Cats: hard to buy for

The cat was horrified by it. I bought an automatic electronic pet feeder from Amazon, figuring to add a little simplicity to my wife’s schedule. The feeder has all kinds of bells and whistled; you can set multiple feed times per day, setting the time and food portion. You can also record a little message that calls your pet to the table (so to speak) or just pass on a soothing and encouraging message. It has an LCD screen and uses push-button programming. It’s the cat’s pajamas., feeder.

It arrived, delivered by UPS and I spent the better part of an hour trying to program it to cough up a quarter cup of kitty kibble at 6am, 1pm and 9pm. For my message, I recorded the message “Hey, Fuzzbutts. Come get this crap.” Which is pretty much what I say when I feed them manually. My wife never says anything when she feeds the cats, she’s kind of a stealth kibble fairy.

The boldest of our kitties is Eva, who is also a curious cat, never, apparently, having heard the old adage about lethal knowledge pursuit. She came to watch as I unboxed and set up the feeder, becoming very interested when she watched me dump a half bag of cat food into the machine. She said “mew?”

“Yep, it’s for you alright. See, it keeps the food in this plastic see through tub –not just a method of retaining the freshness discerning felines crave after an afternoon of cleansing privates, but also a visual reinforcement that this is, indeed a source of food for you freeloading sleep machines.” The cat looked at me sideways, letting me know she caught the inference. “Just kidding, Fuzzwart. You know me. Love you long time.” The cat snorted, then folding her legs beneath her, she waited to see the machine work. I walked away, knowing that it wasn’t going to drop any food for another 3 hours, given the programming I gave it.

At 1pm I stood in the kitchen to see if the machine was punctual. The cat heard me in the kitchen and took a seat next to me. Together we watched the feeder in anticipation of success. At 1pm exactly, there was a whirring noise and then cat kibbles flew out of the reservoir and into the cat dish and I heard myself yelling at the cats from within the machine. The cat stood and arched its back and hissed at the mechanical feeder. Her eyes were wide and untrusting, but the lure of free food caused her to take a couple of halting steps towards the food dish. There was a whine of meshing gears as the machine reset itself and the cat attacked the feeder, tipping it over and dumping kitty kibble all over the floor. That wasn’t good enough, rowling, she clawed at the displaced lid twice and then bit it hard enough to leave a dental impression it.

I applauded. “Looks like you’ve killed it all right.” I told her. She looked proud, her tail erect, but she still had that puffed up look angry cats get. She laid down and rolled in the food a few times, then closed her eyes and feigned sleep. I shooed her away and cleaned up the kibble, dumping it back into the original bag. It had a few random cat hairs mixed in with it, but hey, look how they bathe. I left the machine where it was, albeit with a lot less food in the hopper.

The two other cats we ave flat refused to go anywhere near it. I’m sure that Eva had gone down and whopped up a lie about her prowess at defeating the terrifying monster I unleashed up the cat world, tainting them ahead of their own experience. She’s done that with all of the little robots I made for the cats to play with. None of the cats will go near my creations, and I’m sure it’s because of liar, liar, pants on fire Eva.

Some cats are stereotypical. They eat, they sleep, they spray your favorite fabrics in an attempt to demonstrate ownership. A gross habit, but one Eva never took up. Perhaps that’s because we ad her fixed. You know, the kind of fix where nothing’s broken. It hasn’t seemed to slow her down much, but then again she’s female, and testosterone isn’t a big factor like it is for males. We males who have been stripped of our plumbing tend to have lower concentrations of the male hormone and that tends to mellow us out. It hasn’t mellowed Eva though. Not a bit. She really should have been born a dog because this animal is a stone cold bitch.

I see her that way, in spite of the fact that she comes to check on me maybe eight or nine times a day. She wanders in and does a prison guard walk-through of my room, often demanding access to the closet or bathroom. I let her have her way and she ducks in and does a fast turn around inspection, verifying that I’m not in a relationship with some feline floozy who brings me dead rodents and birds. She always enters with a certain suspicion but leaves looking satisfied. In this photo I’d just asked her if she was jealous. She told me she wasn’t the type and gave me a severe tongue lashing. Okay, maybe it was a grooming attempt on her part. Better than self grooming, licking me doesn’t produce furballs.

Someday I will find a technological device she likes. I had to spend six grand on my wife, buying cameras, computers, digital photo frames, and a diversity of other techno gear. All of it stays locked away, still sealed in the original boxes. Only the Kindle I got her sees any action. So I”m hopeful that I will eventually find the electronic gizmo that rigs her proverbial bell.

But the auto-feeder is definitely not in that category.