azurelunatic: Monkey King swings his cudgel  (monkey king)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺 ([personal profile] azurelunatic) wrote2017-08-08 01:47 pm
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Hacker-Kitty

My partner got one cat in the breakup, the cat who trailed them through the shelter while they were looking at different cats, and who lap-kittied at them the first chance she got. (I suspect that my partner got this cat by dint of having made sure to pack her along with the other important things when they fled the household of abuse. The ex took all the other pets, including the second cat who adored my partner.)

Miss Air Raid Siren had two types of notable damage when she was adopted: first, she had been front-declawed, and second, she is quite food-insecure. She cannot just be left to free-feed, and I gathered that it was a bit of a production to feed all the cats in such a way that everyone got their fair share. (Another of the cats had been a bit of a vacuum-cleaner himself, so it wasn't just her.)

When the ex's regimented schedule had demanded that my partner be home at the appointed hour every day to feed "the kids", all was well ... at the expense of my partner's labor, and my partner's ability to have an actual social life and do things with friends.

Now, this cat does appreciate being fed. She's earned a few names on account of her increasingly vocal demands to be fed, typically starting about an hour before feeding time. (Most of them are even printable.) And if the feeding is late -- oh, my. (Everyone has come to the understanding that while an hour late is no big deal ultimately, it's probably better for whoever is present to feed her, if it's anything beyond that or if she appears to be in any actual distress. And then tell the Human In Charge, because she will cheerfully make as though she's Never Been Fed, Ever when a food-giver returns home. Even when she's already eaten.)

So when my partner was living with Host Family #2, they borrowed some wet/dry automatic feeders (with ice pack) in service of being able to be out & about and spend the night away, without overly distressing the cat. This worked reasonably well.

Then they returned the feeders. They then tried to replace them.

Friends, do you know how very goddamn many nearly identical compartment feeders with a rotating lid exist on places like Amazon? A very bloody lot, as it turns out. And not all of them are up to the challenge of being worked at by a determined and highly food-motivated hacker-kitten.

Candidate Feeders 1 and 2 had a spring-loaded lid. Hacker-Kitten dug at it with her little blunt pussywillow-paws until the lid crept back, then held it there (somehow) and stuck her little face in, and ate extra portions.

Candidate Feeder 3 looked like the loaner feeder, but Hacker-Kitten batted at the protective plastic cover on the brain/engine core, and broke the manual advance button by standing on it, then dug it open despite the lack of springs and claws. Subsequently the thing didn't work at all.

Candidate Feeder 4 was the same model as 3, but I'd taped down the core's cover in a way that defeated the attempts to open it that way. After the evening meal, I put it up out of harm's way for the night, and put it down again in the morning. She ate her breakfast on schedule, but come 5:30pm or so and she'd dug the top around to the next meal, early.

This morning when my partner put it out again (only dry food, this time) loaded with today and tomorrow's meals, a little past breakfast I saw she'd opened the dinner compartment just a little. So I put it up, and sent my partner the link to the (not cheap) feeder I found that will do 1/8 cup increments of dry food and uses an entirely different mechanism. I'll put it down when I leave for my event this evening, then see what she's done to it by the time I return...

We're hoping that Feeder 5 will do the trick.

It would be ideal to be able to give her both wet and dry food on a timer (and keep the wet food refrigerated, naturally) for 2-3 days. But failing that, just dry food will keep her fed well enough that she won't be yowling and desperate if an evening out goes longer than planned. (Usually we feed her early if we think we'll be out significantly past her dinner. But that doesn't always work.) Provided she doesn't eat it all early...

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