No let-up in the war of nutrition

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

How things change! When Brats M and M lived at home and were of an excitable age, the ringing of the phone would be followed almost immediately by a sound like a herd of wildebeest thundering across the plain.

How things change! When Brats M and M lived at home and were of an excitable age, the ringing of the phone would be followed almost immediately by a sound like a herd of wildebeest thundering across the plain. If they both arrived at once, the caller would be treated to a full scale inter-brat scrap as they fought over who should answer.

Then, of course, mobiles arrived on the scene and calls were taken in the secrecy of the bedroom. And then they moved out so calls for them dried up.

While he has been convalescing at Fortress H, Brat Minor has been keeping in touch with his chums through his mobile. He assumes, therefore, that no one will ring him on our land line so, although at times admittedly he probably didn't feel up to answering it, the phone has been allowed to ring even though it was sometimes within his arm's reach. It was me or Mrs H playing the role of the wildebeest.

“Oh it wouldn't have been for me,” he retorts. “Besides, I couldn't be bothered. When are you getting my dinner?”

Well, maybe there are some things that don't change.

Looking back at events like that, illustrates just how much water has gone under the bridge. Birthday after birthday comes round and before you know it the patter of tiny feet is a distant memory. Well, except in one case; here tiny feet have been retained despite the passing years.

Last week the Mog was 10 years old. Can you believe it? For a decade I've been at war with him and there's no sign of victory. The latest battle is over his fussiness about food. Honestly, he's worse than a child. He doesn't like the food with meat in it but will eat the fish. Even then, he won't eat it in gravy, it has to be in jelly. And there are a whole range of brands that don't meet his quality threshold. You've guessed it - all the cheaper ones.

Mrs H goes to great lengths to get something “the poor little chap” likes. A few weeks ago I mentioned that she found a new cat food that claimed to have even more chunks of real fish - and it was in jelly. As it was on offer she bought some for “the little treasure”.

The Mog gobbled it up in no time. He didn't stop to chew and savour this special treat; it went down without touching the sides.

Of course, the cheap price didn't last long but the marketing men had achieved what they had set out to do, get a cat hooked on it and then put the price up.

But they didn't reckon on me and I waged a war of nutrition on the Mog. Even Mrs H got cheesed off with throwing out food. It got to the stage where I suggested sticking it straight in the dustbin. Why bother to put it in a bowl and leave it to sit there all day?

The Mog uses all his wailing routines to encourage someone to feed him. When food is put down, he sidles up to it, sniffs disdainfully and heads purposefully to the back door to be let out as if to say: “I'm not touching that muck.”

When he comes back in he strolls up to the food bowl with an air of: “Surely they'll have seen the light and put some decent grub down.”

When he realises it's the same old stuff he stares at it in disbelief before marching arrogantly out of the room. He doesn't go hungry though so maybe he has a surrogate Mrs H somewhere.

If, by the end of the day he has refused to eat his food, it gets dumped and he is put to bed with a handful of those dried crunchy pieces. He likes these, besides, by this time he is so hungry he will eat anything - or so we thought.

We discovered a new brand of dried food on offer. Bearing in mind the other special offer, we bought him some. Surely he would tuck into that.

But, oh no, he wouldn't touch it; he must have spotted it was a supermarket's own brand. I took it into work and gave it to a colleague whose mum, Mrs V, is custodian of three cats.

“Oh they'll eat it,” she said confidently - and they did.

I lectured the Mog at some length, pointing out he is fickle and if other cats ate it, why couldn't he?

Then news came through from Mrs V that while her cats ate the Mog's rejected food, they had been given a different supermarket's own brand and were refusing to eat it. Would the Mog like to have a bash?

Amazingly he ate it. But it is from a supermarket we don't go to so maybe he didn't recognise the label.

You know, there ought to be a support group for cat-owners. We could set up some kind of network to swap unwanted food and exchange tips on how to outwit our cherished pets.

I suppose, as the Mog gets older, he will become even more cantankerous. I wonder of the same applies to Mrs H.

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