Posts Tagged ‘queenie’

Grumpy animals!

The dogs and cats are all sulking because they’ve had their food rations decreased. And when I say sulk, I mean sulk.

I tried the dogs on a Chubb sausage thing and they devoured it. Even Snipe, who is a typical Labrador and just gulps down her food without pausing to chew, delicately picks out the Chubb from her bowl before eating the biscuits. And I thought Midge was going to wet herself with pleasure!

But 800g of Chubb seems a lot more than 800g of tinned dog food so because they get their proper requirements from the complete biscuits and the meat is just a luxury, instead of halving it and feeding it over two days, I’ve cut it in three. They know they’ve been cheated!

The cats, however, are insisting they’re much worse off but they can blame Asda for their ration. On Monday, I discovered that instead of getting a 2.5% VAT reduction on the cat food, I instead paid 21p more than the previous week. The sneaky bastards put the price up from £1.98 to £2.23 but you pay £2.19 at the till and when I pointed this out to the store supervisor, he tried to insist I was getting a good deal!

Again, they get all their nutritional requirements from their biscuits (which are kept topped up at all times) so we’ve decided that since Queenie and Horatio generally get bored after eating a few mouthfuls but Mac munches his way through the rest, we’ll give them just half a tin each day. We cut them down slowly so at first they failed to notice the difference but now …. let’s just say it ain’t pretty! They all devour the complete contents of their bowl as soon as it’s put down and spend the next fifteen minutes wrapping themselves around my legs, insisting they’re all still hungry. No, just greedy. They did the same thing when Queenie decided she would eat the shop’s own cat food and not exclusively Whiskers so the boys went from a tin between the pair of them to a tin between all three cats. As I said, they’ve got biscuits whenever they want them and I’ve got bills to pay!

Tia and Scrumpy are also getting less food than they’re accustomed to but after the events of yesterday, they’re getting a whole post to themselves which I will endeavour to write and publish today. Possibly with photos!

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Give the dog a bone

I wonder how many poor dogs and cats who think they’re loved and adored by their owners, will be dumped this winter? I ask because the cost of pet food has taken a sharp increase in recent weeks – and this never bodes well for our four-legged friends. It’s different for livestock – if the cost of feeding gets too much, then reverse the situation and let them feed us but when it comes to our pets, we abandon them when the going gets tough, even though they’d follow us to hell and back.

Snipe, being a Labrador, is happy with whatever food comes her way so I feed her on Asda SmartPrice complete dog biscuits (at 95p for a 2.5kg bag, can you blame me?!) but Midge is extremely fussy and would much prefer things if she never had to eat a biscuit in her life. But she will eat both the Webbox and the Wagg biscuits which are twice the price of Snipe’s but as she eats less, one bag lasts her longer. And each day they share a tin of Asda’s complete dog food, which is £1.79 for a six pack. On Sundays, they get treated to a tin of Pedigree between them.

The cats get complete biscuits whenever they want them – there’s a bowl in the kitchen that we keep topped up at all times so they can help themselves when they’re hungry. None of them are fat so this system obviously works for them. We’re really lucky that they’re not fussy when it comes to their biscuits, so I get to buy whatever seems to be good value, just to vary things a bit for them. We used to get an excellent sack of biscuits from the farm shop but they came in 25kg bags and just one flavour – after they’d eaten 100kg, they started to get somewhat bored!

However, whilst they’re happy to eat whatever biscuits come their way, Queenie is quite fussy when it comes to her tinned meat. For months, we had to buy Whiskers for her and the shop’s own brand for the boys (who are well trained and if it’s in front of them, they’ll eat it!) but we eventually persuaded her to try a shop brand and so long as it gets varied (and isn’t supermeat), she’ll grudgingly tuck in to the cheaper tins! Like the dogs, the cats get a “posh” brand on Sunday – usually Whiskers or Go-Cat. Unlike the dogs, they sulk every Monday because they expect their treat to carry on!

Having said all that, I’m looking again at how we feed the dogs and cats, as the prices have gone up quite alarmingly in just a short space of time. Asda’s dog tins were £1.79 for a six pack, but are now £1.98. The SmartPrice dog food is still 95p but Midge’s Wagg biscuits have gone up from £1.98 for a 2.5kg bag to £2.19. Luckily, the Webbox are still at £1.98 but I think I’ll have to try her again on Snipe’s cheapo biscuits. And I’ve not bought them their usual tins this week. Asda have got 1.2kg tins so I’ve bought one of those to try. The theory is that I use one 400g tin a day for both dogs so a tin three times the size will last three days. Price-wise, it’s great – 74p per tin so the saving for six days amounts to 60p… It might not seem like much, but remember that this saving pays for two thirds of Snipe’s biscuits!

I opened the tin yesterday and the dogs didn’t object to their new meat, which is good news. The only hassle is putting two thirds of the tin in two containers and then getting to the bottom of the tin for that day’s food. Why they have to make these big tins tall and narrow is beyond me – short and wide would make much more sense, especially when you don’t want to smear dog meat gravy all over your hand!

The other way of feeding them, which would be even cheaper, would be using the Chubb sausage things. I hate them and they look vile but I know the dogs like them. There are just two things putting me off that idea. Firstly, it’s not a complete food, just complementary. I don’t know what, if any, difference this makes, but I’d rather feed them the complete food, if only because I don’t know when Midge will next refuse to eat! She’ll always eat the meat, even if she refuses the biscuits and I don’t want her to miss out on the necessary nutrients just for the sake of a few pennies. The other thing is that I’d only need three a week but Asda only sell them in multipacks of 8 so the savings would be monthly, but I get paid weekly which just makes it a bit of a pain!

The other obvious thing to cut the costs would be to stop feeding them all their Sunday “treat”. We only started this at mum’s because we all enjoyed excellent food on a Sunday, especially our roast dinners after we put the pigs in the freezer, so why not let the animals enjoy some food treats as well?

We could always give them milk or something to continue the tradition, there’s plenty of things they’d enjoy as a treat but the annoying thing is that the cat tins come in packs of six – but there are seven days in a week…

Anyway………………

This post has turned into a rather lengthy (and, I fear, extremely dull) ramble about what I feed my dogs and cats but the original point was meant to be this:

People get rid of their pets when the going gets tough (I won’t dwell on the methods) but the PDSA have announced that according to their figures,

around 30 per cent of the nation’s dogs are overweight or obese – that’s around 1.95 million fat dogs across the UK!

Surely, then, if the owners of these dogs (and cats) cut down their food intake, they’d save money and our nations pets won’t be dumped because they cost “too much” to feed?! There are ways to save money when it comes to your pet’s grub – and without compromising their health.

Introducing… our feline friends

I’ve always preferred dogs over cats but I couldn’t live without our three feline friends, even if they are currently driving us up the wall.

Over a year ago, B and I were adopted by Queenie at an animal sanctuary. We’d actually gone into see if they had any kittens but heard a yowling from one of the cattery sections. Peering in, we saw a big fat black cat who looked utterly miserable. No doubt desperate for some peace and quiet, the woman showing us around practically shoved us in with this unhappy cat. I scooped her up and she promptly stopped yowling and gave us a look that quite clearly informed us that she would be accompanying us home.

Queenie - 29 June 2008

Queenie - 29 June 2008

Queenie is a classic misanthropist. If she were a tom cat, then Bronte would have supplied the name. But Queenie suits her as she really is in charge of the household, though her regal style is more “Off with their heads” than anything more kindly. I don’t know what happened to her before she came into our lives, but her aggression and swift right hook seem to be born out of fear not an instinctive nastiness. That doesn’t change how she is but helps to control her outbursts. The classic rule for cats is that you let them come to you, but with Queenie, that really is what you have to do. Never make the first move. If she’s asleep on the sofa, you can gently stroke her on the back of the neck. If she stretches, carry on. If she tenses up, then get the hell away! It can be quite annoying, as she’ll call for you to go over and fuss her, but will run away as you approach! We’ve learnt that if you stop when she stops, then walk forward again, she’ll roll over onto her back and you can fuss her. Ah yes, the belly rubs. She loves them. In a certain spot. Drift away from that exact (and quite small) spot and she’ll let loose with claws and teeth. In her own way, she’s a loving and affectionate cat but she just needs space to be herself. Cross the boundaries and you pay. Leave her be, and you reap the rewards.

Queenie - 20 July 2007

Queenie - 20 July 2007

In total contrast are the two boys, Mac and Horatio. We got them as kittens last autumn and apart from a few moments such as when they chewed my phone charger or our current battle to get them to go to the toilet outside, they’ve been a joy to know. We got H first but Queenie was absolutely horrified at the scrap of black fur and it soon became clear that they would be living in a never ending cycle of his desperation to be near another cat (as far as he was concerned, when he first set eyes on Her Maj, it was love at first sight) and her desperation to be as far away from him as possible. And then we found out that some of his litter brothers were still looking for homes. A week later, Mac arrived.

The Boys - 27 November 2007

The Boys - 27 November 2007

Apart from a slight size difference, they look identical (H has a few white hairs on his chest, Mac has a few more. H used to have a white whisker and Mac had one long white hair above his eye. Mac’s eye hair fell out and then H’s white whisker fell out. But it’s ok, because Mac is currently growing a white whisker of his own…) but their characters are very different. H is a mamma’s boy. Mac’s a bit more boisterous, the hunter of the family.

Hmmm, B is going to cause me great pain for pointing out that her boy is a bit of a wuss, but the facts are the facts! He’s such a sweet little guy, the only cat in the world that doesn’t just like having his belly rubbed, he positively loves it. You can even blow raspberries on his belly!

Horatio - 18 October 2007

Horatio - 18 October 2007

Mac’s a bit more of a cat than that. Belly rubs are fine for about a second but then watch out. You also can’t bounce him up and down. But then again, while H likes our dogs, Mac loves them. Especially Snipe. They don’t just play together, they cuddle up, they greet one another, they tolerate the other’s respective size and strength that are used to push smaller animals to the ground or sharp claws that are used to sink into the other’s tail or flank or any available part of the body. And if a telling-off is required, you can count on the other to offer comfort. I always thought Midge and Horatio would have that special relationship as they loved one another as puppy and kitten but I think H decided he preferred people. To be honest, so does Midge!

Mac - 13 November 2007

Mac - 13 November 2007

I’m not so sure that the cats are really settling into their new life in Cardiff. This is the third time we’ve moved with Queenie and she’s spending a lot more time in the house that she ever has before. At mum’s, we hardly ever saw her, but I think the only thing she ever goes out for here is the toilet. Which brings us to the boys. We’re now paying for how easy it was to litter train them as kittens. They’ve decided they can’t go to the toilet outside, they have to be inside and if we take away their litter tray, they’ll go inside anyhow. Lovely. In fact, they won’t go out at all if they can help it and suffering from cabin fever. Big time. Mac’s latest way to keep himself occupied is to chase his tail. In the bath.

And so the war has begun! Queenie’s fine. If she wants to stay indoors and curl up on the sofa, then she can. She does go out, she just doesn’t stay out for long. The boys, however, are facing a new challenge. What to do when the windows are shut and you’re on the wrong side! Whenever someone’s in for a few hours, or will only be gone for a few hours, the cats are being evicted and the windows shut. This is how we got the boys to go outside when they were kittens and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do. Though it’s really hard when you an here them crying and see their little faces pressed up against the window! Ah well, harden thy heart and think about how nice life will be without a litter tray stinking the house out…

I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.