Friday, January 6, 2017

The Breakfast Dance for Fairness

I know I should be telling you about the first days of kitten. I'll get back to that, but right now, I need to tell you about food wars.

Every weekday morning, I get up at 5:50 am to work on my breakfast, a lunch for Nick, and food for Teddy, Seth, and Blitz. Yes, the kitten's name is Blitz.

Every morning, I stumble around in the dark before I get to the light switch in my kitchen. The problem is that Blitz hasn't figured out how to walk at my feet. One morning, before I found the light switch, I kicked him, totally by accident, like he was a football. I actually felt his little body lift into the air off my foot.

I dropped to my knees but he ran away. Then, I said, "Blitzen, are you hungry?" And he ran back to me as if I'd magically spouted creamed liver from my fingertips. That kitten is so gullible.

Then, I picked him up and petted him all over, making sure I hadn't broken any bones or ripped his tail off or anything. He purred as if breakfast was about to appear and then wiggled out of my arms. Whew!

The next morning, Blitz hadn't had enough of a lesson the previous day. Again in the dark as I was reaching for the light switch, he managed to get underfoot again. I stepped on his tail in my soft slippers and as the light blinked on, the poor guy swung around his squashed tail as if he was doing a maypole dance. There were long, agonizing microseconds after I saw him before my leg answered my brain command and let him go.

Back down on my knees, I tried to call him to me. Nothing. He was gone. "Blitz, are you hungry?" And there he was, as happy and cheerful as when I drop-kicked him, purring and looking for liver pate or maybe some salmon in my magic hands.

My knees are still sore, but he has yet to show any damage or even skill in walking around my feet in the morning. I think he knows that I don't mean to torture him. I hope he knows.

This morning, I did not kick him. I figured out - I know I'm a little late to the game - how to turn on that little flashlight on my phone. And I shuffle my feet instead of walking. It's safer that way, though I imagine I'm looking a little more like my grandma every day, shuffling one foot a couple of inches while gripping the walker with the purple tennis balls on the bottom of the legs before shuffling the second foot forward an inch or two.

So, by the time my eyes adjust to the bright of the fluorescent light, Blitz is standing on a little footstool I use to get the stuff off the top shelf of my cabinets. And he's leaning toward me and crying, a pathetic little cry where no sound comes out of his mouth. As I slide back and forth from the counter, to the fridge, to the spot where I keep the bowls, Blitz runs back and forth with me. I figure he gets a quarter mile in by the time it's his turn for breakfast. .

"Are you hungry, Blitzie?" I find one of those little wedges of pate in gelatin, Sheba. It's his favorite and I like it too because that stuff doesn't actually look like someone vomited and sealed it into a can. It smells good too. I wish they put their stuff into recyclable containers instead of plastic that's going to be floating in the Pacific ocean soon but we all have to pick our battles and non-vomit stuff that smells good goes a long way. "Are you hungry?" I say again and look down at him as he paces back and forth with me and leaps onto his footstool when I draw near to it.

"ow," he replies. His front paws wave in the air.

"Does your tail still hurt from yesterday?"

"ow," he replies. He looks so pathetic.

"Oh, poor baby munchkin."

"Yeah," he replies. And by then, I've tapped his tiny loaf of pate into a tiny bowl and he's stretched out long like a ferret, grabbing at the side of the cabinet. He hasn't learned how to jump as high as the counter yet, thankfully.

Then, I do a yoga stretch and bend down to put his tiny bowl onto the footstool. I stretch and pet him for a minute while he purrs, arches his back against my hand, and gulps his breakfast. I feel my hamstrings. I'm getting old and stiff but this helps.

Suddenly, Seth is in the room, threatening to shove Blitz out of his position. I quickly put some fat-cat food, Hills Metabolic, into another tiny bowl and put it on the washing machine in the laundry room. Then, I do a little weigh-lifting and pick up about seventeen and a half pounds of adult cat and put him in his position on the washer.

Then, I hear Teddy crying. I don't blame him. Teddy is always last to eat. I put half a can of his pate, Hills I/D, on top of a scoop of his kibbles and then I get ready, knees a little bent and eyes alert for the next step.

Blitz sees food in Teddy's bowl and abandons his pate for Teddy's stuff. Teddy backs out of the kitchen while Blitz gobbles as much of what has to be the good stuff as he can get. I pick him up and take him to the other end of the kitchen to his tiny abandoned bowl. Teddy edges back into the kitchen, but Blitz runs at him and dodges under his long legs to get to the dog bowl. Teddy is very polite.

The Hills I/D must be tasty stuff though it doesn't smell as good as the Sheba loaf. Seth finishes his fat-cat food, leaps off the washer with a thud, chases Blitz away from Teddy's food, and begins to dine. Seth will puke it all up if I don't put a stop to that. I pick him up and shuffle him away from the dog's bowl, trying not to drop-kick the underfoot kitten, who is certain that everyone is getting better food than him.

Did I tell you that Blitz's kibbles, Hill's Science Diet Kitten kibbles, lie abandoned in another tiny bowl under the footstool at all times? I think that when he's bored, Seth munches on them because he's gained an appreciable amount of weight since Blitz came to live at our house. I can tell when I weight-lift him for my daily routine that he's added a couple of one pound plates to the barbell.

Meanwhile, Teddy has retreated to the living room and is out there crying.

So, I walk into the laundry room. "Blitzen, are you hungry?" And there's my little Blitz, under each foot as I put it down, dodging out of doors as I try to close them ahead of him. Finally, I get the little guy locked into the laundry room where I put the abandoned fat-cat food onto the floor. Seth only ever licks the gelatin off of it anyway so it's nice that Blitz doesn't let it go to waste.

While Blitz is focused on food that has to be better than his own, I sneak out of the laundry room and find that Seth has eaten another chunk of Teddy's dog food. I'll find that in a wet pink pile in my sewing room later, I'm sure of it. I shoo him away and finally, Teddy comes into the kitchen while I stand sentry and he finally gets to eat.

Then, I get involved in making my own breakfast and miss Seth who rocks Blitz's tiny bowl as he finishes off the tiny wedge of pate, the best stuff in the house, according to the number of calories and protein involved.

Eventually, all the food is gone except dry kitten kibbles under the footstool and Teddy's dry dog kibbles. While I'm making Nick's lunch, Blitz will take out dry dog kibbles one by one and bat them around until he loses one under the refrigerator or the oven and goes to get another out of the bowl. Sometimes he eats them, but usually, he just plays with them and loses them. When I vacuum up those things, they rattle around in my vacuum cleaner as if it's broken. Blitz seems convinced that everyone gets better food than he does. So, he eats everyone's food, including his own.

Welcome to my new morning routine, the breakfast dance, and the beginning of my exercise regimen, my kitten's existential angst over fairness and equality.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment