Day 18: Inside
At every meal, Mooster waits patiently at the door for Bella to finish eating. The blurry tail reveals that he’s not really that patient. He also howls every 30 seconds. Charming.
Here’s the story: I rescued Bella when I was at Ohio State. For two years, it was just us, and we were thick as thieves. Bella is the best kind of cat–a little bit independent but will still snuggle with you and greet you at the door.
Bella is what you call a free-choice feeder. When I used to leave for the weekend, I could leave three bowls of food on the counter and she would simply eat when she was hungry. She’s a nibbler, so the three bowls would last the weekend and she wouldn’t be dying of starvation when I got back. Free-choice feeding means there is always food available and the cat takes a few bites here and there. It’s up to her to eat when she’s hungry.
Then Mr. Phish came on the scene and we rescued Genevieve. I thought all cats were free-choice feeders. That’s how Genevieve ended up looking like this:
Free-choice feeding was, ahem, not a good option for her. She was used to scavenging for food, so if there was food out, she ate it. All of it. All the time.
Even after six years, Bella hasn’t caught on to the structured feeding time thing. She still comes and go as she pleases, taking a few bites and then walking away. Mooster loves this, because he has figured out that he can wolf down his food and then go eat Bella’s delicious crunchy food too. As a result, he’s starting to look a little round himself.
So we’ve resorted to private feedings. Bella eats in the upstairs bathroom with the door closed, so she has as much time as she wants to leisurely eat. The other two eat in the kitchen at warp speed. Every day, at every meal, Mooster trots upstairs and sits at the door. He can hear Bella crunching inside, and he knows that she will leave one or two pieces behind for him.
And when I open the door, he charges inside to see what’s left. Scavengers. You’d think he hadn’t eaten in a week, the way he carries on.