Life Used to be Simpler

Some of the treats we give our pets: Wildside Salmon, Feline Greenies, Tiki Cat wet cat food, and charcoal dog biscuits

Breakfast isn’t as simple as it used to be. What I eat hasn’t changed in decades, I mix up a big cold glass of milk and chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast. The only excitement of the morning was seeing if it would be Templeton or Scout waiting to curl up on me.

But when we adopted Sam and Emma after Templeton died, in addition to the dry kibble we leave out all day, we started treating them with Tiki Cat wet food. As I prepare my breakfast, Sam and Emma circle underneath like ravenous sharks, knowing the treat they are about to receive. Sam like a noisy, ravenous shark driven so mad by hunger that he risks his paws on the forbidden counter. After portioning out equal amounts into their bowls, I walk to the edge of the kitchen were I feed them a few feet apart, careful not to step on them as they swarm about my legs, then step away quickly from the frenzy that ensues. Tiki Cat comes in a variety of interesting flavors, the one pictured here is Hawaiian Grill Ahi Tuna, but we haven’t found one yet that they don’t devour like they haven’t eaten in weeks.

We’ve offered it to Scout as well but she won’t touch wet food and hasn’t since she was a kitten. I’m not sure if she naturally would have or not, but her hero Templeton wouldn’t and that seemed all the justification she needed. But we have discovered some treats to feed her while Sam and Emma gobble down theirs. We’ve long treated the cats with tuna flavored Greenies, a Templeton favorite, but just recently discovered that Scout is the only one who will eat the salmon Greenies shown here. I never would have believed that there is a cat food in this world that Sam won’t eat if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, but it’s true, he won’t touch them. So Scout gets those to herself, she impatiently waits for me to feed Sam and Emma and then I walk her a little ways away for her treats.

And then there’s the recent discovery of Wildside Salmon, little chunks of freeze-dried salmon caught wild in Alaska. Heed my words and dispense with care — these fluffy treats really should be considered a controlled substance — all three cats go bezerk for them. Even mild-mannered Scout devours them with such passion that I worry she might cut me when I run out of treats. When all three cats get them, she’ll even pull a Sammy and eat them out from under the others if they aren’t quick enough, a first for her. I’ve learned in the mornings to get these ready before I feed Sam and Emma their wet food, as otherwise Emma will get distracted when I open the bag and follow me to Scout while Sam sneaks over and eats her Tiki Cat (not a first for Sam).

But you can’t hide a treat from Ellie’s nose, which doesn’t much care if they are treats for cat or dog. When she got a little close to Scout’s salmon treats our normally shy girl got right in Ellie’s face and shouted “Back off dog!” That’s what her hiss meant and both Ellie and I knew it. To keep my little salmon junkie from getting too agitated, I make Ellie wait a safe distance away until Scout has finished eating. If you know how food-crazed Ellie is, you know the strength of the temptation she resists, so her reward for waiting so patiently is one of her favorite treats, the charcoal dog biscuits we keep in a glass container. A sealed glass container, one that neither paw nor jaw can defeat.

And then I sit down to enjoy my breakfast. As much as I can with a black lab staring at me a few feet away with a hedgehog in her mouth, encouraging me to get a move on. Chop chop!

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