Pam’s Pictorama Post: This very homemade photo postcard caught my eye for some reason. It is dated January 15, 1920, handwritten on both front and back. It was never sent and I don’t know where it hails from, but it is a snowy January locale. An out of season litter of kittens is scarfing down a meal with what appears to be their mom, on the side of this clapboard house.
I can make out a winter washtub, buckets, a stool and what might be a water pump although some of it is a bit indistinct. Kitties are being fed on a wooden walkway, presumably raised above the snow to minimize the inevitable mud being traipsed in the house. This cat quartet is enjoying meals from somewhat outsized bowls – the one kitten downright dwarfed by his and you wonder if he will need to actually climb in to get the last of his dinner. I am sure, however, that he or she will manage.
I grew up in a home that became increasing well endowed with cats over time. With a beginning investment of one, then two, somehow we slipped into a bevy of kitties over time. Once we weren’t quick enough and a litter of kittens set off a chain effect, and for a number of years the household expanded to accommodate a more or less two to one cat to human ratio. Seems, at least for us Butlers, cats are a slippery slope.
This mini herd of felines would all come running when they heard my mother call, Chow time! To my memory there was no getting picky over food types and flavors back in that time. There were rather generic cans of cat food and bags or boxes of dry food and cats ate it – unless of course they were stealing food off the table (one cat, Zipper, managed to steal a steak off the table – dropped it right into the happy jaws of our waiting German Shepard, she who definitely won the lottery that day), or committing some other food related sin. Being picky was not among those sins however.
Predating the chow time call was the simple sound of an electric can opener which made the cats of the day come running. For the younger reader, this device was very popular before the advent of the pop top can. It came after the hand can opener (several which still reside in my kitchen), but made opening the numerous canned goods of the day quicker I guess. They still exist, but seem to have waned in popularity. Of course this meant that there were many false food calls for cats, but they remained at the ready nevertheless.
Our cats, Blackie and Cookie, are on a fairly strict eating schedule of 6am and 6pm daily, although they have dry food to snack on between times. Kim has the primary responsibility for cat feeding (and Blackie’s insulin shots now which follow immediately) and the kits are pretty good about it although they, like all cats, would love to adopt a more open handed feeding schedule. We continue to demur.
Mom’s cats, on the other hand, enjoy a less regulated, ongoing Butler buffet of wet and dry food. Hobo, our wily stray who has been showing up for more regular meals now that I am more frequently in residence, gobbles two to three cans at a go. I joke that he must have a hollow leg, but I guess he is a fellow who is unsure where his next meal will come from and maximizes his opportunities. For the cats in residence, the caregivers and I open cat food cans with impunity upon my mother’s request and the pantry groans and abounds with Chewy boxes.