Feeding the Manzke menagerie

Susan Manzke
Car-E and Barn-E are quick to remind Susan when it's time to eat.

If you have animals to feed, do you eat before or after setting out their food?

When Bob and I were first married, he and his dad milked about 35 cows. I woke up early with Bob so I could give him breakfast before he headed out to the barn. His dad went outside without breakfast, choosing to take a break after milking. Bob preferred to keep working, only stopping for lunch.

These days, I don’t have cows, but I do have pets that need feeding morning and night. Unlike Bob, I take care of my critters before putting anything on a plate for myself.

My house pets include three cats, Cruella, Car-E, and Barn-E, and one very active puppy, Stella.

Even before dishing out any pet breakfast food, I have to take Stella outside. If I don’t do this quickly, I’ll end up with an unwanted puddle on my floor. Stella is about 6 months old. Accidents are few and far between for her. I guess I shouldn’t call them accidents. If she makes a puddle inside, it’s usually because I wasn’t fast enough, or because I didn’t understand her dog-language. (I wish there really was a dog translator, like in the movie UP. It would help us both.)

Stella the puppy being silly.

After bringing Stella back inside, the cats are ready for their breakfast. They are more anxious than the dog about getting their food. The cats meow, telling me that they want their food NOW!

I can not just set one bowl of food down for my critters. Each one needs its own bowl, in a separate part of the house.

My three house cats get a tablespoon of Friskies extra gravy canned food and some dry kibble. One day, the canned food is totally eaten, another day they turn their noses up at the flavor I dished out for them. This picky eating changes from meal to meal.

Each cat has a separate area in my house where it eats. Barn-E has the downstairs bathroom. When he’s finished, and before I set him free, he curls up in the sink which is so cute.

Car-E goes into the dining room for his meals. I can lock the door so he can dine alone. Cruella gets her canned food and kibble on the steps going upstairs. She won’t even look at her food until she’s sure the other two cats aren’t around.

Cruella yawning.

Stella’s puppy chow is delivered to her on the back porch. This will work until freezing winter weather sets in.

The outside cats are waiting on the front porch for their breakfast. Often, they are looking in the kitchen window and meowing for me to hurry with their food. I have to admit that the outside cats’ food is the less expensive kibble. They get some pate, too. Of course, they gobble that up first.

After my pets eat, I think about what I’ll have for breakfast. Having all my furry friends eating their own food and in different places alleviates begging at the table. For a short time, there is peace in the house.

This feeding regimen is repeated in the evening. If I’m busy and forget the time, one or another pet will remind me by meowing or woofing at the cabinet door where their food is kept. This usually happens about five o’clock, about the same time I’m getting hungry, too.

Barn-E plays with a bottle cap.

Car-E just walked across my computer keyboard. My clock tells me it’s 5:15 p.m., time for supper. Good thing I’m getting to the end of this column. If I have to write much longer, there will be a furry revolt taking place.

FYI: It’s getting close to the time my children’s book will be published. I hope to be able to tell you about the exact date next week. I have my fingers crossed that my book, All the Queen’s Crowns, will be out for everyone to see soon.

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