Tag: Cat treats

For Some Cats, Food Shortages Mean Hardship and Starvation

NEW YORK — It’s early in the morning and Buddy the Cat is wide awake, meowing insistently for breakfast.

The tabby cat’s familiar muscular physique has wasted away, replaced by a gaunt, sickly appearance. Squint and you can almost make out his ribs, while his coat — normally silky and glowing — is now coarse and dull.

After a few minutes Buddy gives up and collapses with a sigh, resigning himself to the same tasteless kibble and unsatisfying salmon, chicken, beef and tuna wet food he’s been eating for weeks.

“I haven’t had a morsel of turkey since Oct. 6,” Buddy said mournfully. “If I don’t get turkey soon, I’m not sure I’ll make it.”

With demand outpacing supply, logistical gridlock in the shipping industry and the country suffering from inflation levels not seen in decades, Americans are finding it more difficult to find and afford the foods they need.

Turkey has been especially scarce, leaving families bereft of the bird with Thanksgiving approaching, but perhaps no one has suffered more than Buddy the Cat, who normally subsists almost entirely on turkey.

“Our forecasts show things are not going to improve even after Thanksgiving,” said James McCann, a supply chain analyst and economist at Boston University. “That’s bad news for American families and the larger economy, but it’s terrible news for Buddy the Cat.”

Angry Buddy
A visibly angry Buddy, pictured above, hasn’t had turkey in weeks.

Buddy’s hopes were further dashed on Thursday when his human servant logged onto Chewy.com and found his favorite brands of wet turkey on back order.

Pet food manufacturers have been “working hard to make sure America’s pets are getting the nutrition they need,” said Jan Schroeder, communications director for the National Association of Yums.

“We realize this has been hard on cats, especially Buddy,” Schroeder said. “The situation is urgent, and Buddy needs his turkey. That’s why we’ve asked suppliers to expedite shipments of the good stuff, particularly to Buddy’s home state of New York.”

But suppliers may not realize how dire things really are. Back in New York, Buddy’s once-loud meow has become a scratchy mew as his body reacts to the lack of turkey.

“Can’t…survive…much longer,” Buddy said as he was forced to eat Blue Buffalo chicken treats and moist salmon Bursts. “Need…turkey. When will…this nightmare…be over?”

 

 

Temptations Releases ‘Tasty Human’ Flavor Treats For Halloween

I’ve never been more grateful that I’ve weaned Buddy off of Temptations.

The treats, which are famously irresistible to cats thanks to some strange alchemy that definitely isn’t healthy for them, now come in Tasty Human flavor in a new promotion for Halloween. (They’re heavy on corn and other fillers, as usual, but the meat ingredients in Tasty Human flavor come from chicken, liver and beef. Apparently we taste like KFC and burgers.)

The commercial spots are clever and humorous.

“I read that if our cats were bigger, they’d try to eat us!” a man whispers as ominous music plays and his cute cat grooms himself in the background. “So this Halloween, I’m gonna keep him satisfied with these.”

The man tosses a nervous look over his shoulder at his cat as the music swells with a horror movie-style orchestral stab, then he shakes the bag.

I won’t be buying any.

The popular cat treats are made by Mars, the almost $40 billion pet food and candy multinational that has had its own significant controversies, particularly with the use of slave labor in sourcing particular ingredients. Many of its pet food brands, such as Whiskas, are loaded with cheap carbohydrates and use by-product meal as their primary protein sources.

But I stopped feeding the Budster Temptations before I knew any of that, and for an entirely different reason: The little guy turned into a full-fledged kitty crack addict when he ate them.

Like any cat, Bud loves his treats, but when I fed him Temptations he had a one-track mind: The first thing he’d do in the morning was follow me to the kitchen, sit in front of the treat cabinet and meow incessantly for his precious Temps. It got to the point where he was turning his nose up at wet food he’d always liked and pestering me for Temptations instead. He was going full-on Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

I weaned him off once, stupidly folded less than a year later when I bought a bag for him on impulse (we were out of treats and the grocery store did not have any other kind), and had to wean him off the kitty crack a second time when he returned to his cracktastic ways.

Nowadays the little dude gets natural treats with non by-product meat as the main ingredients, and he behaves like a normal cat: He still loves his snacks, but he doesn’t ignore his wet food and howl at me for kitty crack.

tl;dr: Serve the Temps at your own risk. 🙂

Cats File Discrimination Suit After Ben & Jerry’s Releases Ice Cream For Dogs

WASHINGTON – A new lawsuit accuses Ben & Jerry’s of “blatant, systematic discrimination” after the company released a line of ice cream and frozen treats for dogs, but not for cats.

“Felines around the world are understandably hurt and feeling betrayed by Ben and Jerry right now,” the public interest group Cats’ Rights And Protection (CRAP) said in a statement. “Not only are these supposedly ‘good boy’ canines a bunch of frauds, but now they get to enjoy ice cream and delicious frozen treats like their humans, while we cats are relegated to eating the same cardboard-tasting dry treats and the admittedly juicy — but not frozen — meat sticks we’ve always had.”

Ben & Jerry's Doggie Desserts
Seriously?

The cat advocacy group, which lobbies for more favorable policies toward all felids, big and small, said Ben and Jerry’s oversight is “part of a larger, societal problem of viewing cats as second-class citizens who either don’t understand or don’t care that we’re getting the short end of the stick.”

“We’re not stupid,” the CRAP statement said. “We know an inferior snack when we see it, and it’s obvious Ben & Jerry are biased in favor of those mangy dogs.”

Meowsiharu Morimoto, the Iron Chef of the feline world, called on other ice cream makers to step in and correct the Vermont ice cream maker’s offensive errors.

“It’s long been obvious to anyone in the feline culinary world that our options for desserts and digestifs have been woefully inadequate,” the Japanese cat said. “Does anyone think of us cats? Does no one ever wonder ‘Shouldn’t cats get into enjoy yummy, palate-cleansing ice cream after feasting on fish and poultry?’ The lack of consideration is criminal! Shame on you, Jerry and Ben!”

Ice Cream for Cats?
*sniff* “Nom noms?”

Another door to the exclusive world of tasty desserts seemed to be closed to cats on Tuesday when a large group of feline demonstrators was discouraged by Cookies and Cream, a cat who counts the Häagen-Dazs founders among her humans.

“We hear you and we see your signs,” Cookies told the crowd. “But we’re not really nebulously Nordic masters of delicious frozen delicacies. Häagen-Dazs doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s complete nonsense! My human is from the Bronx. He just made Häagen-Dazs up, thinking that if Americans saw his ice cream as vaguely Norwegian or Danish, they’d think it was quality stuff and would be willing to pay a premium. Well, they do, and we’re rich, bitches!”

The Ice Cream Makers of America, in an attempt to quell the controversy, issued a statement of its own.

“Cats: You’re lactose intolerant! You can’t take two licks without getting brain freeze! You just aren’t a market for ice cream, sorry,” the statement read.

Note: It turns out there is an ice cream for cats, or more accurately an icy fish-flavored treat intended to cool kitties down on hot summer days. Has anyone given it to their cat? And yes, cats are lactose intolerant, so we shouldn’t give ice cream to our cat(s) no matter how many people on Youtube think it’s amusing.


Day Five: The Nice Lady

Blackie scurried up a tree with impressive speed while Clyde took off like a cat possessed.

That left Buddy, who didn’t know the area, and didn’t know the gaps in fences or under-porch hideaways that would grant him temporary safety from the mountain of a dog barreling toward him.

He ran in the same direction Clyde had gone, hoping to follow the ginger tabby to safety, but he was already out of sight.

Peggy gained on Buddy, huffing like a bellows.

Buddy weaved around a rusting bike and ran for a stand of trees and brush that could afford cover. Maybe. He could feel Peggy’s breath on his back now. His little legs pumped as fast as they could, but a shadow overtook him followed by its owner.

Peggy landed on top of Buddy with surprising nimbleness, pinning him with her huge belly. Buddy’s heart threatened to beat out of his chest. Peggy opened her massive maw. Vicious-looking canines framed a row of smaller teeth like a serrated knife. Buddy closed his eyes, bracing…

…and felt a big wet tongue leave a saliva trail from the back of his neck to his forehead.

Peggy panted as she licked him, her drool shaping his fur until he looked like someone had styled him with an entire bottle of industrial strength hair gel. She barked happily, grinning from ear to ear, then began licking his left paw.

Buddy squirmed under the big pit and meowed at her indignantly.

“Untongue me this instant!” he demanded, but Peggy just kept licking.

Blackie snickered from a branch. A pair of wrens chirped, then took off from a branch above the pantherine cat.

Peggy gave Buddy’s forehead another lick, lathering on so much saliva that he had to close his eyes as it ran down his face.

“Peggy, baby!” a human voice boomed from behind the trees in a playful tone.

The huge dog raised her head, gave Buddy a final gooey swipe of her tongue and hopped off, cheerfully skipping her way home.

kittyswimming

Neither Clyde nor Blackie said anything, mercifully. They both looked at him in horror, recoiling at the layer of saliva that almost entirely encased him, but they didn’t laugh or make jokes at his expense. They pity me, Buddy thought.

Blackie led them around a shed, through a hole in a wooden fence just big enough to wiggle through, then into a well-kept backyard shaded by oak trees. Up ahead was a wooden porch. One side of it was built around a huge rectangular depression filled with motionless clear blue water.

“Crazy humans,” Blackie meowed, looking at the pool with distrust.

Nice Lady herself was sitting on the opposite end of the porch beneath a canvas green-and-white awning, her face buried in a book. The human woman didn’t see them approaching and only looked up when Clyde put a paw on the first step and meowed.

“Orange Boy!” Nice Lady said, placing the book on the table next to her. “And Panther!”

Buddy watched as the two hardscrabble strays transformed themselves into harmless little kitty cats. Clyde made a big show of uncertainty, then hopped up on the deck and approached Nice Lady, rubbing himself against her legs. Blackie followed, dropping down and showing his belly.

“Where have you little rascals been?” Nice Lady cooed. “I was worried about…Oh my, you have a friend!”

Buddy crouched a few feet away from the stairs leading up to the deck, watching her silently.

Nice Lady made kissy sounds, then stood up. “You three must be very hungry! Wait here, my little darlings,” she said, stepping through a sliding glass door.

“Ya see, kid?” Clyde meowed, hopping up and helping himself to Nice Lady’s chair.

Cicadas buzzed. A breeze shifted leaf shadows on the deck.

“I hope it’s eggs today,” Blackie said, “otherwise we’re gonna have to visit the red house after this.”

Clyde stretched and yawned. Buddy carefully climbed the porch steps, realizing with horror that his paws were leaving prints of nearly-gelatinous saliva on the wood. He reached the top and crouched, his tail flicking uncomfortably.

Clyde saw the look in his eyes and realized what he was about to do.

“No!” he meowed. “You’re crazy!”

Buddy didn’t care. He shook himself like a dog, sending disgusting little saliva missiles at both his friends — the least he could do as payback for abandoning him to Peggy’s tongue assault — then took off running and leaped into the pool.

He shivered, but his body quickly adapted to the temperature of the water. To his surprise, the water was a comfort, and most importantly he was no longer mummified in a thick layer of gooey pitbull spit. 

catpool

Nice Lady returned after a few minutes, carrying a stack of paper plates and a steaming bowl covered with a paper towel.

“Okay, boys,” she said, placing the paper plates in a row. “Eat up!”

Blackie meowed with excitement as Nice Lady removed the paper towel and scooped heaps of scrambled eggs from the bowl.

“Careful now, they’re still hot,” she said.

Blackie and Clyde dug in immediately. Nice Lady looked around for Bud and, realizing he was actually in her pool, retrieved one of those black rectangles humans love so much and held it up.

“Cheese!” she said, confusing Buddy. “A cat who likes water! Who knew?”

She retreated a few steps to her chair and resumed her reading, sipping from a wine glass.

Buddy’s stomach rumbled. He paddled to the steps leading out of the pool, then padded cautiously to his plate.

“Oh! Oh! Of all the good eatin’!” Blackie said. “You’ve gotta try this, kid!”

Buddy lapped at the eggs. They were delicious! There was cheese and little chunks of meat that Blackie called “ham.”

The three of them ate in silence except for Blackie’s enthusiastic grunts of approval. Buddy was so grateful to get food in his tummy that he didn’t even realize Nice Lady had approached them. He froze, ready to sprint, but she just crouched down and ladled more eggs onto each plate.

“So good,” Blackie mewed. “Incredible! Fantastique! Superlatives fail me!”

All three cats cleaned their plates, then sprawled out on the deck, grooming themselves with the satisfaction of full bellies.

Nice Lady had gone inside again, and when she returned she brought bowls of water, bags that crinkled and a towel for Buddy.

“I hope you boys saved room for dessert,” she said cheerily.

Buddy licked his lips.

 

“Why did you slap my paw away when I went for the Temps?” Buddy asked later.

“Because,” Clyde said, “that stuff is the kitty crack.”

“But…”

“Do you have any idea what that stuff has done to our people?” Clyde said.

“Here he goes again,” Blackie meowed, shaking his head.

The trio padded across the short grass of the backyard as the light began to fade, heading for the little shed they’d passed on the way into the backyard, where Nice Lady had installed a kitty door.

“You can’t handle the truth!” Clyde trilled to his friend.

“What truth?” Buddy asked. Blackie groaned.

“The Temps were specifically engineered by humans to get us hooked,” Clyde said, taking on a conspiratorial tone. “See, the humans don’t like how we’re independent free spirits, unlike dogs. No self-respecting cat would run panting to his human the way those eager-to-please idiots do.”

Buddy considered the orange tabby’s point.

“But what does that have to do with controlling us?”

Clyde waved a paw at a house cat watching them from a neighbor’s bay window, her body language broadcasting a mix of curiosity and annoyance.

“You think kittypet over there would ever run off if it meant no more Temps?” he meowed. “They’re all cracked out on the Temps! Those spoiled, soft-living, fat, lazy kittypets are an embarrassment to the feline kingdom.”

He looked at Buddy. “Present company mostly excluded, of course.”

“Of course.”

They filed into the shed, eyes adjusting to the gloom. There was a litter box, two wide bowls of fresh water, a plastic contained filled with dry kibble and, arranged on a small area carpet, a cozy sleeping spot ringed with pillows and blankets.

“Not bad,” Buddy said, feeling like a civilized cat again for the first time in days.

“Not bad?” Blackie asked. “Kid, this is the Waldorf of Westchester! It doesn’t get any better than this.”

After some mild haggling over the best sleeping spots, the three cats settled down. Sleeping on a full stomach for the first time since he’d left home, Buddy’s eyelids grew heavy as he mentally assembled a plan to find his way home.

Are Laser Pointers Bad For Cats?

Bud is obsessed with his new laser pointer.

I bought one for the first time more than a week ago. For years I’d occasionally break out a level that shoots a narrow band of laser light that appears like a small stripe, and while Buddy enjoyed chasing after it, I’m thinking the laser probably wasn’t as powerful or didn’t register as well in the spectrum of light most visible to felines.

Whatever the reason, while he liked chasing the level’s laser light, he loves this $5 pet laser.

lasercat

In fact, he loves it a little too much. Every day, if I haven’t taken it out for play time, he climbs up onto the coffee table and begins pawing at the tray that contains the laser pointer and TV remotes. He finds the pointer, bats at it with his little paws, and makes mewing sounds that undoubtedly translate to: “Play time! I want! I want! Play with me now!”

I can see now why some people warn against using these things. I thought the upside was worth the potential downside, because the laser pointer gets the little dude moving like few other toys do. (And even then only when they’re new and novel.)

Bud’s single-mindedness with the laser pointer reminds me of his one-track mind when it came to Temptations, before I stopped buying those infernal things. (Blue Buffalo makes very similar-looking treats that he happily gobbles up, but instead of the corn and filler of Temptations, they’re made of chicken, turkey, salmon and so on.)

Crucially he doesn’t act like a crack addict the way he did with the Temps, when he’d park himself by the treat cabinet and meow mournfully for his next fix.

The Red Dot!
I’ve caught the red dot! I’m eating it!

So I’m wondering: What kind of experiences have you guys had with laser pointers? Have you used them? Have your cats become obsessed?

One final thought: Bud is fully aware the laser comes from the pointer, and he knows I have to press the button for the beam to work. That’s a clear example of abstract thinking. So far he hasn’t figured out a way to activate it himself, but you never know…