emma seems to have mastered picking through them to find the food she likes on her more frequent trips to her food bowl. She's making up for the lean weeks.

Someday she will forgive us.

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