For the normal person (i.e. someone that doesn’t own more than one cat), feeding time can be a cherished moment of bonding between owner and enslaved animal.
This is why cat food commercials only feature one cat-actor to promote their product, because it hides the true chaos involved when feeding multiple cats.
In my opinion, if cat food companies want to convey how tasty their product is, they would film two cats fighting over their minced fish or chicken by-product/carbohydrate-filled sludge like a couple of feral strays.
In my condemnable home, feeding five cats at one time feels like…
The feeding ritual, however, is realistically depicted as follows (these also serve as instructions for any future cat-sitters):
1. Line up 5 bowls along top shelf of baking rack to keep Mr. Tiddles out of the way; otherwise, he’ll snag an unnaturally large mouthful of someone’s food.
2. Select food for each cat’s diet (Zoe gets a quarter can of the grain free in the rubber-bottom bowl because she scoots the bowl around so much; Blind Murphy gets a quarter can of the grain free in a flat dish because it is easier for him to eat out of; Mr. Tiddles gets half a can of diet food in the heavy bowl because he’s rather large; Elvis gets half a can of minced food in the square bowl; and Reese gets half a can of something minced AND fishy in a light-weight, white bowl).
3. Scoop appropriate portion of food into each bowl without stepping on cats as they frantically rub against your legs (note: this is the only time most of them will be nice to you – cherish it).
4. Take a moment to inhale deeply and meditate for peace of mind prior to food distribution. A popular alternative to this step is to get drunk before feeding time; however, doing so makes the successful completion of step 3 nearly impossible.
5. Distribute food to each cat’s territory in following order: Elvis eats on the kitchen island (yes, I am aware that we chop food on this surface; yes, I am none too pleased with this), Reese eats on top level of green cat tree, Mr. Tiddles eats on counter by microwave, Zoe eats on the floor by washing machine facing away from everyone else (if she sees others eating, she will leave her bowl and try to steal theirs) Blind Murphy eats on the floor near entrance to dining room.
6. Watch in disgust as Zoe inhales her food like an orphan from a third world country at a country buffet. Seriously, she’ll suck up the bottom of her bowl if you let her.
7. Trade Reese and Elvis’s bowls because both are being finicky assholes and ungrateful of the food I work hard to provide for them.
8. Wrangle Zoe away from Blind Murphy so he can eat in peace (again, not easy to do when drunk).
9. Wrangle Mr. Tiddles away from Elvis’s food while holding Zoe back from Blind Murphy’s food.
10. Pick up Zoe because she is pitching a tantrum like a pre-“water” Helen Keller and go pet Reese to encourage her to return to her food bowl because she only ate two bites.
11. Lock Mr. Tiddles in bathroom so he will leave Elvis alone.
12. Complain to Elvis that he is eating too slow.
13. Place Zoe on top of refrigerator so Blind Murphy can eat in peace (she can’t jump down from high places).
14. Turn Blind Murphy’s bowl 180 degrees so that he knows there is food on the other side.
15. Ignore Mr. Tiddles’s crying from behind the closed bathroom door.
16. Complain to Elvis that he is still eating too slow.
17. Remove bowl from top-level of cat tree after Reese throws up in it.
18. Place Zoe back on floor after Blind Murphy walks away from his food and towards litter box.
19. Give Reese dry-food so that she will have something in her stomach and cross fingers that she does not throw it up.
20. Complain to Elvis that he is eating too slow.
21. Trip over Zoe as she slithers between your legs as she begs for more food.
22. Listen to Blind Murphy splatter diarrhea all over the litter box.
23. Free Mr. Tiddles from bathroom because you are annoyed of his non-stop crying.
24. Return to find Zoe climbing green cat tree upon which Reese is eating.
25. Snag Zoe off cat tree like a piece of Velcro.
26. Dry heave at stench of diarrhea.
27. Watch Mr. Tiddles steal a mouthful of Elvis’s food and yell at Elvis that he wouldn’t have food to steal if he ate faster.
28. Place empty dishes in sink when Elvis FINALLY decides he is done eating.
29. Contemplate running away from home because you’ll have to do this all over again in about 4 to 5 hours.