The “Surprise Me Happy Meals” for our cats

As you know, all our cats are on the raw diet. I managed to convert them 100% in Sept 2019. Before that, they were on a rojak-diet of “semua taruh” where they got raw, canned and kibble. At that time, it was for convenience so that in case I could not feed them, anyone else can. But then, more and more, I knew that 100% raw would be much better for them, health-wise. So, I made the effort in Sept 2019, and took one month to convert everyone. Heidi was the most stubborn and last to be converted 100%. She went from not even touching raw to a 100% raw diet – that took a great deal of patience and perseverance.

Also, according to the literature, raw is the most easily digested since it contains natural enzymes (not destroyed by cooking/heating). Canned food is cooked food, so that requires more digestion and finally comes kibble. If it’s not grainfree, it would contain quite a bit of carbohydrates and cats have some difficulty in digesting carbohydrates because of the low level of amylase in their pancreas. But I stand corrected on this as I am not a nutritionist.

So, everyone has been on 100% raw since Sept 2019. All had been well until….Indy and Ginger somehow started staging walk-outs from their meals. They would just sniff at their bowls and walk away. For Ginger, it took a lot of reprimanding before he would finally eat it. For Indy, reprimanding didn’t work. Coaxing and pleading sometimes worked but most of the time, I had to end up force-feeding him. That made meal times quite stressful and an unpleasant experience, both for me and the cats. Even Cleo walks away quite often, but usually she will come back on her own. I think her walk-out is a case of not wanting to start eating with everyone, but to eat later. I don’t know why, though. She will go wander in the garden, do some business, then only come back to eat when everyone has finished.

So I started adding toppings to their food. I started with Cindy’s pureed food. That worked for awhile, but soon, they got bored. Once in a while, I would add some kibble (but only very little). I also use some canned food.

Yesterday, my friend Lin Li (of Cubgrub) gave me a sample of her anchovy powder. She also uses it for her eldest cat (who is also fussy). It’s meant to be used as a topper for meals.

I offered it this morning to everyone and all of them liked it!

But I should not use it for every meal because they would grow bored of it very quickly, so I still need variety. I’ll alternate it with canned food and kibble.

So for now, our cats will get toppings. With toppings, meal times is cut almost by half because I don’t have to spend time reprimanding Ginger or coaxing Indy. Or waiting for Cleo to come back.

This was dinner just now. It’s been a long time that everyone ate so heartily (please view the video below). Everyone came and nobody walked away.

By the way, Tabs and Ginger eat in the kitchen. Cow, Bunny, Cleo and Indy eat at the pantry. Tabs is so far the only one who doesn’t demand for toppings. Cow and Bunny never needed toppings previously (and still don’t) but since Indy and Cleo are given, they too demand for it now.

I call this the “Surprise Me Happy Meals”! They get to look forward to each meal without knowing what the topping would be. As my friend told me, “as long as they eat happily”. It’s true. It’s also so much less stressful for me now, with these toppings. It had come to a point where I feared feeding times knowing it’s going to be so difficult with Ginger and Indy.

Our cats also actually look forward to meal times now. They gather around to wait. I no longer have to coax and plead with Indy to come (which I had to previously).

Now, why didn’t I think of doing this earlier on? Maybe it’s because I wanted to stick to the 100% raw diet knowing that’s what is best for them. I know some raw feeding cat parents who adopt the “eat or starve” principle when it came to raw food. Of course it’s not wrong, because they only want what is best for their cats. And it really takes a lot of perseverance to do that – I truly salute them!

But our cats are all geriatric now. I want them to enjoy their meals. So, “Surprise Me Happy Meals” it is….for now!