So for weeks I had been trying to figure out why our two mostly outdoor cats D.C. and Lily were not gaining any weight. They were not overly skinny but they both seemed to have lost weight and the way they were going through cat food you would think I was feeding two Bengal tigers. Every day I would fill up their cat food dish clear to the top with cat food, setting it carefully at the bottom of the front steps where the cats would know where it was and by the next morning it was always empty, completely licked clean.
So I started filling up their food dish twice a day and still they did not gain any weight. "These cats must have a tapeworm to be able to eat so much and never gain a pound" I thought! So I dewormed them, which involved giving them pills and I make it a habit never to give a cat a pill if I can help it because frankly I have enough scars thank you very much.
First I tried to hide the worm pill in some wet cat food, which they both gobbled every speck of food up except for the perfectly licked clean worm pill sitting in the bottom of their empty dish. How do they know? So for the 2nd round I crept up to Lily with worm pill in hand as I mustered up some courage and tried the sneak approach. Pet..pet...nice kitty...oh let me rub your chin...and shove this pill in your mouth. I measured my success by the disappearance of that dang pill down her throat and not the blood then dripping from my hand.
One cat down, I decided a different approach was needed. So I got a large towel out of the closet and laid D.C. down on it, quickly wrapping her up like a very angry burrito. This worked much better and there was less blood involved. Of course I might be speaking too soon because cats don't handle humiliation very well. Judging by the angry flip of her tail and the vengeance in her eyes when I was done I am sure that cat will have it in for me for quite some time. She is probably crouched under a chair right now just waiting for me to walk by in bare feet for some payback.
Even after the whole worming pill fiasco they still did not gain any weight. I found my answer one day when I happened to hear some loud and obnoxious crunching coming from outside my front door. I opened the door to find a rather fat opossum, pointy nose buried in the cat's food just chowing away. He was kind of a cute fellow, in a rat on steroids sort of way but it was time to move the cat food dish!
Opossums can carry diseases I don't want him sharing with my cats. They are also not good animals to have hanging around as I have heard they will kill chickens and besides nobody likes a free loader. So from now on the piggy possum will have to find his own food. Since finding out where all the cat food was going and fixing the problem I am happy to say the cats have gained weight and are looking good again, not to mention we are going through a lot less cat food these days!
*Edited to add - The opossum was not harmed in any way, I merely took away his free buffet of cat food so he would move on and forage for his own food further from our home and in the woods as nature intended. I now feed the cats where opossums can not get to their food.
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