Saturday, January 26, 2013

Am I A Crazy Cat Lady?

A few years ago, I wrote a post about my family's relationship with Stray Cats. Our newest stray at that time blessed us with four additional kittens, and my son's friends who all wanted kittens... well, that didn't happen.  My stepdaughter took one of the kittens, and we kept the rest.  So now our cat count is up to eight.  Yes, I said eight.  But I have officially decreed that eight is enough.  (Bonus points to those of you who remember that TV show.)  And I have stuck by it... the last stray who showed up on our front porch - thanks to our neighbor who thought she had to be one of ours - was dutifully delivered to the local animal shelter. She was a very sweet cat, and she really wanted to be our cat, but I was determined that I would not become the crazy cat lady.

There are very few dull moments when you own eight cats.  Someone is always annoying someone else, clawing up furniture, knocking things off shelves, or barfing up a hairball.  The excitement never ends.  Recently, one of our little guys became very ill with a urinary blockage.  He spent four days shuttling between the vet and the emergency animal clinic, where he received IV fluids and was closely monitored. We learned a lot about cats' urinary health and spent way more money than you would ever expect to spend on one little cat. The good news is that he made it through and is now back to his old self again... mischevious as ever.

Dinner time!
On important lesson that we learned from this experience is that cats should not be fed a diet of only dry cat food... and if they've experienced urinary problems, they shouldn't have dry food at all. Our cats had always been self feeding, and our job was to fill the bowls whenever they got empty. Now, everyone gets canned food, delivered twice a day. The transition wasn't easy, and a few of our guys (including the sick one) turned up their noses at first, but hunger got the best of them and everyone seems to be happy with the new routine.

Now that the cats have decided they like canned food, we go through seven to eight cans a day.  That means my weekly grocery list includes 50+ cans of cat food. Last weekend, the girl bagging my groceries asked if there was a special on cat food. When I responded with, "No, we just have lots of cats," she gave me that look.  The look that says, "Oh, you're one of those crazy cat ladies."