If you paid attention on Facebook or Twitter, you know that one of my beloved kitties passed away on December 30. She was the first cat I got as an adult, and I had to make the choice to continue treatments or end her suffering.
If you’ve ever had to make that choice, you know how hard it is.
Excruciating, but made slightly easier given my experience with my mom and her cancer and treatments.
There were a number of issues over the last month, but the end result was that Gracie-cat (who was just plain Gracie until I named my firstborn human child Grace) had a large tumor in her mouth that appeared to be cancer. She was hungry, but her mouth hurt so she didn’t eat enough. She was losing weight at an alarming rate and in pain and just plain miserable.
Before the end was the end, I thought we were just treating a fluke infection in her gums. I was giving her antibiotics and pain medicine and getting scratched from top to bottom twice a day, scars visible even today.
I knew that eating our normal hard food was difficult for her, so I bought her a bunch of SHEBA® Entrées for Cats and SHEBA® GRAVY DESIRES™ Entrées. (I figured that if she had trouble with the solid food, she could at least lap up the gravy that accompanies each. The gravy was always her favorite part of canned food anyway.)
The cans say to offer 1 can per 3 pounds of body weight, so I fed her one can four times a day. (She was almost exactly 12 pounds when the illness began.)
As you know, I have two other cats – Zeus and Sammy, rather chubby fellows who lay around and menace the birdies and squirrels through the window glass and instinctively know when food or water are about to be served.
I shall henceforth refer to them as the vultures. The vultures can hear the top of a SHEBA® can pop open from a dead sleep behind a closed door. As soon as the lid pops, they spring to their feet and appear, noses and tails in the air, chirping and purring and rubbing my leg.
The first time it happened, I thought I could feed Gracie-cat in the usual spot, next to the dining room table.
“This isn’t for you, Buddy,” I told one boy and then the other.
She was very hungry, eating in big bites despite her sore gums. She growled quietly, keeping them out of tongue’s reach.
Undeterred, they nudged closer and closer to Gracie-cat’s plate, until I shooed them away again. It went on like this, me shooing, her growling, and the vultures closing in, until I finally decided on a change of scenery. I took her plate back the hallway to my bedroom, set it with a dish of water just inside my bedroom door, and erected the baby gate in the doorway.
She continued eating her fancy food, not so fast now that it wasn’t being threatened, and the vultures sat on the other side, licking their lips and pawing the gate.
Fortunately, both of them are old and unfit enough that neither mustered the energy to leap over the gate – something both could easily have done in years past. They just paced and purred, hoping I’d take down the gate and let them nudge the poor girl out of her plate.
This went on three times a day (since they get a can of food in the evening anyway) for weeks. Gracie-cat’s favorite was the GRAVY DESIRES™ Whitefish & Tuna, but she really liked all of the seafood flavors in the Cuts in Gravy and GRAVY DESIRES™ Entrées.
Towards the end, she only licked the gravy off the meat pieces, and I would open the gate and let the vultures eat her leftovers. Those boys have no shame.
You would think I never feed them.
One look at them would remind you otherwise.
Anyway, SHEBA® entrées are almost always part of my cats’ day. The boys seem to like the Paté line best, but obviously, they like the other varieties, too.
I am happy to feed my cats SHEBA® foods because meat and broth are always the first ingredients. Every can is made from real beef, poultry, or seafood with no grains, corn, gluten, or artificial flavors or preservatives. You can check out the ingredients yourself on their website.
Because my cats like the seafood flavors so much, I took note that all SHEBA® seafood entrées are made with responsibly sourced seafood, meaning that they use only farm-raised and wild fish caught using Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendations.
Have you ever fed your cats SHEBA®?
© 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.