The Whiskas Chronicles: The Dinner Dilemma

Posted: March 24, 2008 in animals, Life, Tenerife
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Whiskas is a cat, not a very imaginatively named one admittedly, but that was nothing to do with us. I say he’s a cat; however, I really believe he’s something else completely. He’s too fiendishly clever to be a mere cat. I’m sure he’s had a curse or a spell cast on him. After all stories of shape-changers aren’t uncommon on this island.

An angelic face masks a fiendish mind

He’s not our cat, he simply chooses to spend most of his time here, and we do feed him, but that only came about after a long, dirty and particularly well executed campaign on his part.

Over the past four years we’ve had good moments and bad ones. I’ve tried to outsmart him many times, with little success. He has the brains of a criminal mastermind and the stealth of a ninja. However at this moment in time we’ve reached a good point in our relationship. Although I’m well aware that this is always a fragile situation and one wrong move can see the re-emergence of his evil alter ego, Whiskelus.

The latest situation which threatens peace is related to his dinner times. Whiskas is given his dinner only after we’ve finished eating. Even as I write this, I realise how disciplinarian it sounds. Thank god we didn’t have kids; we’d have done a right Philip Larkin on them by now.  In my defence, you don’t know what we’re dealing with here. There can be no ambiguity with this cat.

As soon as we finish eating, he gets his dinner. Normally, this happens between 8 and 9pm and he’s pretty cool with that. It’s a good system. He eats, then toddles off to have a nap, or do whatever he does at night and we don’t see him again until breakfast.

The problem we’re facing is what to do when we have to go out at night? Feed him before we go, or after we come back?

The first time this happened, we fed him before we went out, at around 6-ish; a couple of hours before his usual time. It seemed unfair to make him wait. Big mistake. When we arrived home at about 10pm, Whiskas was waiting for us, clearly expecting his dinner. The early meal had been long forgotten, or viewed as an early evening snack. He was given short shrift and shown the door.
Unfortunately, the cat felt that this was an unjust course of action and protested loudly outside our bedroom window all night.

Feeding him early was obviously the wrong option, so next time we went out for the evening we decided not to feed him until we returned. This worked much better, or so it seemed. Waiting for us was a humble, white cat (probably not hungry though. Our neighbour has a cat sanctuary, so there’s food on tap all of the time). He gratefully ate his dinner and toddled away, quiet as a mouse.

But this cat is a complex character; it’s never that easy. Last Friday we went to La Laguna to see the Semana Santa Silent Procession. As it didn’t start until 9.30pm it didn’t interfere with our, or more importantly, Whiskas’ dinner. However, when we arrived back home at about 11pm, there he was waiting for us. Apparently by feeding him the previous time after we’d been out, we’d established a pattern (funny thing that with cats. If it benefits them, they learn quickly. If it doesn’t they’re as dumb as an ass), he expected another meal.

I told him not to be so stupid and ignored him. Cue another night of unrelenting protests – I’m sure he must have French blood in him.

This cat is his own worst enemy, because now the only solution I can see is that if we’re going out, he’ll have to wait till we get home before he gets fed, even if that happens to be a three in the morning. It seems harsh, but it’s the only way we’ll get any sleep…unless anybody else has any suggestions.

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