They will, however, go for the most inconvenient diet possible – a habit undoubtedly designed to keep the staff on their toes.
On a routine trip to the vet we were told that one of our three (Miss Betty) was rather podgy and really must go on a diet and that Miss Dilly needed a special (and different) diet for her gingivitis-prone teeth.
Vet: No, she does not actually have gingivitis… but she might… at some point in the future…’
Me: uh huh…
We left with sample packs of special diets for each of the critters.
Now… have you ever tried feeding just one cat separately from the rest – never mind three – and seen how that goes? Very much a case of the other chap’s bowl always being greener; so to speak. My immediate thought was, ‘It ain’t gonna happen.’ Prescience? Or mere foreboding born of bitter experience?
That evening, in the interests of thoroughness, I did give it a try; dutifully setting out three bowls of the nutritionally and individual balanced – and I might add VERY expensive – ‘complete diet’ dried cat food, sold at the surgery.
Then I stood well back.
Their combined reaction to these delicacies were unanimous. You cat slaves out there will know the drill.
1. Carefully step forward
2. Extend neck
3. Twitch nose in general direction of the bowl
4. Execute an immediate and rapid back-pedal
5. Stare at bowl with deep suspicion for the count of three
6. Mewl pitifully whilst rubbing head and shoulders around slave’s legs
These six simple steps were, of course, closely followed by an upping of mewls with the obligatory cat’s chorus of plaintive: “Feed us! Feed us now! We are Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarving
(But not more of that new stuff cos it’s sh*t!)”
Knowing their natural resistance to all things new I left the bowls over night. Surely they would give it a try if hungry enough? But no.
Come morning there were three untouched dishes and the unedifying sight of the terrible trio metaphorically on their knees (if you believed the noise), though all had been out doors and had doubtless been decimating the local rodent/bird populace on the quiet.
Result? The very exclusive designer diets were consigned to the bin and it was back to sachets of Morrison (or occasionally Tesco) own-brand cat food – and the realisation that my cats apparently have no taste: eschewing the ‘designer brand’ for ‘ever-so-bland’.