Disaster struck last week while we were out shopping. Graeme and I entered the local farmers' co-op without a care in the world. I browsed the clothes on special while Graeme headed off to buy dog and cat food and then the bomb dropped. the co-op was out of our cats' brand of cat food, except for the fish flavour. Now you might wonder why this caused such consternation in the Spring Rock household. The fact is the ferrets can't stand the fish flavour. They would rather go hungry than let fish flavoured kibble pass their little toothy mouths. The cats are fine with fish of course, but Tristan, Ambrosia and Nefertiti have never been privileged to taste it due to the ferrets' prejudice re fish flavours. Rabbit, lamb or whatever else Whiskas produces are all fine with the ferrets so those are the only flavours that are allowed to enter our home. Tristan, Ambrosia and Neferiti have never learned what they are missing and keeping them in ignorance is fine by me. If they were to discover that delicious flavour out there they just might strike for better kibble flavours every day.
Graeme who knows what a waste of money it would be to buy the fish flavour only to have it well and truly rejected by the ferrets and have to feed them solely on expensive tinned food until a more acceptable flavour could be purchased came back from his cat kibble hunt to report the bad news to me. There was another brand available that we'd tried before, but this brand had rather drastic effects on the cats' digestive system. The smells the cats emitted would have made a dog proud! Also neither the cats nor the ferrets were keen on this other brand, picking at their food and muttering about how disgraceful it was that inferior quality food was being served. We stood in the co-op weighing up the pros and cons of the two unacceptable options to try and decide which was the least unacceptable. In the end I decided that the other brand in lamb flavour was the better of two bad options. We'd buy it now and buy a Whiskas one as soon as we could and mix the other brand in, a bit at a time, until it was all gone. In the meantime the cats and ferret would have to endure the other brand straight.
We were off to a White Suffolk conference in South Australia in a few days so I mixed the little bit of Whiskas that was left with a small portion of the other brand in an effort to convince our cat kibble munchers to eat it. At first the cats carefully chose their preferred brand by picking up the other brand in their teeth and dropping it on the floor, only munching when their tongue detected the Whiskas kibble. The ferrets just sent all the kibble flying, thus making the kelpies waiting below their wire floored cage very happy little dogs. The dogs don't differentiate between brands. Cat kibble is cat kibble and all three canines love it.
I tried to explain that this was all there was until our next shop after we returned from South Australia. I was ignored. They wasted so much kibble in the few days before we left that by the time I filled up their automatic feeders it was pure other brand. The cats just turned up their noses and tails and stalked out of the room. The ferrets continued to mine for better tasting kibble without success. The automatic feeder meant that all the kibble landed on the ground on in the waiting kelpies' mouths. The kelpies had taken up almost permanent residence under the ferret cage and were having the time of their life. Life just didn't get better than this for two old dogs. I removed the automatic feeder from the ferret cage and reinstalled their ordinary ice cream container with little squares cut out of the side for ferret heads to poke in to eat. At least it was more difficult to scoop out large quantities of cat kibble from there.
We headed off for South Australia after setting up all the pets to be self sufficient for the three days and three nights we were going to be gone. Of course I worried about the cat kibble situation. I always worry about something, and so far cat and ferret attitude to the new kibble hadn't boded well.
Sure enough when we arrived home their displeasure was clearly evident, although I think the ferrets were regretting their form of protest. The cats had dug all the kibble out of the automatic feeder and spread it around the kitchen floor. Here they could at least nibble on some when they were hungry, albeit with a sour look of distaste planted firmly on their feline features. The ferrets on the other hand had tried the same protest manoeuvres with rather drastic results. They hadn't taken wire floor of their cage into account and ended up with nothing to eat. I only hope it took them a day or two to empty their feeder and they didn't starve for the three days. I am rather certain this was the case because when I refilled their dish with more of the other brand kibble they once again turned up their little pointy noses and stalked away. I did notice that they didn't start scattering the kibble far and wide though. The kelpies had placed themselves under the cage with expectant looks on their faces as soon as they saw me heading that way with the kibble in hand, so I was pretty sure the kelpies had eaten well during our absence.
The cats' protesting digestive system now made being in the same room with them rather a trial. They were totally unrepentent, glaring at us and clearly stating that if we forced inferior food on their delicate tummies then this was the price we paid. Windows were kept open, cats avoided like the plague and tinned cat food pressed on them at every given opportunity. This they basically ignored. Our cats have been off tinned food for a while now. I've no idea why, maybe they consider it a winter food like we do casseroles. Who knows?
We arrived home Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday Graeme headed to town for some farm shopping. At the top of his list was Whiskas kibble, farm equipment came a very poor second.