Please Sir, I’ve Never Seen Food Before
Every single morning I play a game with my cat. I don’t know what my cat does during the night when I sleep, sometimes she sleeps, and sometimes she stalks around the house. Yet when morning comes I can count on one thing. As I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen, she will jot down the hallway to greet me at my bedroom doorframe. As I walk towards the kitchen she will walk between my legs, stopping to rub her head on my feet.
This is her way of saying “Good morning, please feed me.” Which, before getting my first cup of coffee, I always will do. Some mornings she tucks right into her breakfast, and others she sniffs it and walks away in disgust, only to come back a few minutes later to finally eat. But sometimes it doesn’t stop at breakfast. As the day goes on, if you walk into the kitchen for any reason, she will use her laser-focused hearing and you’ll hear her hop down from wherever she is and the next thing you know she’s walking with you again.
It could be mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or even late evening. But it’s just like the morning dance, her adorable little self rubbing against your feet saying “Please sir, I’ve literally never seen food before. I beg of thee. Feed me.” Thus the tug of war begins. “No, Lucy. You’ve been fed” I’ll say, and she’ll rub her head against me more as if to say “No, sir. That wasn’t me, that was someone else who looks like me. The one who has seen food. Not me, who has never known what it is to eat.”
What makes this tricky is when she walks so closely to your feet you have to take a hold of the counters to walk along without getting tripped up. “Sir, Please. The Food” I can imagine Lucy staying to me. Whilst I try to walk slowly around my kitchen without being tripped over like I’m doing a physical challenge on “Double Dare.” “Lucy. Please. I have hot coffee in a cup in my hand” I’ll say in response as I try to make it across my kitchen.
She’ll give up, and accept defeat. I know she’s come to terms with no new food being put down as she’ll walk over to her dry food bowl and begin to much a little on it. This is a process that is sometimes repeated more than once during the day. Sometimes Lucy will try a more subtle approach. She’ll walk into the kitchen if you’re in there, but instead of doing the “walk along you” dance, she’ll simply trot over to her dry food bowl.
Lucy will sit along the side of the bowl and settle her front two paws down in a little back-and-forth motion. Then she’ll look at the bowl, and then she’ll look at you. She’ll make direct eye contact with me as if to say “Sir, it was my understanding this was a wine and tapas restaurant and the tapas haven’t arrived yet.” Let the record show that her bowl isn’t at all empty when she does this. If you have a cat, you’ve seen them do a variation on this routine.
All cats, mostly, love to play the “I have never been fed” game. Lucy is sometimes trickier than others as she is a picky eater, even by picky cat standards. I’ve tried a lot of those “We promise you that we have tested and tested and even the pickiest of pickiest cats will love this” foods and even Lucy looks at me after rejecting it like she is saying “How dare you!”
It’s a small victory when Lucy will eat the food I give her instead of not trying it, giving up, or just taking a few bites. What’s funny is even when she’s fully happy with what I’ve given her and eaten well, you can be as sure as clockwork she’ll come in a few hours later and do the “I’ve never seen food dance.” Cats are funny little creatures, but they do make life more enjoyable.
You’ll be happy to know that right now, at this moment as I type this, Lucy is fed and content. She’s currently napping on the couch that’s in my home office. I wonder how long she’ll rest till it’s time to play the “I’ve never seen food before” game again? See you next week.