Feed the Animals


tabby's first meal

tabby's first meal

I consider my life a success because I’ve managed to transfer the responsibility of feeding the animals to another person. That’s pretty lame, right? Feeding animals isn’t a really big deal, unless you work at a zoo or something, in which case yay giraffes!

The thing is, in our house, feeding the animals kind of is a big deal — or, if not exactly a big deal, a pain in the ass. This fact always comes home to roost, as they say, on days Ben doesn’t have to go to work and I have to feed the animals.

The cats are first because they will eat you and/or random household items if you don’t feed them soon enough after getting out of bed. Jupiter (the only boy cat) will launch himself from the dresser in the bedroom onto your head and try to eat your legs the second you put your feet on the floor. Xochitl will eat the part of the plastic garbage bag that sticks out of the bathroom garbage container or the plastic toilet paper wrapper under the sink. We made up part of a song for her, sung to Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady:

Bag lady you’re gonna hurt your digestive system
eatin’ all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
bags have no nutritional value

Peep (the nice, fat one) and Valkyrie (the old one who is shunned by the other cats) are pretty normal and will leave you alone.

The cats get dry food, except Jupiter, who has special dietary needs that require canned prescription food. He is the only cat in the universe who prefers dry food to canned food. You have to prepare four bowls of cat food (three dry and one canned), put Jupiter and his food in the bathroom (which is off the kitchen), close the door, and then feed the other three cats in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, there are dogs. At all times during the feeding process, the dogs must be segregated at the back of the house. This sounds racist but it’s the only way.

When you got out of bed, if you’re smart, you brought Sadie with you (as a small dog, she is entitled to special privileges, including but not limited to sleeping in bed with the humans) and put her and Coltrane outside (otherwise, she’ll be peeing or pooping in the house, which, chances are, she did while you were sleeping, which is extra annoying because she can’t get into bed by herself because it’s too tall so she gets up, poops in the kitchen, and then comes back to the bedroom where she whines and jumps until she wakes you up and you realize she just pooped in the kitchen and probably peed somewhere you won’t find, quite possibly on the new living room rug, and you pick her up and put her back in bed and she goes back to sleep and you’re awake for like an hour because you haven’t been sleeping well and now you’re thinking about dog poop).

While Sadie and Coltrane are outside, you let Peaches out of her crate (as the one dog who has a slight inclination toward eating cats, she stays in her crate at night) and feed her the 67 cups of dog food a Rottweiler needs. Then comes the changing of the guard. Peaches goes outside and Coltrane and Sadie come inside. Coltrane and Sadie can eat together, but you have to keep an eye on them to make sure Coltrane doesn’t eat Sadie’s food. Next, you dip a spoon in peanut butter, insert a half pill, and give it to Sadie, who is currently on steroids for her autoimmune-related arthritis.

Finally, you let Jupiter out of the bathroom so he can eat dry food scraps and the other cats can fight over whatever canned food he didn’t finish. Meanwhile, Sadie, who is on steroids, whines from the dog-segregation area because she really wants to eat the cat food.

Compared to this, getting a baby dressed and ready for school is, as they say, a piece of cake. Mmmmm, cake. The animals would probably eat that.

Note: Maybe don’t blast today’s music at work.