Feeding Time At the Zoo

>> Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's no surprise that I am often asked this question: How do you feed all of those animals? Not meaning the cost, but meaning the method. It is not easy, but now that I'm working from home, we have a pretty good system that the dogs and cats are used to. In fact, they are so used to it that if I decide to sleep in, it just doesn't happen, because they wake me up, ready to eat.

The cats do not sleep with us. I feel bad about this, because Piper loved sleeping on my legs, and Aurora prefers to sleep on Alan's back. With Quincy sleeping with us now, and Walter's new habit of jumping into bed with us early in the morning (he prefers his orthopedic dog bed), and Reagan above the pillows, the bed is quite full. Rhoda is the reason we can't have the cats in the room. She is so affectionate and purrs constantly. Touch her, she purrs. Her favorite place to sleep is snuggled up to either one of our necks. Her purr is just too loud and she is too pushy with her snuggling to get any sleep, so now we keep the door closed. I did catch Rhoda and Piper sleeping in a ball on the chair, so I know they are okay with it.

Moving on- the morning is hectic. The earlier I get up, the better, because if it's too early the dogs won't be crazy and ready to go. Around seven-thirty or eight, they start to get antsy, hungry, and ready to go outside. Anything earlier than that they will sleep.

The dogs go outside first thing, and while they're doing their business and romping around, I keep an eye on them (we don't have a fence) and feed the cats. This is where I need some fine tuning. The cats act like they are dying of starvation in the morning, and surround me until I feed them. Aurora gets fed in the bathroom because she eats soft food (she's a diva and refuses hard food most of the time), while Piper and Rhoda eat in the kitchen or on the cat tree. While they eat, I prepare the dog bowls.

The dogs have a vitamin routine and they all eat different portions of food. I measure those out, put them in the bowls (Reagan eats out of a barrier bowl so she doesn't eat too fast), put the vitamins in the right bowls (They have three of the same, but Walter and Reagan have a couple additional vitamins for joints), and mix in a little bit of soft food for Walter, because he's as fussy as Wembley was and doesn't like eating his vitamins without something tasty. By the time all of this happens, the dogs are ready to eat and usually gathered on the back porch.

I let the hungry trio in, and they get fed. They are used to this system now, and if they stray from it they get frustrated and act crazy, as Alan usually finds out on the weekends (he gives me a feeding break).

Night feeding is WAY easier, because they usually get a treat here and there, and they're worn out from playing.

Sometimes it feels like madness, but in general it is a good system. I want to find an easier way to feed the cats. I won't just plunk a bowl of food down in the basement and have them free feeding all day, but I'm thinking a lunch portion is needed when the dogs are outside, just to alleviate their dramatic antics!



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