February 9, 2002
|Galen enjoying freeze-dried chicken treats|
I just spent $60 on six 3oz. jars of Halo freeze-dried chicken treats. They are quite expensive. That should hold my addicted cat Galen and his four cohorts, for a month- I hope. I’ve been ordering the Halo for months, but I ran out before the new shipment came in and we had some sorry, pitiful, stressful three days waiting for the new shipment. Galen could not believe that we ran out. No other treat will suffice. And he LOVES the freeze dried chicken treats with an extreme passion. He growls at the other cats if they come near him when he is eating some.
I’ve been making him wait until 7:00 pm for his treats, but I can’t hardly do anything in the evenings without him demanding of me. He will now jump on my back, if I am sitting, wail and wail, to make me get up and give him more freeze-dried chicken treats. I have to drape my suede jacket over the back of my dining chair and wear a heavy sweater so I won’t get clawed when he starts going through his withdrawal antics. I He gets desperate, looking at me with wide, imploring eyes and the most frantic meows. If I ignore him, he makes the most pitiful, sad, quiet, beseeching meows. One round of treats for “dessert” is no longer enough for him. And of course, the other four cats want some too. They love the Halo but have not become insane addicts over it- not yet. Galen needs chicken treat re-hab. I am not exaggerating.
That’s one reason why I think treats should not be given often. I made the mistake of spoiling my cats by giving them treats, and did NOT give them sparingly enough. Galen would rather eat that than his food.
March or April, 2002
Galen had taken to climbing up my back to get to my shoulder, to meow loudly in my ear, being as he must have thought I was hard of hearing, for not jumping out of my chair to get him his beloved Halo Chicken Treats when he meowed from the floor. I was stoic about it for a while, but one day I did not realize he was going to do it, and the surprising pain made me jump and yell out. He didn’t stop jumping on my shoulder subsequent days, but did refine his technique for doing it without using his claws. He couldn’t stay up too long without using his claws to anchor, but did manage to balance a few seconds. It was kind of cool, so I didn’t mind that, being as it didn’t hurt anymore.
When he wants the Chicken treats, he goes to the refrigerator where they are kept and says, “kah-CAW”. That is apparently how to say “freeze dried chicken treats” in cattish.
This is probably not a serious problem, but Galen, who is just about three, has been taking to lying on the floor at times looking sort of dead. He does this after he has been doing his demanding yelling and pulling at me to get him some freeze-dried chicken treats, with me not getting up. It mostly happens when I am eating dinner, as that is getting on to time for the 7:00 cat treat time. He can’t stand to wait for the chicken treats. He lies there on his back, with his front paws curled up to his chest, and often when I look at him, he stares at me without blinking. It ’s really creepy. He ignores me when I call him, staying still and dead seeming, but when my husband calls his name sharply and tells him to quit scaring me, Galen turns his head and looks at him, and makes his happy purrrt noise or a single loud meow, like he is answering him. My husband says he is just trying to freak me out or hypnotize me into getting up and getting him his beloved Halo freeze-dried chicken treats (Galen is a major chicken treat addict). My husband never gives them to Galen and Galen doesn’t do the dead thing when I am not at home.
I have been forced to ignore Galen sometimes and not give him the chicken treats, as gets too incessantly demanding too often. He mostly makes the dead looking pose when I am sitting down somewhere for a while, and his body is positioned so I would have to pass him to get to the refrigerator. As soon as I move my feet as is I am about to get up, he jumps up and runs to the refrigerator, where the chicken treats are, so he is not really weak and half dead. When I’ve been up and about doing things, he is in his usual resting spots and poses, curled up like a proper cat, in his pet bed or the window hammock.
I just never saw a cat lying on his back with his front paws all curled up like that, looking so dead, so it has been making me worry. Those paws curled up to the chest just look “wrong” and sickly. He seems quite fine otherwise. He’s now leaping and hopping now after a bug that got in. He likely is just “lying” guard to make sure I don’t go to the refrigerator without his knowing it. But I also worry he might really and truly be so full of despair and depression for being denied his chicken treats whenever he wants them.
He had previously been scratching my back, then leaping up onto my shoulder from behind to make me get up, but I started ignoring that, (I did give in at first), so maybe this is his new attempt to make me get up, or maybe he is really full of despair that his shoulder leaps and scratching no longer work? (I keep my suede jacket on my chair now so I can’t feel his claws and I no longer get startled by his sudden leaps onto my shoulder- I just keep on eating my dinner. He has excellent balance and never fell into my food, even though he always jumps onto my right shoulder as I am using my right hand to eat.) I put him on a chicken treat schedule so he now only gets them at 7:00 pm (oh well, mostly only then). I guess one does have to be tough on an addict, though, for their own good, but I hate seeing him lying there like that.
He wouldn’t really be so full of real, true utter despair, that he just lies there like that, would he? I know this sounds like a joke or something stupid, but those curled up paws really disturb me and he is my most precious snuggle baby (I don’t have a favorite among my five cats, but if I did, Galen would be it, but of course, I don’t have a favorite.) I tried giving him other treats instead during the non-chicken treat times, but he doesn’t want them- not even real deli-sliced chicken or turkey breast. But I can’t give him all the freeze-dried chicken he wants. Oh, the dilemma. I just can’t stand to think that he is truly full of despair and depression.
Galen going through Halo Chicken Treat withdrawal. It was a very sad thing to witness. He’d just curl up and waste away after his demanding yelling and jumping at me didn’t work. Galen looks a lot more dead and creepy in real life when he maintains the pose, with his eyes opened, for what seems like a long, long time and won’t move when I call to him.
I have been working on weaning him from the freeze-dried chicken treats since it has gotten so out of hand. Galen seem to hate the Petromalt hairball stuff. Sometimes when he is driving me crazy begging for more and more treats, I get out the Petromalt, open the cap and approach him, offering him a different kind of treat. He takes off like a shot as if something dreadful is after him. My cat Simon likes it and comes to lick it out of the tube. Strange cats. I should keep that at the dinner table too, to wave under Galen’s nose like smelling salts when he does the dead thing while I am eating dinner.
We tricked him today and ate outside, so he couldn’t jump on my back to do his dead pose at my feet while I am trying to eat dinner in attempts to make me get up and get him some chicken treats. He just sat normally for a while looking through the lattice of the porch, then went back inside, probably extremely irritated at Minerva’s non-stop half hour meowing to be let outside the cat pen into the real yard where we were. He did grip on her neck twice, holding her down like mother cats do to pesky kittens. She didn’t shut up so he left. As soon as I came in I gave him his treat, (and all the other cats too, of course), so he didn’t have to do his maneuvers.
Last night we ate very late, so it was time for his 7:00 treats before we ate. He didn’t bother me while I was eating. Maybe I should move up his treat time to 5:00, but I am not sure he won’t also try to get the treat at 7:00 also. I believe he would, but it is worth trying. I did discover that he will eat Whiska’s Lickin’s tuna flavor treats, so I’ll keep those at the dinner table also, to toss over to him. Even if it’s not what he prefers, he ought not be so distressed and depressed about getting something else instead.
He is very particular about treats. He won’t eat his beloved Halo chicken treats if I put them in a bowl. They have to be on the floor. Some sections of the floor are not good enough on some days, for some mysterious reason, so on those days, I have to toss the chicken treats to another section of floor. Placing them on the floor is not good enough. If I put them on top of some cat food, they are contaminated, and he won’t go near them. I think he is really too fussy and spoiled, so I won’t worry so much. After reading what I wrote I think he a bit of a brat and I have been way too indulging. From now on the treats will be where ever they land. If he doesn’t go eat them, Simon or one of the others sure will move in quickly so they won’t go to waste. I think he gets a kick out of training me even more than wanting the chicken treats. He has trained me well.
5/14/02 later on
Re-reading what I wrote does sound kind of funny, for an adult human to get so controlled by a cat. I guess it’s the “grandparent syndrome” where grandparents let grandkids get away with stuff they never in a million years let their own children get by with. Galen’s cat mother didn’t hesitate to give him a hiss and a swat when he interrupted her when she was doing something. But that’s when he turned to “Granny” (me) and I molly-coddled and spoiled him. Well, I will still wind up spoiling him but I won’t worry about his emotional state being damaged by not getting his way all the time. My other four cats have their little tricks and particular behaviors, but not like Galen. He must come from some other kind of gene pool.
Galen’s other training of me
He trained me to do other things also. He goes into some part of the house, and meows and meows until I go find him. Then I have to pick him up and pet him. He just purrs and purrs. He could just come up to where ever I happen to be for petting, and he does sometimes, but he seems to prefer me looking for him. When he was younger and we had a big box on the floor, I used to have to crawl into the box with him, as much of me as would fit, several times each evening. He’s been trying to make me squeeze into a closet with him, but there is not really room for me with all the stuff in there. I was almost going to clean out some of the stuff so I could fit, but that would be really getting too carried away.
Update: Galen was successfully (more or less) weaned off his addiction to freeze-dried chicken treats, with the help of Kitty Kissers chicken liver treats. They are not the same as the Halo freeze dried chicken treats. Galen doesn’t like them as much, but they do help with the withdrawal symptoms (and they are only $2.99 a box versus the $12 for a 3 oz. jar of Halo freeze-dried chicken treats). I also put some different dry cat food in an empty Halo chicken treat jar, and shook it to get the dry food coated with the left over powder from the chicken treats. Galen would eat that chicken treat flavored dried food. It took a few months, and like all addicts, he will never be fully recovered. I got another jar of the Halo freeze-dried chicken treats a long time afterwards, and Galen went right back at his old ways. So, that great temptation needs to be kept from him. So easy to slip back ….