The doorbell rang at 8:09am one morning in the waning hours of summer. On the cusp of the autumnal equinox, some poor dashy door-delivery person left a bag of someone else’s order on our doorstep. We called. The order cost was refunded to the orderer. All seemed in good order after all.
Except, it wasn’t exactly.
When such things happen, it is up to the recipient to decide: intake or toss out? Being loath to waste, we attempted intake. Maximal mass-marketed-meal fail! So, the waste bin was filled, but our bellies remained empty.
Every single one of the cats that have ever called Tabby’s Place home (or resting place, or the Place where hallways are the greatest temptation, or the Place that has the bestest toys, bestest beds, and mostest humans who bring all the pets and all the MEALS!) completely sympathizes with our midweek, disappointing surprise.
Every single one of the cats that have ever been fed at Tabby’s Place claims to have this exact experience on an all-to-regular basis. The reason? Every single one of the Tabby’s Place cats has a very particular preference with regards to mealtime mush. Most prefer fish, some prefer chunks, some prefer gravy.
Chicken Salad (yes, that is really her name!) told me that not one of them prefers vegan cheese. She insists that it is not food.
But, as regards actual food, as much as possible, cats preferences and needs are matched up with meals guaranteed (mostly) to please. Kittens are always provided with the finest beef or poultry pâtés. Cats with more delicate systems or dietary requirements have carefully selected and limited offerings to ensure they remain as healthy and comfortable as possible. Their section of the canned food cabinet, just like the section for kittens, is always well-stocked. The top shelf of that same cabinet is allocated to picky eaters, making it easier for feeders to find something that tickles their fancy. For Bacon, who requires the most savory of centers in order to be coaxed to nibble a bite, there is a personalized container with exactly what he likes best.
Despite this high level of care in catering to the palates of the needful and the particular, every so often a meal delivery is snubbed. The delivery person will hasten to try a different meal – something more tempting, something with a stronger odor, a smoother texture, a gravy, no gravy. No matter, though, if the deliverers of the delectable make one trip or three, they are always greeted with eager anticipation and appreciation. In fact, non-feeders are often greeted with similar affection just in case they might be bearing flavorful treats.
There was no such greeting for the dashy door-delivery person who bumped our bell at 8:09am on a weekday morning. It was just not the time for running to the front door for a single ring. A neighbor in need would have rung again or knocked. And, lacking the cats’ expectations of a meal being hand-delivered, there was no eagerness, no anticipation.
But, no matter who shows up at the door in Tabby’s Place, even if completely empty-handed, the cats are unstinting in spreading their love. They are also very vocal in their expectations of sufficient attention, tailored to each of their preferences. And, when they do receive a food delivery that isn’t quite to their liking? Not one will hesitate to exclaim, “That’s not food!”
For the record, at Tabby’s Place, Bacon and Chicken Salad aren’t food, either.