Food is Love; Love is Food

My vegetarianism has been protesting each morning for months.  I’ve had to prepare a cooked chicken meal for Duc le Chat.

Before this, for a number of years, he’s been on an expensive diet for his urinary dysfunction.  I’ve merely opened a tin of Veterinarian-approved food, held my breath and dished out his meal.

Then, three months ago, while I was enjoying a family trip with my brother, Duc suddenly displayed extreme symptoms of hyperthyroidism.  When I got home, he had lost 20% of his body weight in spite of eating voraciously.  No wonder he’s been such an avid hunter.  He’s had a metabolism that demanded feeding.

During his first month on the thyroid meds, Duc and I maneuvered unpredictable peaks and valleys with his appetite.  I discovered cooked chicken thighs with some of the expensive canned food and lots of chicken broth would stimulate his appetite.

During the second month, he became overweight, lethargic and disinterested in life.  I trundled him back to the Vet who confirmed that the dosage of his thyroid meds were too high.  After two weeks at half the dosage, the delightful, defiant Duc is back.

If the story ended there, it would mean I’d be off kitchen duty.  However, Duc has developed an overly keen taste for greasy chicken thighs mixed with gourmet cat food bathed in chicken drippings.

This morning I decided it was time to wean the little feline.  Leaving out the chicken thighs, I delivered the special canned food drizzled generously with chicken broth.  He licked it delicately, pawed the floor like it was kitty litter and went outside in a huff.

“Fine, Duc.  I’m not cooking you chicken!”

He came to the open door a number of times and meowed plaintively.  I ignored him each time.

Suddenly it was quiet.  The peace was suspect.  About a half hour later, through a mirror, I saw Duc making his way towards the open door again.  He plopped down silently on the outside mat.

Did I say defiant?

Me:  “Duc!  Don’t tell me you killed a bird!”


Duc:  “You talkin’ to me?”

Duc:  “But I thought you didn’t love me any more.”


54 thoughts on “Food is Love; Love is Food

  1. That’ll teach you to be queasy over a little ol’ chicken thigh! What a Meeearw!
    Reminds me of my former husband’s geriatric cat. This was years ago, but his sweet little thing completely lost her appetite and was suffering from seizures. We couldn’t even get meds to stay down. We tried EVERYTHING. Finally I discovered that she would nibble at halibut. So for about 6 months, I bought a fresh halibut steak every 3 days for Ms. Penney. You must understand, I do not care much for halibut. If this had been salmon, we’d have all been happy. But my efforts paid off. She recovered enough to live for another blessedly, comfortable year. Died at 16. Sweet Penney. I can’t look at halibut now.

    • Hi Linda! Thankfully, due to the urinary condition, Duc cannot eat fish. Peeeyoooou! I used to give him the juice off my tinned tuna – being quite ignorant about the no-fish rule. So that had to be stopped. Thus, what I could offer to entice Duc was limited. Thankfully chicken’s okay.

      To add insult to injury, I had to de-worm and de-flea the poor creature. All that “stuff” affects him, but it hasn’t bothered his appetite today!

  2. Ah…looking at the evidence on his face and his rather clear expression…I believe he said to you prior to leaving the house “J’ai demandé pour les oiseaux!”

    • Oui! “Mon humain est très épais ce matin.” When I caved in and cooked the danged chicken, he ate more than he’s eaten at one sitting in two months! What a statement of dire starvation! Even though he’d obviously had raw bird as an appetizer.

  3. Fabulous photo of Duc. How do you capture these moments???????feathers in his hair, no less. I knew the story of finding the “exceptable” food for this feline but the pictures are truly the 10000 words.

  4. I had a cat that hunted everything. Everything, beetles, ants, mouskers, gophers and sadly birds. Neck bells didn’t seem to slow him down. Good luck with Duc…his inner panther is coming out.

  5. Good luck with the weaning. Once they’re on to a good thing, there’s no peace. Mais…un tel beau chat noir est-il.
    It seems our T-Bob wants fresh water from the tap. In the middle of the night he meows on the chance I’ll get him fresh water. Nope, not doing it. He is coming round to that fact.

    • Merci, mille fois! Mon beau Angora noir. I certainly agree with your approach wholeheartedly, Georgette. Normally I don’t spoil pets. Love them to bits, yes, but without allowing them to uproot or manage human lives. That’s the reason I have cat pets – they can fend for themselves and live more naturally than many other pets. However, all my boundaries were revisited when Duc was a bone rack and the meds made him so nauseated he couldn’t keep anything down. The Vet wanted to de-worm him, give him thyroid meds AND shove in a little extra pill that would stimulate his appetite. I protested! One step at a time. Thus, the chicken agreed with Duc and his recovery was underway.

  6. I love the pics! I am grateful my cats have no issues, but they are pushy when it’s time to eat. The meowing drives me crazy

  7. I can so relate. Our pup has a tender belly and I’ve been cooking for him now for three years. It gets to be a lot. Typically I purchase chicken leg/thighs and cook them up then cook brown rice in the broth then mix it all with (by about thirds) Honest Kitchen food. (they have a very good line btw) In an attempt to add more ease into my life I searched high and low and finally found a brand called wellness (canned) that is 95% chicken. At first he snubbed his nose, now he just chows…although he lacks the hunting prowess of Duc 😉 I simply adore the pic of him with his ear tufts and a feather!! Great shot.
    ps….wp or my server are having issues today…I am not able to ‘like’ anything and posting is challenging…not sure why.

    • There is surely a special halo for people like you who go to such lengths to give your pet quality living. Little by little, Duc is ingesting more of his canned food. It has the nourishment that offers good balance so I’m grateful for small successes.

      Yes, it’s interesting how many weird and different glitches start happening on the computer. When it happens to me, I shut my computer down and start again. If it still acts up, I decide it’s an outside issue. At times it’s so frustrating that I just find something else to do!

      BTW – I had a mystery volunteer plant growing from the soil I composted all winter. None of my gardening friends knew what it was. Since I drink Yerba Mate Tea, I wondered if a weird little seed survived the drying process in South America. However, a “plant official” identified it as a chick pea plant. So now I have to learn how long to leave the pods. I love nature!

      • Bonus chick peas! that’s a first… I agree with you on the shut down of the computer. Some days it is just glitchy as all get out and other days works like a charm. Some days I just decide the Universe is telling me to get off the computer and FOCUS my attention elsewhere 😉

  8. Ah Duc I think you look great with feathers. However, I prefer the birds that our cats carry around in their mouths and bring to mama. They are tiny stuffed birds.

    Mother I agonize with you … Boy – Boy is in the midst of a urinary infection … we are muddling through.

    • Hope you find the food that keeps Boy-Boy safe and fluid! My Vet sez: “Nothing high in protein like raw beef or raw chicken. No fish of any kind.” Because of this, I accept the Natural Order of Things – i.e. the fact that he eats mice, birds, rabbits and squirrels. I just don’t want to see him doing it. (He kills rats! Doesn’t eat them…) I don’t like to think about that as I bury my nose into his angora fur!

  9. Cats are such strange animals. My cat decided to stay out all night and obviously ran with the pack and came back ate breakfast and then promptly gave us it all back. The vet said she had eaten something she shouldn’t have and shouldn’t leave her out all night. I don’t normally, i live in the city and it’s not safe. It took several days of coaxing to get her to eat anything much but she would eat whatever didn’t come out of a cat food tin; milk, cream, yogurt, muesli with milk, tuna and the occasional chicken from my daughter. I don’t generally eat meat so the feast had to stop and all that milk wasn’t good for her. She wasn’t impressed and sulked for days.

    • My attitude is if Duc eats some critter that’s been poisoned – and he dies himself? Well at least he died free and doing what he loves to do the most. I loathe the idea of life without the little beastie, but I love knowing he’s happy – by being a cat.

      I sure know, Beverley, about the sulking part. It’s amazing! But the poor things are confused by our giving and then taking away. Hope she is okay soon.

      • Yes she recovered. My daughter named her Tinkerbelle i just call her Kitty. She even sulks when she can’t sit on my knee and when she can’t get her own way. spoilt – i don’t know what you mean 🙂

  10. Aww, what a beautiful kitty cat! Our kitty is eighteen and arthritic, so she gets her share of glucosamine and my boy has her do ‘walk races’ back and forth across the deck to keep her moving. Best of luck with yours. :>

    • Aren’t we amazing? I can see a book arising with a title like: Amazing Lengths Humans Will Go. The stories would put me in awe. Perhaps it could become a handbook for good marriages! 😀

    • He was taken from the SPCA by a woman dying of cancer. He was her companion so was kept inside, in a smaller space and was quite docile. When I adopted him after his human died, I discovered he didn’t even know how to play. He’s been making up for it ever since! 😀

    • Nancy…I’ve been reading about your challenges. My heart is with you in a big way.

      Yah, how did they learn such a subtle way to curse?! It isn’t the smell because they do it with a variety of foods.

  11. Reading your post seems to indicate that it is much simpler and quicker to cure hyper-thyroidism in felines than humans. Blessed are those that walk the planet on fours rather than twos. Oh! To be born thus in my next life!!

    Loved the read, Amy…


  12. He looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, obviously totally unaware of the tell tale feathers! Our new kitten has just returned home with her first shrew, chasing it around the dining room. I rescued the wee mite and was promptly bitten for my efforts!

  13. Amy aunty, my own cat does the same. I left home when he was only 1 month old, now after one and half year when I came my home; just like my last cat he is now living a life of a king. As me and my brother now stay away from our home; so now he is getting our share of love from my mom. But whenever my mom does not serve him as per his wish, he just go to the roof top and comeback just like Duc . 🙂 Amy aunty my cat can go to any extent just to eat few pieces of almond. 🙂

    • Almond? That’s unique. The feline family is so very carnivorous that she must be craving something. When I was researching ideas to feed Duc that would not aggravate his urinary condition, I read one Vet’s response to a woman who wanted to go vegetarian with her cat. He said, “If cats were supposed to be eating more vegetables, they’d be outside grazing like cows.” Yet dogs can eat both… I have a friend who has her dog solely on vegetable chewys that she makes. I secretly wonder if the dog longs to go out for a good feed of rabbit!

  14. Hi Amy .. there comes the gift of love for soul …. Duc sounds mighty lucky – especially as I see you rescued him and took his boundaries away … so the great outdoors is there for him … glad he’s improving … cheers Hilary

  15. Hahahaha……I don’t think I oughta laugh–and certainly it’s not at the bird’s demise. It’s that character of a cat that owns you–and you thought you owned the cat? LOL
    I’m glad Duc’s health is improved and the attitude is BACK!

  16. This is Sooooo funny, Amy! I don’t know why we pre-suppose we know best about our friends’ dietary needs. Without you, he would be one sick kitty, but with you? It looks like he is going to defy any form of vegetarianism. I have no advice for the transition to no chicken thighs but embrace the two of you and your relationship. Thank you for the smiles. Excellent piece of writing!

    • Oh, cats would flounder with a vegetarian diet, Leslie. His canned food includes pork, chicken and beef – all cooked and balanced with all the essentials. But he now ignores it if it doesn’t have chicken drippings and chunks of freshly cooked thigh. He just brought home a rabbit so on and on we go…

    • Otto! To admit it would be giving it even more life! Yesterday he brought home a small rabbit he killed. I nearly cried. Then he ate all the good parts, leaving the rest for me to clean up in the carport as he laid in the shade burping like a beer guzzler. I am not sure why I love him. 🙂

  17. Ah…so sorry to hear that Duc hasn’t been well, but delighted he retains his defiance and dignity, not to mention his knockout looks! Love your photography, Amy 😀

    • I confess to deep sobbing and bouts of acceptance that I’d have to say goodbye. The meds were upsetting his tummy so food really became an issue. We’re still adjusting them and watching him carefully. When I had to de-worm him and give him a flea treatment recently, it felt so cruel. However, we have to make sure his body is getting the full benefits of the meds! I’m so grateful that his coat has not tufted and dried like some thyroidal pusses. Must be the chicken drippings! 😀

  18. Isn’t that so like a cat… She just wanted you to know who is in control here Amy…:)
    We have always had Siamese cats…and do they know their minds!
    Our dog, an Imperial Shitzu, not to be left behind is a Diva…who likes…fruit!
    What a joy pets are…:)

    • Oh, I love the intelligence of the Siamese – who were guard cats in days of their ancestry, were they not? I had a grey tabby whose personality was all Siamese. Plus from behind, he had the Siamese knock-kneed stance. He’d growl when certain men came too close to me. He traveled around BC with me when I had to do various contracts. People would say, “Oh you’ll lose him if you let him outside around here…the bear are around.” I knew if he died from a bear encounter, he would have died happier than if I’d contained him. His name was General MacArthur because he was always bossing me around. “In” “Out” “Food” “Stop the car”

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