Both Bear (곰) and Geumbi (금) are rescues, and each came with their own respective problems. However, Bear is picture perfect health. Okay, he's a bit fat. Geumbi also started to get chubby which was exciting. After fifteen or sixteen months of battling her being underweight was a nice change of pace.
But because of Geumbi, who is neurotic about food, me leaving the house, me coming home, eating, not eating and everything, calorie reduction proved to be a challenge. First I tried giving them each x amount and if it was gone it was gone. I did this even though I knew Geumbi wouldn't eat at the same time as Bear. I took up her dish covered it and hid it from Bear--he never misses a meal. Geumbi wondered the house mewing non-stop, so on the first two days I tried offering her the dry food while simultaneously pushing Bears nose out of her bowl. She started going out of the litter box, which contrary to popular belief isn't about getting even with the human. It's an insecurity thing with cats. If Geumbi wasn't on steroids and stomach medicine and L-lysine and hadn't had liver failure twice, the vet would have prescribed her an anti-anxiety.
Before she came into my life I was critical of people putting pets on anti-depressants and the like. But the combination of chronic pain and chronic hunger because she could eat without sever pain, coupled with being abandoned at a cat rescue, fostered and abandoned again just turned her into a wreck of a cat. There was a time that knowing what I know know, I wouldn't have adopted Geumbi, but that has passed. Despite the headaches and expense I don't regret her being in my life. Here's why....
Geumbi feels safe and is happy most of the time. When she first arrived in my home as a foster, I was told she hated other cats. That's not quite accurate though. She was (and still is) an insecure cat. She's come a long way from the cat that would his and at Bear from across the room and sometimes they even play. But I've digressed. Back to the Food!
So I tried waiting Geumbi out. I wasn't worried about her not eating anything at all. She gets half a can of wet food mixed with her medicine once a day. I figured she'd get hungry and eat when Bear ate. But alas, that's not what happened.
On the night of the paw burning, I was feeling annoyed with Geums never ending mewing and pacing while cooking dinner. I offered her dry food and then put it up and still hungry she jumped onto my stove in search of food while I was cooking dinner. I don't know what was scarier. The smoke from the burned fur or the smell of burnt flesh. I tried coxing her out of hiding and then finally just picked her up. The burn was bad and new just how bad when she went into the cat carrier of her own accord.
Off to the vet we went. Sometimes I really hate vets. I mean a good vet is a good vet but there is also a learning curve for how to be with emergency veterinary care. On TV the vets are always happy to treat the pet but in my case, the vet wouldn't even look at Geumbi until we had decided on treatment and price. I was shocked. She was huddled silently in her carrier in pain and the vet didn't want to see the burn. In the end, I went from I want you to treat her because you know your the vet to tell the vet what I wanted done. Never going to go back there again if I can help it.
Anyway, Geumbi came home and was good for about two days thanks to injections of painkillers and anti-inflammatory. Thanks to the stomatitis and her two bouts of liver failure, I was concerned that she would stop eating. In cats, not eating is deadly. Their livers can't discard fat, and can go into liver failure by not eating for one day. Of course whether the cat is fat has a huge impact on how fast and serious there is a problem. This explains why I was trying to manage her weight so much. I mean, being fat is bad for every cat, but deadly for Geums.
After vet bill, I looked into auto cat feeders and then settled the Northmate Interactive Feeder.
Interactive might be what the company calls it, but my cats think it's cruel. Mostly, they stare at it and wait for mealtime. On the other hand, it's really reduced Geumbi's food related anxiety and got her eating on schedule with Bear. Because if she doesn't she'll have to use her paws to get the food and that's just torture... muwahahahahah!
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018