Check out this little blooper from some video footage I shot…I have no idea what freaked out my cat Tenshi, but he cracks me up!
For the past two years, I have tried just about every tactic to train my obese European Burmese cat Kazu to eat a special diet. We put her on scheduled feedings, only giving her wet food, and tried to ban her from the dry kibble which we needed to leave out for the other two cats (both of whom are normal weight). Kazu continued to sneak dry kibble throughout each day, despite being scolded for doing so.
After all my unsuccessful efforts to get Kazu on a unique feeding schedule, I was at my wit’s end. Then a couple of people suggested that I purchase a microchip pet feeder. I looked up microchip feeders online and discovered SureFlap Microchip Pet Feeders. I almost keeled over when I saw the price of these units: $149. What’s worse is that I knew I had to purchase TWO of these feeders, since Kazu would have to be trained on one feeder, while Tenshi and Shima would be trained on the other.
I saved up so that I could buy two feeders. $365 later (I had to purchase C batteries, as well as extra RFID tags since only one tag comes with each feeder, and we have three cats), I was ready to give them a try.
The training period consists of five stages, in which the door progresses from remaining completely open (stage 1), closes a small amount (stage 2), then closes incrementally more until stage 5 when the door closes completely, only opening for the pet who is programmed to the feeder. The idea with the incremental training is that the pets will eventually understand that the closed door will open when they approach the feeder to which they are programmed.
Without going into agonizing detail, I will say that it took a good six weeks before my cats finally understood how the feeders worked. They were so afraid of the devices at first that I honestly began to doubt whether the system would work for my household. As soon as the door would move back or forward, my cats would just freak out, so we were at training level 2 (the door only moves a small amount and the chamber is very accessible) for close to 3 weeks.
I’m not sure how I feel about these things. While they are well constructed and work well, they are inaccessible to people who can’t afford the units. In addition, our household STILL hasn’t progressed beyond the training setting, because when the doors are completely closed (as they are in regular post-training mode), my cats don’t consistently understand that all they have to do is approach the feeders for the doors to open.
What this basically means is that I must have dry kibble available to all three cats in both feeders, which completely defeats the purpose of buying these devices in the first place. I purchased these feeders THREE MONTHS AGO. In addition, all three cats race into the kitchen when I enter it, and beg for wet food like starving street urchins. I relent, because I want to make sure my babies are fed.
Kazu just keeps getting fatter, while my wallet is definitely slimmer from purchasing the devices which mainly serve to startle and confuse my entire brood.
I apologize for the poor audio quality. It was shot with my Android phone. You can still see how cute my cat Kazu is though!
I never realized how few people have bonding experiences with cuddly cats. I also guess I am lucky to have had several of the most affectionate cats. My blue Burmese absolutely loves to be hugged, and he adores kisses. It is rather common for me to pepper his cute little forehead with a barrage of kisses, which I know most cats would never tolerate.
Tenshi has gotten to the point that he expects and demands hugs and kisses from his humans. If I don’t hug and kiss him hello, he gets grumpy! Check out my video of him getting kisses.
I have three cats:
an American Burmese male named Tenshi, a silver spotted tabby female named Shima, and a European Burmese female named Kazu. Tenshi is built like a miniature puma, sleek and well muscled, and he maintains a perfect weight despite being a complete pig and prone to eating ANY food that he can get his paws on. Shima is my slender girl, long limbed and with a long tail.
Then there is Kazu. Over the past year or so, Kazu has put on considerable weight, and it troubles me to know that in almost 30 years of having cats, I now have an overweight cat! She is a small cat, consistent with the size of most Burmese, but she weighs 11.2 pounds now. She should be 9 pounds.
I know you may be saying, “She doesn’t look overweight”, but trust me, this little lady has a midsection that is downright lumpy! The vet doesn’t have a good answer for why Kazu is overweight, and I can’t figure out what to do with her. One consideration is the fact that she has always been constipated, but I doubt that my cat is actually THAT full of crap!
Look at Kazu’s deep chest in the picture below. You can see that she has some mass to her and is a muscular cat, which is also consistent with the Burmese breed. Perhaps she is in her “off-season bulking phase”!
I have a very affectionate, playful cream European Burmese cat who is an absolute joy to live with. However, don’t be fooled by her adorable face and sweet demeanor. Kazu is quite mischievous and has a tendency to steal underwear and socks. It doesn’t matter if they are clean or dirty, or even if they are brand new. Kazu just has a strange fixation on those wardrobe items. I have watched her dig through the laundry basket to find a random sock, then trot all over the house with her little treasure. Here is a photo of a recent sock heist which ended at the food bowl:
Kazu will often make a game of her conquest by tossing the item into the air with a whip of her little head so that she can chase after it, and at times will initiate a game of fetch utilizing the pilfered piece of clothing. Because of my cat’s habit, I must put away clean laundry immediately, and I also have to keep Kazu out of my closet so that she can’t go in there and hop into the dirty laundry bin. My morning ritual consists of hiding my underwear and socks so that she won’t steal them as I am showering.
More recently, Kazu has fallen into the habit of running off with my Incrediwear therapeutic sleeves. If I have to wash dishes, I will take my arm sleeve off and leave it on the coffee table or kitchen counter, only to discover that she has stolen it. Apparently she enjoys the anionic technology of Incrediwear products! In all the years that I have lived with cats (a few decades!), I have never encountered a cat who steals small articles of clothing. It’s an amusing character trait which makes Kazu even more endearing.
A lot of people think I’m nuts for giving my three cats baths every two months, but I can honestly say it makes a huge difference in a household of people with mild allergies. Besides, two of my cats are purebred Burmese (one European and one American), so they are naturally a bit spoiled already. Since I never have time to brush my cats’ coats, this is a way to keep them well groomed with minimal effort. I have developed a system in which I gather all the bathing supplies such as towels, nail clippers and basins in a stealthy fashion so that they don’t realize what torture I have planned for them. I have a denim jacket which I have had for two decades which has, as its only purpose, protecting my arms, forearms and torso during the process.
I watch my cats for many hours on the designated day, waiting for the most opportune moment to grab all three cats and rush into the bathroom. Let me tell you, carrying three squirming cats into a small room is no easy task! The meowing begins almost immediately, usually by my silver spotted tabby rescue who loves to bellyache about the whole experience. No amount of talking in a soothing voice calms my kids down sufficiently. They simply hate everything about bath day. Before you assume that my cats are unaccustomed to baths, you should now that the Burmese cats have had regular baths since the age of 3 months, and the rescue began having baths at three weeks of age.
I have become quite skilled at holding onto a squirming mass of wet mammal with one hand while shampooing and rinsing with the other hand. This was especially challenging today, since I am still suffering from a forearm injury which has rendered my right forearm and hand almost useless. However, I was determined to get the job done with minimal hassle, and miraculously, my little monsters behaved pretty well this time around. As usual, I finished the chore pretty much completely soaked, with a wet bathroom floor and cat hair clogging my shower drain, but it took very little time for the cats to dry in our current 80 degree Fahrenheit weather. The cats are very clean now, and their shedding has dropped to minimal levels.
One of these days, I may have someone record me bathing my cats just so people can see how I get it done!
My European Burmese Kazu loves playing fetch and will bring toys to people when she is in the mood to play. I never trained her to play fetch but for whatever reason, she absolutely loves the activity and does it almost daily. Though I love dogs, I almost feel as though I have dogs with my fetch-obsessed Burmese!