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Apr 1, 2023

The Kibble Caper

This photo captures the opening scene of a ten-day booking caring for three cats: two adult females rarely seen by outsiders and one very active juvenile male we’ll call Bizzy. Jet black with amber eyes, his real name and photo have been withheld to protect the guilty.

The Kibble Caper

Nearing 18 months of age, Bizzy has been with his new family for less than a year. Friendly, playful, self-assured, and utterly fearless, it wasn’t long before everyone in his life was reorganizing their behavior to accommodate Bizzy’s keen interest in gravitational fun.

The open stairwell in this modern multi-story home serves as Bizzy’s flyway, counters and tabletops his runways and landing zones. The adult cats actively avoid the cheeky youngster while his busy owners try to stay a step ahead, whisking away glassware, plated food, laptops, and potted plants before they are in free fall.

Before leaving town the owners took the kibble container from the cupboard, placing it on the counter for my convenience. They honestly believed Bizzy would not disturb it because bowls of fresh kibble had been left, one for each cat.

I suspect his owners were still in the same zip code when Bizzy started maneuvering the container toward the brink.

After seeing the photo they realized Bizzy was leaving trails of shattered glass and potting soil in his wake because gravitational fun is his boredom buster. The kibble container never had a chance. Now it stays inside the cupboard, making only brief appearances every day at mealtime.

As for Bizzy’s hobby, his owners leave plastic containers around the house filled with an assortment of unbreakable items. Bizzy has his fun, cleanup is a breeze, and he’s (mostly) leaving the valued stuff alone. Everybody’s happy.

Over 29 years of caring for a few hundred cats, I have known only a handful of intrepid felines: Destructive chewers, breaking & entering pros, water bowl flippers, and a screamer that will headline a future post. Like Bizzy, they will always live in my heart.

Did you know?

Just how long does an open bag of meat, fish or poultry last at room temperature? The answer is six weeks under ideal storage conditions (more on that below).

As enthusiastic consumers of funky stuff, most dogs make it impossible to tell when kibble has overstayed its welcome. Cats tend to be more selective. Signs include kibble dropped on the floor around the feeding area or lots of kibble crumbs, the result of biting off edges before swallowing the less stale centers. Sometimes the only clue the food lacks freshness is a waning appetite.

Dry pet food products with a shelf life specified in years is a promise that might convince owners food quality remains stable in or out of the bag. In fact the nutritional value of kibble begins its decline as soon as the bag is opened. Those “best by” and “best before” dates apply to sealed bags only.

Kibble is a highly-processed food that has enemies, namely, air, sunlight, temperature, and moisture/humidity. Show your pet some food love and always store kibble in a cool, dark, dry place.

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