Saturday, August 13, 2016

Caturday: Night Wailing, Dry vs Wet Food, and Tiki Cat Kibble

It's Caturday, time to share my experience with Tiki Cat's Born Carnivore dry food, and emote about how my cats won't shut up at 4:00 AM. Ready?

Dry versus Wet Cat Food

Wet cat food provides some pretty significant benefits over dry cat food, but there are also some compelling reasons to stick with kibble. A lot of cats end up with failing kidneys in old age, and proper hydration is better for their urinary and renal health. The trouble with dry kibble is that it requires quite a bit of moisture to break down. If your cat or dog doesn't like to drink a lot of water, they can end up perpetually dehydrated. However, crunching dry food is supposed to be good for their teeth. Kibble is also, lets face it, way cheaper and more convenient than opening cans every day.

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore

So knowing the above info about pet food, it seems surprising that Tiki Cat would offer a dry cat food along with their fish-heavy wet options. The literature the company gave me at SuperZoo explains their reasoning. Basically, it comes down to consumer preference. While wet food is generally better for kitty health, most people stick with dry diets for convenience and cost. Why not make a food for those cats too?

A whole lot of cat foods use plant proteins to boost the protein content of their products without adding more meat. The cheaper foods use wheat gluten meal, or corn gluten meal. The more expensive ones tend to use pea and potato proteins. Tiki Cat decided not to use any plant proteins at all in their dry food. All the protein comes from actual meat. That's pretty cool.

This is also a baked kibble rather than an extruded product, which means it can start out with wetter dough. Most dry pet foods are extruded, and that process requires a fairly dry dough. I have no idea whether my cats prefer baked over extruded kibble because they immediately wolf down anything I throw in their bowl, no matter how much I put in there.

When Your Cats Won't Shut Up At Night

bowl of cat food

My cats would prefer to run wild through the house at night like deranged little poltergeists, but our living arrangements decree that they must spend the night locked in the bedroom with me and the dogs. The Hellions do not approve of this arrangement. They express their disapproval by trying to turn the doorknob while wailing at 4:00 AM.

I love them to pieces, but by 4:30 I tend to start thinking some pretty dark thoughts. First I tried calling to them and reassuring them that I was in there with them. This did not appease their desire to run loose and break stuff in the rest of the house. Next I tried filling their food bowl all the way up with kibble under the theory that they started crying when they emptied the bowl. That was the night the two of them polished off four cups of kibble.
time-consuming puzzle bowls for cats

Eventually I tried spraying them furiously with the squirt bottle every time they meowed. This resulted in slightly more annoyed meowing. If I chased them around the room with the water they would quiet down for a couple of minutes, tops.

During the day, when I was more or less lucid and sane, I devised a plan to wear out their little bodies and minds. I walked them around the yard on leashes for half an hour each. I ran them around the house with their favorite fishing pole toy until they were panting and exhausted. Then I fed them right before bed, hoping they would eat, wash themselves, and then sleep. They slept in till 4:30.

Last night I used a combination of nice and punitive tactics to get some actual sleep. In addition to lots of playtime during the day, I put their food in two different puzzle feeders. One has tubes they have to reach into with their paws for kibble, the other is my Outward Hound Fun Feeder bowl, dribbled with Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse. I even spread some mousse in a couple of small Kongs and jammed those in there. I set out Project Dinner immediately before going to bed.

The Vacuum Trick

Vacuum cleaners come with very long cords. Unless you have an enormous bedroom, you can probably set the vacuum beside the door and run the end of the cord all the way to your bed. This also works with the machine right outside the door and the cord running under the door. If you turn the vacuum on but leave it unplugged, or plugged into a power strip that is switched off, you should be able to turn it on and off without getting out of bed. This is a terribly evil thing to do to an animal, but I haven't found anything else effective for cats determined to wail at a closed door all night.

Between Project Dinner and one brief round of the Vacuum Trick, I actually got some sleep last night. 


  1. what puzzle bowl is that white one, I've never seen it before!

    1. It's a Stimulo bowl by Aikiou. There's a tube for every well, and some are longer. I haven't put them all on yet because Solstice is slow to catch on and would probably starve. I will definitely be doing a blog post about it soon.