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Food cat-astrophe

I screwed up my cat’s food and I have the carpet stains to prove it.

Officer Krupke has been on prescription diet cat food because some of the weight I lost found him. I noticed his food was getting low over the weekend. I later discovered that one and a half cups of kibble looks a lot bigger than I thought it did because I hit the bottom of the bag by Monday when the vet reopened. I drove by after work to pick up a new bag just in the nick of time. When I walked in the door, I looked at the white, wire shelves and…the logos were all wrong. They’d switched brands! I got a prescription to buy his food at another store, but was unable to get any before they closed.

Now, I know you’re not supposed to change your cat’s food suddenly, that this is a big no-no, and that I should have really known better. But given the choice between listening to a cat moan, “Give me food!” in meow-speak all night and giving him a cup of his old food, I went with the option that let me sleep without earmuffs. I poured a serving into his bowl and I was surprised when he actually ate it. I had a special, magical cat who was not finicky about food at all! How wonderful! Since he seemed just fine with this arrangement, I put off the process of getting his diet cat food for another couple days until it was convenient. I had to go through a big rigmarole faxing medical records and getting a card that allowed me buy the food which was a “controlled substance.” We can’t let the diet cat food or the cough syrup get into the wrong hands, can we? Then I switched him back to his diet food, again suddenly, because I am a big moron with the word “stupidhead” tattooed on my cheek.

Two days later Krupke would not eat at all. Not the old food, not the new food, not even tuna juice. And he puked. Three times in two days. I knew it was really bad when I woke up to my alarm and not to a cat scratching on the bedroom door asking for breakfast. I thought switching a cat’s food was like trying to serve brussel sprouts to a five-year-old. Turns out, it’s more like serving a vegan a juicy porterhouse steak. Their stomachs cannot handle it.

I could barely handle it either, trying to get my little kitty to eat something, anything. Krupke needs to lose weight, but crash dieting is not the answer! I was worried and on edge for several days, unable to concentrate and grateful for all the junk TV shows I’d acquired that were able to distract my mind without requiring too much focus. After the vomiting, I took Krupke to the vet and they gave us some special food to tempt him back to eating. As I opened the can and waved the cat food equivalent of Twinkies under Krupke’s nose to little reaction, I had true sympathy for the parents of anorexic children. Why wouldn’t he just eat, damn it?! Couldn’t he see how this was destroying me, the worry eating into my soul like heartworms? Worse yet, this was all my fault, yet it seemed perfectly sensible at the time. It was again proof that people who do crazy things (like suddenly changing their cat’s food) can always come up with rationalizations in the moment that make it sound not crazy at all.

I’m happy to say Krupke finally started eating again yesterday. I don’t know why. I don’t care. But I cannot describe the joy I felt when he started licking ground-up protein out of the metal can this morning. Truly, I wanted to dance around the living room singing, “Krupke ate some food! Yippee!!” Funny how something I took for granted a week ago seems so special now. Funny, too, how stuff like eating right and exercising suddenly seemed a lot less important this week than sitting on the couch worrying about my feline’s digestive track. I didn’t work out as much as I usually do, even though I know exercising is supposed to help you de-stress. And I ate more than I usually do too, which just goes to show that I might still have emotional eating issues even if they aren’t the only reason I got as fat as I did. It’s easier to avoid emotional eating when your life is not overly emotional. However, I think half the reason I started eating more was because that’s what I thought was expected of me. “Oh hey, I’m stressed. I should go eat because I’m a former fat girl and that’s what I’m supposed to do.” It was very empty and didn’t make me feel any better, though it did give me something to do besides watch TV. I don’t know if I did it just because I have emotional eating tendencies or if I’ve been thinking about emotional eating so much lately that I felt like I should do it as some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also learned that the next time my vet ever runs out of cat food after the pet stores are closed, it is a perfectly reasonable alternative to smash the glass of the entrance door and steal a bag of the controlled substance. I will even leave cash on the counter to pay for repairs and the food, as long as I never have to clean cat vomit out of the carpet again.

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23 Comments

Olivia • October 12, 2007 at 8:33 am

And cats alway vomit on the carpet, don’t they? Never on the kitchen linoleum where it would be easy to clean up. Glad your kitty’s feeling better.

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anji • October 12, 2007 at 8:41 am

I’m glad your kitty is eating again and better. I just had to put mine down on Tuesday because he had kidney failure :( He didn’t eat for several days and held on until I got back home (I was out of town during the week for the past five months…) I just got home “for good” on Friday… and Tuesday he was too ill to go on further. I’m so happy for you he started to eat again :D Cherish your moments… I totally get what you’re saying, “one week ago I took it for granted”….. our siamese has now stopped looking for him… the dog understood… give your little guy a squeeze (hug, not a neck choke!) for me :)

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psychsarah • October 12, 2007 at 9:23 am

Anji-I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. As an animal lover I know how they are really part of the family, and we truly mourn their loss. I got a little choked up reading your post, because my cat is getting on in years, and although she’s healthy now, I loathe the thought of one day doing what you had to this week. My heart goes out to you!

PQ-Glad your kitty is doing better. It is so stressful when the animals are sick! A fey years ago my cat had a crazy infection where she couldn’t keep anything down and got all bony and scrawny and required a $1200 operation to make her better. I had to wait until I got paid in order to fund the operation and the wait was agony! (On the brighter side, Tiger is happy and healthy these days thanks to the surgery.) If I get this wrapped up in my animals, I can’t imagine what people go through when their kids are sick!

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Reb • October 12, 2007 at 10:12 am

So sorry to hear about your cat. But, at least it was vomit ;)

My friends have always fed their cat the same food as what I feed mine. Imagine our surprise, when on a road trip, they had changed Kalons food and forgot to mention it. Sibu, my long hair cat, got the trots on the way home! Here I am using curved nail sissors (after a whole lot of baby wipes) trimming his butt in the dark in the back seat of a car. In between him running back & forth to the litter box and having to start over each time with the baby wipes.

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BrightAngel • October 12, 2007 at 10:39 am

My two tabby cats eat Healthy Choice Original dry food,

AND baby food. It has to be Beachnut Chicken with chicken broth. They won’t eat other kinds of meat, nor will they eat Gerbers…..nor anything from the table….

However, yesterday I saw my most finicky cat eat all of a dead raw bird…nothing was left of it except about 10 feathers. and she carefully considered eating them.

Funny thing..

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Diana the Scale Junkie • October 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

Can we expect 3-D progress photos of Mr Krupke? Seriously, I hope he is feeling better soon.

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jessica~ • October 12, 2007 at 11:16 am

Your cats name is Officer Krupke? That is so awesome.

Glad he’s eating again! I didn’t realize the changing of food was so drastic… explains a few things in my home (I have a pukey cat).

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Mia • October 12, 2007 at 11:32 am

Awww. Poor kitty! I’m glad he’s better. So, you like West Side Story?

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PastaQueen • October 12, 2007 at 11:38 am

Since people are asking, here is the short version of how Officer Krupke got his name. I have a friend who used to be a clerk at the police station. Stray cats liked to hang out in the police garage because it was warm. One day a kitty followed her inside after her smoke break. We figure he wanted to report himself missing. My friend named him Officer Krupke because of the police connection and because she likes musical theater. I adopted him because her apartment didn’t allow cats and kept the name.

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Jenny • October 12, 2007 at 11:48 am

Mr Krupke – I love that name and I’m glad he’s back to being your cat.

Did you obsessively Google “digest track” “puke” and “green”? Because that’s what I do…. with a bag of chips next to the monitor.

Not pretty.

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Jenniy • October 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Poor Mr. Krupke! I’ve been told that when changing my dogs food I should mix some of the old with the new just to get her used to it, but I’ve never had a problem getting her to eat no matter how sudden the change was.

There have been times when I’ve ran out of dog food before I could get more and fed her a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast. I figured of all the things I could give her out of my pantry, that was probably the least bad. I’ve never seen her eat so quickly in my life.

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d • October 12, 2007 at 1:18 pm

aww, sorry about your cat, glad he’s feeling better

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Jeanne • October 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

“It’s easier to avoid emotional eating when your life is not overly emotional.” Truer words have never been said.

Just being fat was an emotional issue for me, which led to overeating, which led to more weight… etc. Toss in any financial, medical or family issues and, for me, we had a recipe for one chunky, unhappy girl.

As cliche as it sounds, food really was my “drug of choice”. But now, as long as I stay focused with the truth that good food is fuel and eat only for that purpose, I stay on track. But it is a day-to-day commitment.

P.S. Glad Officer Krupke is on the mend!

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G.G. • October 12, 2007 at 1:43 pm

I had a similar food “cat”astrophe with my 80-lb Catahoula Leopard dog.

Results were not pretty–I will NEVER let the food bag get that low again. It’s funny–this is a dog that eats shoes and cell phones and cotton balls without any apparent problem–but switching from one flavor to another of the same dog food (Vet. Science Large Breed) did a number on her.

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Holly • October 12, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Perhaps your emotional eating wasn’t that at all, but you were just trying to lead by example! “Look, I’m eating you should too!”

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

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origamifreak • October 12, 2007 at 8:19 pm

I second the baby food. A friend has a cat living with FeLV, and when he’s not feeling well, extra soft (stage 1) baby food always works to get nutrients in (with him, any meat flavor is fine).

My cats get little tastes of whatever I’m having, in their own tiny 3in dishes, (dairy, meat, or legume). The variety seems to help keep their digestive tracts flexible. Taking them outside on leashes for grass and fresh air periodically also seems to help.

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Jen • October 13, 2007 at 9:12 am

Glad the kitty is OK. That kind of stuff is hard — guilt, worry, fear.

And I LOVE the title Half-Assed and the new cover, which is perfect! It will literally fly off the shelves as if it had Shauna’s supergirl suit on.

Hooray!

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Donna • October 13, 2007 at 8:11 pm

I’m glad your kitty is OK. I’ve had the exact opposite reaction to tragedy with pets. I lost my favorite cat last year to kidney failure and couldn’t eat for a week. I was a pet-sitter for my brother’s cat last fall when he developed a terminal illness. I lost 5 lbs. in two weeks staying up all night, taking him to the vet every day and not even thinking about my eating. He didn’t make it. And this spring a stray cat who came to my house was in a horrible fight with another animal and 50 stitches later, I lost another 5 lbs. focusing on his injuries. I realize everyone’s response to stress and tragedy is different. It still boils down to choices. And you are responsible for your own choices. My choice was to priortize the situation with the animal and give everything I had to caring for the animal.

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Erin • October 13, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Hey, I am glad Officer Krupke is okay, she made a pretty good escape from a more serious health problem, if cats especially fat cats stop eating after three days they can get hepatic lipidosis, which can land them in the hospital with a feeding tube or being force fed (which believe me is not an easy thing to do with a cat) it is pretty funny to think that a disease which is mainlhy seen in fat cats is cured by feeding them.

By the way I love the title half assed, I think it leans towards how your writting is, it shows you have a sense of humour.

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Kat • October 15, 2007 at 6:20 am

So glad your kitty is okay. I know all about the worry you go through when a beloved pet is ill. My cat was just diagnosed with epilepsy, and it’s taken two months to finally get her on the right dose of meds and get her seizures in check (i.e. not happening.)

I couldn’t agree more with Jeanne who said:”Truer words have never been said” regarding your “It’s easier to avoid emotional eating when your life is not overly emotional” comment.

I just weighed myself for the first time in five months, and I’ve put on 18 pounds, which brings me to 216lbs at 5’2″. I’m horrified. I know it has to do with emotional eating. I’ve decided to follow PastaQueen’s example and get my weight under control.

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kathryn • October 17, 2007 at 1:09 am

Last time the cat food manufacturers changes packaging we bought dog food by mistake. I was so concentrated on the words “light” I didn’t notice the tiny, cute little puppy on the packet.

We then spent two days wondering why the cat kept on vomiting 30 minutes after eating.

I felt awful once we realised.

Plus what do you do with an unwanted, opened 10kg packet of light dog food?

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cathy • November 22, 2007 at 3:30 am

Help Please. My cat survived a dog attack. Unfortunetly, his only existing problem is that I can’t get my than 20lb cat to eat ANYTHING! I will try the two kinds of baby food and possibly start force feeding him tomorrow as requested by his vet. Otherwise we are looking at some serious money putting him on a food tube and hospital time. Please tell me what worked for you and maybe it will save my little one’s life

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Elizabeth • May 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

I often have “a-ha” moments when reading your blog, but I had another one today. “Eating because I am stressed and that’s what fat girls are supposed to do.” Light-bulb-brilliant. Thank you.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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