Not-A-Lunch #2: How To Feed Three Cats

I would love to excuse myself for not having lunch for a few years, but the truth is, I have been eating lunch. Almost every day, in fact. I just haven’t felt like writing about it.

This might be because, when you have committed the error of starting four blogs, three of them with stupidly large numbers in their names, you just want to run away from your computer and lock the door and ask someone else to please keep the ruddy things updated and let you know when they reach eleventymillion, or however many hikes, recipes, or lunches you were supposed to spend the whole rest of your life blogging about.

Also, I have cats to feed, which means that sometimes I have to do actual work in order to earn money to buy cat food. And, while I’m doing that work, the cats take turns reminding me that it’s nearly time to feed them. So, all in all, it’s quite hard to think about feeding myself, and even more difficult to think about writing about feeding myself.

To make matters worse, my household recently acquired a third cat. Now, I know The Rule: no single woman over the age of forty living on her own may possess more than two point zero cats unless she’s prepared to turn into that weird Venetian cat lady from Jonathan Strange and Dr Norrell and spend the rest of her life eating mouse tails and pigeon heads. But cat number three came with a man: The Hot Hiking Buddy. So that’s not the problem.

The problem is that Cat 3 is well-behaved, because she was brought up correctly by the HHB. This means she doesn’t stand a chance against Cats 1 and 2, both of whom are assholes, because they were brought up by me. Also, the HHB often leaves the house early, or comes home late, or goes away for several days, which leaves me in charge of feeding three cats with two hands and not enough caffeine. It’s taken me a while, but I think I’ve finally got this thing worked out.

So, here, in 28 extremely complicated steps, is:

How To Feed Three Cats

1. Get enough sleep. This is tricky, because Cats 1 and 2 will start wanting you to feed them at approximately 4:51am. They will make it known that morning is approaching by clawing your rug, clawing your mattress, and jumping on your chest until you wake up and yell at them so that they know you’re awake.

2. Get up and open the bedroom door. All three cats will run towards the kitchen. Close the bedroom door. They are now locked out. Get back into bed and try to go back to sleep.

3. Cat 2 will start relentlessly pawing at the door (a sport he inexplicably trains for in the bathtub). Cat 1 will meow pitifully and persistently behind him. Cat 3 will sit watching, and, presumably, learning.

4. Get up and go to the kitchen. Try not to trip over the cats. Find a spray bottle of water. Go back to the bedroom, being sure not to let the cats back in. If any cats come back into the bedroom, pretend to go back to the kitchen so that they follow you, then race back to the bedroom and shut the door. Get back into bed and try to go back to sleep.

5. Cat 2 will resume pawing and Cat 1 will start meowing again. Get up, open the bedroom door and spray Cat 2 with water. Cats 1, 2 and 3 will all run away. Get back into bed and try to go back to sleep.

6. Repeat step 5 until your desired wake up time. Do not, on any account, give in and get up earlier.

7. Get up and open the bedroom door. Go to the kitchen. Try not to trip over the cats. Cats 1, 2 and 3 will now all be meowing, surrounding you like furry, squealing demon shadows. Repeat: try not to trip over the cats.

8. Retrieve food bowls from the floor and food tubs from the cupboards. Try not to drop food tubs and spill cat food all over the floor.

9. Naturally, Cats 1, 2 and 3 must all eat different food. Cat 1 is obese, so must eat a tiny amount of scientific slimming formula. Cat 2 might die if he doesn’t eat a special scientific struvite-dissolving formula. Cat 3 (being normal because she isn’t mine) eats Friskies and Pampers. All three cats would prefer to eat Friskies and Pampers.

10. Put correct food into correct bowls. Push Cat 2 off the counter when he tries to steal food out of the tubs. Close tubs and return to cupboards.

11. Hold bowls for Cat 1 and Cat 2 in the air until Cat 1 and Cat 2 are yowling in their correct positions on either side of the fridge. Place correct food bowls in front of Cat 1 and Cat 2.

12. Quickly place Cat 3’s food around the side of the counter out of sight.

13. Bask in a few seconds of peace. Start making coffee.

14. Cat 2 will decide that he hates his scientific struvite-dissolving food. This is not a surprise. He decides this every mealtime. Cat 2 will wait for you to put the kettle on, sneak around to Cat 3’s bowl, push her away, and start gulping down Friskies and Pampers. Cat 3 will sit and watch him do this.

15. Stop making coffee. Pick up Cat 2, who will growl at you like Marge Simpson:

16. Throw Cat 2 in the bathroom and shut the door. Go back to the kitchen and lock the cat flap.

17. Cat 2 will escape through the bathroom window in 1.4 seconds and try to come in through the cat flap. He will keep trying to get in through the cat flap using a similar technique to the bedroom door pawing, but with extra nose-nudging.

18. Watch Cat 2 trying to get the cat flap open. Maybe snigger a little. Put the kettle on again.

19. While this has been happening, Cat 1 will have finished her tiny portion of scientific slimming formula and moved over to Cat 2’s bowl. Notice that Cat 1 is now halfway through Cat 2’s food.

20. Pick up Cat 1 (who weighs more than you would think possible), put her in the bathroom (she’s too heavy to throw), and shut the door. She will remain there safely because she’s too fat and heavy to climb through the window.

21. Return to the kitchen. Cat 2 will still be pawing at the cat flap. Cat 3 will now be so freaked out by the commotion Cat 2 is causing that she will have abandoned her food and left the kitchen.

22. Follow Cat 3 with her food bowl, apologizing to her. Put her food down somewhere far away and out of sight of the cat flap.

23. Return to the kitchen and start making coffee again while cat flap commotion continues. Contemplate how Cat 2 is preparing you for the Zombie Cat Apocalypse and try to feel grateful to him.

24. Wait until Cat 3 has finished eating. Open the cat flap.

25. Cat 2 will immediately race to Cat 3’s bowl and devour any remaining morsels. He will then jump onto the counters and inspect them for food. Eventually, he will return to his own food bowl and eat what Cat 1 didn’t already manage to.

26. Wait until Cat 2 has finished eating. Open the bathroom door. Cat 1 will stare at you accusingly from the basin.

27. Return to the kitchen and finish making your coffee.

28. Enjoy a few hours of peace until lunch time, when the cats will start letting you know that it’s almost  supper time.