Rusty the Cat: On Food and Treats

I’m not sure if this post will become the first in the series. It may, since I like series, Rusty is a tireless provider of amusement in my life, and, in general, Internet runs on cats. But I won’t promise any regularity since these posts require pictures, which, in their turn, require good lighting, which is not easy to catch with my crazy work hours that do not promise to be much better this year, despite all my attempts. But we’ll see.

* * *

I’ve heard of the cats who can leave half-full bowl and come back to it later or refuse to eat something. Rusty isn’t one of those cats: any food stays in his bowl for two minutes or less. He inhales* whatever we put there and wants more. All his life he gets cat food, but I’m not sure he understands the difference. For him all food is food, but for some strange reason we refuse to share with him as much of our food as he’d like us to. So, he resorts to begging or … I can’t even say “stealing” since he doesn’t try to do it covertly – prying it from us.

 

Rusty asking for Treats

 

Since we feed him canned food, mostly pâtés, I was worrying that he didn’t get to chew anything, and his teeth weren’t being cleaned. The only things that he normally chews on are tiny treats I give him as a bribe or a reward for taking pictures for my blog or as incentive to do a trick (he does those for treats). But those tiny things take him a second or two. I hear: “crunch-crunch” – and he’s done.

 

Rusty eats a Treat

 

Friends recommended special dental treats that were supposed to be good for cats. I must say that those are quite expensive treats (approx. 50 c per treat). But what won’t we do for our feline friends, right? These treats are much larger than usual “one bite” cat treats: they are about a size of a wine bottle cork (see the picture below). But they are relatively soft and easy “bitable,” so one would expect a cat to spend some time biting smaller pieces off of it allowing enzymes in it to work on plaques to improve cat’s oral hygiene.

 

Treat for Rusty and Wine Cork

 

Rrright… When I gave it to Rusty for the first time, he was extremely excited: he got it from me, spent a couple of seconds re-arranging it in his mouth, after which, with a visible effort, he… just swallowed it whole. I was watching him in terror thinking what to do if he starts choking. Even though he was fine, I didn’t have the courage to repeat the experiment. But since I still wanted to get some health benefits for Rusty from the treats I bought, I started feeding them to him while holding them in my fist and allowing Rusty to take a smaller bites of it, preferably with his molars.

You should have seen the expression on my cat’s face when I started doing that! He couldn’t understand what I wanted from him, and why he couldn’t just gulp the thing, but “food is food,” so in a while he learned what I wanted him to do – even though he still clearly thought his human had some issues. The disadvantage of this method, though, was that in his enthusiasm Rusty could not always distinguish the treat from my fingers…

 

Treats for Rusty

 

You can understand my excitement when last Christmas Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle), in addition to wonderful gifts for me (and not only of the perfumed kind), sent some treats for Rusty (picture above). Being much longer and denser, those looked like something that Rusty would definitely have to chew on. (sigh) Nope. I’ll give him that: he didn’t swallow it in one piece. But he quickly bit it in half – and then swallowed. I was petrified: the way he was swallowing it, I was sure it wouldn’t go through, and I’d have to rescue my cat from suffocating. To my relief and amazement, he was fine. But that was the last time I experimented with making him to bite something off: I cut or tear smaller pieces before giving it to him. He doesn’t mind.

 

Treats for Rusty and Wine Cork

 

* As I was writing this post, I got curious about different synonyms for “eating quickly” and in my search came across a discussion in the WordReference forum in 2007 where a number of people, especially from the U.K., claimed they’d never heard the verb “to inhale” to be used in that meaning, even jokingly. I was surprised because for me it was something given. I asked my vSO, and he reminded me from where it came into our lexicon:

Ross: I’m just saying, if you can’t eat by yourself, how do you expect to have a baby by yourself?
Rachel: I can too eat by myself!
Ross: When have you ever?
Rachel: When certain people leave the table and I am not finished!
Ross: Well, certain other people take 2 hours to eat a bowl of soup!
Rachel: Oh, please, you inhale your food!
Ross: I grew up with Monica. If you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat!

Friends, Episode 8.03, 2001

Out of many synonyms suggested on that forum, I really liked the idiom “to wolf down” and thought that in our household it could be transformed into “to cat down,” as in “He catted down his lunch and hurried back to the office.”

What phrases or idioms do you use for “eat fast”?

 

Rusty asking for MORE Treats

 

Images: treats – my own; all pictures of Rusty – from our wonderful cat sitters

32 thoughts on “Rusty the Cat: On Food and Treats

  1. Gobble up. Bolt. Scoff (which is odd as this also means to laugh mockingly) – we say “scoffed the lot” about someone who has eaten everything very quickly.

    Cats, on the whole, are greedy pigs. One of ours actually picked up a large joint of roast beef that had just come out of the oven and dragged it several feet along the counter (no doubt planning to hide it somewhere) before I realised what was happening.

    A Rusty Series would be a very good thing.

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  2. To scarf down, similar to scoff down.
    My cat likes me to break those stick like treats into smaller pieces and throw them in the air so that he can catch them in his claws.

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  3. Oh Rusty…just doing what a cat must do. At the risk of sounding sexist, Duncan my male used to wolf down his food and would dance around until his bowl was put down. My girls have been much more patient and ladylike. They never have scarfed their food. Maybe it’s a boy-girl thing??

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  4. I don’t have a pet that needs to eat so just referring to my eating habits, I use inhale and scarf down 😋.

    I can see how your fingers getting mistaken for food can be painful 😱.

    Can cats eat dog food? My sister’s 9 lb Havanese takes a few days to chew through a “dog bone”.

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  5. ‘Scoff’ sprang to mind for me too, but I like your variant on ‘wolf down’.

    Your post was rather aptly broken up by dental implant ads on my phone!

    Truffle is a grazer where kibble is concerned, and ‘cats down’ wet food very fast, but only if she is ‘on’ that type at the moment. She is very fickle…

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    • Those ads… I know, I cannot complain since I’m using a free service, but I wish the didn’t use them as much. Also, I don’t believe that repeating the same add several times per page achieves any goal.

      I’m sure Rusty would have finished dry food with the same speed he does his wet food. He’s not choosy.

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  6. Haha, this post made me laugh. I didn’t expect that Rusty would try to eat the treats he got from me in one (or 2) pieces!

    In Poland we say that they ‘eat like a vacuum’ when they eat very fast.

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  7. Husband is allergic to cats but our beagle dog is definitely an “inhaler”. He does chew a little though. Those dental bones last him about 2 minutes. Rusty is looking quite fine in these photos!!

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  8. Love anything Rusty related so hope there will be more of these posts.
    I’m familiar with ‘inhaling food’ as an expression so was surprised by that. ‘Wolf down’ is commonly used in my family. Though we might also say ‘that didn’t touch the sides’ :)

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  9. “Inhale your food” or “wolf down your food” are expressions we hear fairly often around our house. :) I’ve heard “scarf down” and “gobble down,” too. I’m blanking out on any expressions that may be more limited to local use. I’ll think of them around 3:00 a.m. (lol)

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  10. Yes Please Undina! MORE RUSTY for any reason. I love that he’s a owler, me too. Jin is often left with half a plateful of food while I’ve licked mine clean enough that it doesn’t need a wash.

    TARA! We say “that didn’t even touch the sides” too.
    Portia xx

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  11. My late kitty Nora used to scarf down, bolt down, wolf down and inhale her food in nothing flat. I used to use those little treats (like the one you’ve shown above) to entice her to jump on the mantle, the newel posts and to run after them as I tossed them across the room.
    The sound of whipped cream coming out of the canister used to bring Nora running. Something about imported French yogurt brought her running to our sides too. Oddly enough, not domestic yogurt. And I’m not sure how she knew the difference.
    Rusty has gorgeous eyes! Would love to see more about him, when you can fit it into your schedule.

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    • Rusty also runs chasing those treats. It’s our daily exercise for him :)

      I’m not surprised your cat recognized what she liked: I bet it smelled completely different! Same as for us drugstore perfume smells differently from niche ;)

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  12. I’ve always used “inhale”, that seems a very common word for fast eating! My kitties have only inhaled their food when it’s something new and amazing. This is quickly followed by a nice vomit. Since they react like this to very expensive treats/food it’s been quite discouraging when trying to up their nutrition levels. Luckily they don’t do this with meat so they do get a lot of people food treats.

    Liked by 1 person

      • They eat Whiskas for one and a grain free brand for the other. But I’ve given them much pricier (literally 10x the cost) brands that are supposed to be much better for them and they’ve PUKED them everywhere. Every time. Because of inhaling. I guess they are very tasty but this is not cost effective lol! I now have a couple kilos in samples someone gave me and they only get them as treats because they can’t eat enough at one time to vomit.

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        • How interesting. I’m surprised that you’re having the same issue with two different cats. It’s good that you have a solution, but I understand how annoying the situation itself might be.

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