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How To Know Your Cat Loves You
Three years ago, my wife went on a trip to the local animal shelter in search of a cat. She wanted to adopt one, but she was looking for a particular one. She had been to the shelter before and not found the One she wanted so she tried our local pet store, which brings in outlying shelters on Saturday's for a gathering. Some of the shelters come from as far away as 75 miles or so just to try and place their pets with a loving family.
On this day my wife spied a pair of kittens which appeared to be of Siamese descent, one female and one male. The female was small and seemed sickly while the male was somewhat larger and she fell in love with him immediately.
We had recently lost a cat which I had found while deer hunting. He had been named Fred Bear, Bear for short. He had died in a tragic accident involving a chain link fence, one which I had never heard or seen of before or since. Our family had been distraught so Tina decided to try to help us heal by finding us another kitten.
He became Zhu Zhu.
Zhu Zhu grew to be a large cat, weighing close to twenty pounds now. He is not fat by any means and I wonder if he has a little Maine Coon in him to give him this size. Overall length is nearly three feet nose to tail.
Now some people would say we spoil our pets by buying them reasonably expensive food. The dog food of choice for Duckie, my AKC show Labrador runs close to $50 per 35 pound bag but he eats less of it and poops much less than a cheaper dog food. Hollie, our 18 year old Shih Tzu eats a Sensitive Stomach food that costs $15 for a 11 pound bag. And our cats, Zhu Zhu and Puss Puss eat good food as well.
But not all good food is equal, as we came to discover.
We had been buying a cat food by Blue Buffalo known as Wilderness. High Protein, grain free and packed with nutrients and antioxidants and something called LifeSource Bits. It runs us about $13 for a 5 pound bag or $27 for an 11 pound bag with our discount card at Pet Smart. But the other side of the coin is they eat less than another, cheaper food and they only poop once a day. Pretty good trade off if you ask me.
On our last visit to the vet for a checkup, the vet asked what we were feeding the cats. We informed her and she advised us that through her Holistic check up she found that Zhu Zhu was victim to an allergy to the food we were feeding him. I am not sure how she could tell this, but tell us she did.
She recommended another food, one she happened to sell. We had tried the dog food version of this on Duckie as a puppie and were not really fans of it but we decided to give it a go. My wife bought some online (it is definitely cheaper to purchase online) and once received began feeding the cats.
Within a few days, the cats were wandering around looking for something else to eat. They would nibble on the cat food but not really settle in to eat. Zhu Zhu even would get caught trying to dine on Hollie's Sensitive Stomach dog food!
Puss Puss becme even more grouchy (I didn't think it was possible but it was) and "talked" constantly to Tina, probably about the food she was being given. Zhu Zhu didn't say much, just wandered around the house for a bit searching for something better before disappearing out the doggie door to hunt for his supper.
We kept feeding them this other cat food which is named BG, or Before Grain. It is a highly rated cat food but our cats just do not like it. Finally we got near the end of the bag and went shopping yesterday for Blue Buffalo again, we just couldn't put them through another bag of food they hated so much. We arrived home and fed them last night with their favorite food for dinner. They were happy again, munching contentedly on their food and in much better spirits. Just how good they felt was not apparent until this morning.
What kind of cat food do you buy?
I came downstairs on this Saturday morning to take Duckie outside. He sleeps in a nice warm bed in the garage, so each morning and evening his is transported to and from his sanctuary outside. I fed and watered him, giving him some hugs and love before coming back inside. I detoured across the yard to take the SD card from my game camera (I like to take pictures of the various wild animals that traverse our yard) before coming back inside. As I entered, our youngest daughter's door was open and I spied Zhu Zhu crouching on the floor over something. Confused as to what it could be, I took a step inside (our daughter was gone, having spent the night with one of her friends) and stood still, shocked by what I saw.
He had killed and brought inside a full grown Grey Squirrel. He had consumed the head there on her floor and nothing else. He had a pleased look about him, as if he were proud of himself. I asked him "Zhu Zhu, what did you do?" to which he answered with a loud purr. I eased it out from beneath him and took it outside. Coming back in, I walked through the living room to get my wife, who was upstairs, when I saw something on the living room floor. Upon closer inspection I realized it was a shrew. It was just as fresh as the squirrel had been so I picked it up and took it outside as well. Gently calling to my wife, I asked her to come downstairs for a minute.
When she listened to me tell what I had found, and saw the blood on our daughter's carpet she was as shocked as I had been. After a few seconds she let me know this was a thanks from Zhu, a way he has of saying "I love you and thank you for changing the food back to something I like". I had heard of this phenomenon before but never seen it.
When a cat loves you or wants to do something for you, they will kill a small animal and bring it to you for you to praise them and thank them.
What a wonderful thing for your pet to do! Bring you food for dinner (or in this case, breakfast) as a way of saying "Thank you! I appreciate what you do for me, so let me do something for you!".
I don't know about you, but I would prefer a different mode of thanks.
I will admit that I was somewhat surprised that the cats thought so much of this cat food and so little of the other. Zhu Zhu even went so far as to try any other food he could lay his chops on, from Hollie's to the puppy's food. To him, anything was better than what we were trying to force down his throat.
But the question is: Why? What makes the Blue Buffalo taste better than the Before Grain to our cats? The first ingredient in both is deboned chicken; the second chicken meal. The next two are turkey meal and potato, with Blue Buffalo in that order and BG reversed. From there, they pretty much diverge. Blue Buffalo adds fish meal among other things which may account for the preferred taste, although BG does have salmon oil farther down in the ingredient list.
One item which is present in both is an amino acid named taurine. This is essential to cats and something they cannot manufacture on their own. Without it, they can eventually go blind. In cat food, those with fish tend to have more taurine present than those consisting solely of beef or poultry. Each of these have significantly lower amounts present to begin with. Also remember that cooking the meat can reduce the amount of taurine by half or even two-thirds thus creatin even more issues with what you cat is eating.
Whatever the reason, Zhu Zhu definitely liked his "old" brand better than the BG. All I can say is I hope he is through giving thanks to us! I don't want to wake up with a rabbit on my bedspread tomorrow morning!