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.