Thursday, 22 December 2011

Tia And Her Little Foibles

Tia in summer
It's well known among my friends that our cat is delicate, she is difficult to feed except when we're in the tin hut. This led us to believe that she was happy there and miserable at home. There is a tinge of truth in this, because although she stands her ground against other cats when we're away, she isn't so confident in her home territory.

We took her for her yearly overhaul at the vets in November, as the date got closer for her appointment I was filled with dread. She ate little and often brought it back up and I could see her getting thinner - this happens every late autumn/winter as she goes into near hibernation. Tuna fish to the rescue.

I could tell the vet wasn't happy when he started feeling her abdomen then decided to fetch the scales to weigh her, she had been weighed before so he knew she was generally a lightweight. I explained that she'd been sick a couple of times over the weekend and he agreed that this could be the problem. Everything else, except her weight was fine.

After this I decided to cruise t'Interweb to see if it'd be OK for her diet to be largely made up of tuna fish as she couldn't resist it ... oh heck! It isn't, apparently it's bad for them. I searched further and also discovered that ALL dried cat food, including the most expensive ones are a load of crap as they are mostly made up of vegetable protein - no good to cats at all - and not meat, therefore the missing important vitamins and stuff [taurine], they put in after.

Cats cannot ever be vegetarians, they would die. So why do we force feed them vegetable protein and carbohydrates. We only have dry cat food for our convenience and not for the health or well-being of the cat. Hmm, did you know that in the 1980's dry cat food was responsible for cats going blind and many also died from heart failure. Not to mention damage to their bladders and kidneys - even now - through lack of water/dehydration, because cats have a low thirst drive, in the wild they would naturally get their fluids from their prey/victims - yuck.

Though very interesting, this was not helping in my quest to get Tia back up to her summer weight. Hmm, raw meat ... there's places on t'Interweb I can buy it from especially for cats, but it's mostly rabbit - which when I've bought it tinned, she doesn't like, so is it worth trying? Chicken, she's not over-fussed, she does like beef ... expensive taste, my cat.

I also discovered that most tinned cat food is fairly rubbishy too as they contain meat derivatives ... translated, the sweepings off the floor, I have to look for actual meat in the ingredients, oh joy. I had a look on Asda's shelves ... interesting.

While I was doing all this research for my bulimic pussy cat, I thought I may as well go the whole hog and look at cat litter, just to see which is the best kind. Although she's not a house cat, such is her lack of territory confidence, that even on the occasions she does venture out - weather permitting - she comes back in to use her litter tray.

My preference has always been the wood pellet stuff, it always seems clean and rarely smells ... although that could be down to the frequency it gets changed, and every 'number two' is removed immediately, upon the cat's insistence. She runs around the house like a loony until the offending item is removed.

I had noticed that even after only two days of fresh cat litter, she'd be looking at her tray and cocking her nose up, even though I could smell nothing. Time for a change.

Hmm, clumping litter - although unsafe for kittens and positively deadly according to one person on the internet [all references point to the same person] - might be worth a try.

Off we went to Asda - yes it was the same visit where I spent an age reading cat food ingredients and slamming tins back on the shelf - where we rummaged among the choices of litter and came across Catsan clumping litter, but, ouch the price for the size of the bag ... until I lifted it. It was heavy for the size.

Oh heck, I've just drifted off into the blow by blow style of writing, haven't I?

We got home, disinfected the litter tray and put in half a ton of cat litter ... the moment of truth. Her pussyship inspected it, stirred it around, decided that it'd do and proceeded to use it. The look on her face when she turned around to bury the wee was priceless, it had vanished [to her].

Can you believe that watching a cat use her tray was more interesting than watching the telly? And we were fighting over who was going to scoop out the 'dumpling' of wee. There wasn't a trace of it left behind.

Then we became aware of something we hadn't expected. Tia was meowing for food, which is fairly normal, but she ate it - which isn't. She mostly sniffs it, licks off the jelly - at a push - and stalks off. But then she wanted more and she kept using the tray ... up to five times a day.

Our regime now, is that we remove all 'dumplings' and 'sausages' immediately - because we have no choice, her pussyship sees to that - then empty out the tray twice weekly and disinfect everything, because a big pussy wee tends to hit the bottom, although not enough to wet it or stick. We then put the litter back in because it's still relatively clean [madam is happy with it] and top up with fresh.

In my zest for trying to find something she may eat - and keep down - I had already spent a small fortune on micro-tins of the choicest cat food. After less than two weeks, she's back up to her summer weight, so I will now go and buy the more ordinary stuff and gradually wean her off [or certainly down] the budget busting variety of food she's become accustomed to.

No, I didn't suspect any connection between not eating/vomiting and - a cat's - litter preference. Although we have a very happy cat now, I think we've made a rod for MY own back. As not only am I annoyed out of bed to empty all offending items from the litter tray, she has now taken to rousing me from my slumbers to watch her in pooing action. I suppose it serves us right for praising her every time she used it during daylight hours.

Talk about potty training ...


  1. Gosh, I could write an essay on cats likes and dislikes. I’ll try to be brief.
    As my little Hazel got older, she lost weight. This summer she weighed in at 3.09Kg.
    My vet thought this was ok, and far better than being overweight.
    I agree entirely about cat food and especially biscuits. The only good use for biscuits is that they are good for their teeth. If you look on the list of ingredients, it’s all meal, rice, maize and, a-maizingly, something called ‘ash’!
    I’ve always included in my cats diets, as much real meat, like chicken, beef and turkey bits, as I can. (cooked of course, expect beef, Wes likes a bit of a chew on steak!)
    This doesn’t work out expensive. A 100g pouch/tray (Sheba), will put you back, say 50p-65p. That’s £5 -£6:50 per Kilo. Now you can get of good meat from ASDA for less than that. All cat food carries VAT at 20% - ‘manfood’ doesn’t. (or should that be human food?). I also poke around the reduced section.
    If Tia likes tuna, you can get it in the cat-food section. Hi-life do a very smelly one!
    Gourmet Solitaire (pricey) do a wee tin complete with a shrimp on top!
    Well, that is about all for the ‘front end’….
    Back end! Well. I had Hazel using a litter tray for the last two years. She wouldn’t, or couldn’t, get out in that snow, two winters ago. She took to the litter tray straight away and in fact I ended up with two trays. One in the (rear) conservatory and the other in the (front) porch. A two-loos kitty! Over that time, I found Sainsburys clumping the best.
    It is actually a grey clay called ‘Fullers Earth’ (used in brewing to clarify beer/wine).
    Glad you’ve got it all sorted now - and yes, Hazel too came to tell me every time left an offering in her tray. In fact she wouldn’t use it again ‘till it was emptied. That is where two trays came in useful.
    Sorry to go on a bit.
    Cheers.....Bernard (& Wesley)
    I did a post called 'Potty training' I'll look it up.

  2. Hi Bernard,
    Yes, it's all the cat food you mentioned that she does normally eat, but I knew we were really hitting problems when she refused even those. She has always preferred fishy flavoured food - even sticking her nose in where it wasn't wanted when I feed my fish. The only meat she loves is beef.

    I should have realised well before now though the connection between her using the loo and her eating behaviour. Many a time when we offer her something tasty - prawns or beef - she sniffs it and goes out ... this is at the caravan.

    At first we just assumed she didn't want it and told her she was awkward and threw the titbits away. But within five minutes she was back and looking for the them.

    We eventually cottoned on to the fact that when she wants to eat, she has to make room for it first ... if she doesn't, then she's sick. This is why even though I'm really pleased now - because I've got a happy, healthy cat - I could kick myself for not spotting the obvious.

    And you can go on as much as you like, other peoples experiences can be very informative and helpful.

  3. Cats...not my scene I'm afraid they are selfish and seem to see our garden as waste disposal area

  4. Ho ho ho.
    Go and blow your nose dayvee ... Selfish?? I'll cover Tia's eyes so she doesn't see that comment. You mustn't upset her, or she'll be shredding your bicycle tyres with her newly sharpened claws ...

  5. She'll have to catch me first. I am actually an avid animal lover


Be nice, I'm very sensitive.