What's on the menu for Susan's menagerie

Susan Manzke
Barn-E tells big brother Car-E that he wants to eat first.

When you have pets it’s not easy to leave home. There’s always the problem of who will tend to your critters.

My family said they would take care of my cats, dog, and chickens when I needed their help. The trouble was that they didn’t know what or when to feed them.     

Since no one eats the exact same food, I was expected to give directions from the start of the day until the end.

The chickens are the easiest. Their crumbles go into a gravity feeder and their water fills a bowl. Easy-peasy. Except that I give my chickens treats.

Once a day, I toss my three hens table scraps. They love bits of old bread to peck at. They also enjoy old lettuce and they love grapes—it’s when my food is not at its best when it goes to the chickens. If I don’t have anything suitable I’ll share some of my homemade bread. That’s about it for the birds, except for bringing in the eggs.

The outside cats get some dry Kit & Kaboodle kibble and some tablespoon globs of canned 9Lives. They gobble the soft food right away. It’s not meant to fill them up. The kibble would do that. Of course, they would like a whole can of food, but that’s not on their menu.

There are two fish tanks in my house. One has a beta fish and the larger tank has two skinny fish. I don’t remember what breed they are. A few crumbles of the special beta fish food goes in for Blue Fish in the morning. The other tank gets a pinch of flaked fish food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the fish all in one go.

An assortment of treats and food for Susan's indoor canine and feline companions.

Breakfast and supper for the rest:

My house cats will tell you when they are hungry. Barn-E is always hungry. He’s a growing boy. Those three get a tablespoon of Friskies Extra Gravy Chunky canned food. The other half of their food dish has a place for Purina Gentle kibble.

The cats have to be separated when they eat. If not, Barn-E will clean up all the canned food before the other two have a chance to eat.

Cruella’s dish goes on the stairs to the upstairs. There I can close the door so she can eat in peace. If another cat even looks in her direction, she will head back to the bedroom where she will pout.

I should have said Barn-E gets his dish first. He won’t leave me alone until his dish is in the bathroom where he eats. After he finishes gobbling his soft food and munches some kibble, he curls up in the sink and takes a nap until I set him free. There’s a hand towel in the sink so it’s sort of a nest.

Car-E is put in the dining room with his food. When I return to pick up Car-E’s and Barn-E’s dishes, I leave a couple of kibble on the floor. Those are for Sunny my dog as a little treat. The cats never finish their dry food.

Barn-E thinks he might have a fish dinner as he stretches out behind the Beta tank. (The blue beta is in the upper right corner of the tank.)

Sunny gets 1 ⅓ cup Purina Healthy Choice kibble. He finishes every morsel. When one of the small cans of cat food is empty, I swish water inside it and pour it over Sunny’s kibble. That’s another perk for the dog.

The time change has confused my animals when eating time is. If we are nearing seven in the morning or five in the evening, that’s good enough to start feeding.

At bedtime, inside cats and dog get a treat. Sunny also gets three Cosequin Joint Health Supplements for his arthritis. Sunny can not go upstairs because of his joint problems.

Now you have the whole routine. Everyone should keep this column handy just in case you are called on to take over the care and feeding of all my pets.

Oops, I didn’t tell which closet holds which food. I guess I’ll have to leave signs that point the way.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;