Disappointment, with cat treats

Posted by admin on September 24th, 2008 filed in Cats, General

Our cats, all 4 of them, run from Beren.  Sometimes a rare mood will take Dink and she will play with him for a few minutes, but it is not often that she does this voluntarily.  Beren really loves the cats and he is much more in control of himself around them than he used to be.  They don’t stick around to find this out though.  Abby, Jo’s cat-loving toddler, has had a lot of success feeding treats to her cats.  So I finally remembered to buy some treats yesterday.  Since Echo had a problem with the pH of her urine when she was a younger cat, we were advised by the vet to lay off the treats and feed her only a special food.  She’s grown out of the need for the special food, but we never picked up the treat habit again.  Needless to say, I’m a little out of touch when it comes to knowing anything about today’s cat treat market.  In the grocery store, I was confronted by a wall of different flavors and brands, all with packaging and descriptions that looked like it was designed to make people hungry, not cats.  I picked Pounce because it came in a plastic container, rather than a resealable baggie, because I can remember shaking the can of cat treats to attract the cats with the sounds of treats bouncing around when I was little.  And Beren does so like to shake things that make noise.  He knows the names of most of the things we usually buy at the store, but of course he’d never seen cat treats before, so he asked, “What’s this?”  I told him they were treats for him to give to the cats to eat and it would make them run to him instead of away from him!  I don’t know how much of that he understood, but he was excited.  He remembered that he was going to do something with the cats and the treats until we got home and he went digging through the bags right away to find the container.  I opened the freshness-preserving seal and figured out the flap on the lid while lecturing him that these were not for him to eat, they were only for the cats.  I was so proud that he didn’t even try to put it in his mouth.  He went straight for the nearest cat, Dinkle, with his treat clutched in his fist and his arm extended straight forward.  She ran.  Every cat we tried ran.  What’s wrong with these cats?  There was a treat!  Eventually he just put that one down so the cats could see that he had something for them.  We tried to administer treats several more times yesterday, failing every time.  We got to the point where the cats didn’t run immediately, but they still weren’t interested in actually eating the treats.  Why not, I ask.  It says right on the label that they are a “moist seafood medley made with real tuna and salmon.”  Any cat should be delighted with that!  And Beren was trying so hard to be good.  He gave the cats this heartbreaking tenderness.  He stood very still so he wouldn’t startle them and he kind of crouched down, so he was on their level.  Then he’d call them by name and pat his thigh or make little snapping noises with his fingers so they knew to come over.  I could tell he wanted to squeal in a decidedly high-pitched and wild way, but he restrained himself.  His plan was to put the treat directly into the cat’s mouth, but I suggested he sit the treat down in front of the cat.  I was impressed that he did this because, as you might know, it can be very difficult for a toddler to make himself relinquish such a nice prize.  He made soft cooing and coaxing noises to get the cats to eat the treats, but they never did.  Finally he decided he could show Dink how by manually moving her mouth, but the intent to touch made her flee and marked the end of our efforts yesterday.  The cats wouldn’t even eat the treats when I offered them.  I crushed one up so maybe the smell of it would entice them, but nothing.  I know it’s silly, but I’m a little angry with the cats for not rewarding all of Beren’s good intentions and amazing self-control.  Not to mention all that sweetness!  He loves these animals so much and they just run from him.  I think he might get to see a puppy this weekend, so maybe there will be some eager treat receiving there.  We’ll keep trying with the cats though. 

4 Responses to “Disappointment, with cat treats”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    My daughter Brianna (now 5) has had a love/hate relationship with my four cats since the beginning too. I know what you are going through, and the treats trick worked with Jo’s cats, but not our own! The only thing that really worked was time. Time for the toddler to grow up a little more, and time for the cats to age and calm down (a lot) more. I do remember taking one of my cats in my lap (claws in an old towel), and bringing her over to my daughter and then petting the cat and having Brianna pet her at the same time. Of course, when you let go of the towel, the cats rockets away. But at least you get the cat more used to the idea of being petted by the young’un. Good luck, and keep praising Beren for his efforts!

  2. Lynn Says:

    Have you tried a different flavor of treats? Cali loves almost all treats but I bought a different kind once and she refused them.
    I can almost see him being sweet and trying to feed the kitties…it must have been heartbreaking.

  3. Jo Says:

    Stupid kitties! Some cats just love treats and will do anything for them (Larry and Ernie among those) The next time I get a cat (if ever!), they will have to pass the “I love treats” test. Those cats are trainable, like dogs. Cats who don’t like treats are mentally and motivationally like trying to train a spider or something.

    I would try different treats too, maybe those micro dried shrimps… Larry will eat any cat treat, but crunchy are his favorite.

    Sweet Beren. His efforts will be rewarded eventually! It is so wonderful that he is so gentle and loving.

  4. admin Says:

    I will try some different treats and see if that helps. He did successfully give two treats to Captain, the 16 year old, last night by placing them in front of him and then backing far away. Captain doesn’t eat much of anything these days and he’s getting really thin, so I’m always happy to see him eating something, even if it is a treat.

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