Couch Cat: I am insane about my pets

08 March 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
I think that when my kids look at me as if I have lost my mind just because I talk to my pets (and answer for them in a ‘little squeaky voice’), I am indeed as eccentric as they fear. 
Why do I spend so much time worrying about my pets? 
Here is a big word that epitomizes my mental state:  I anthropomorphise (I’ll give you N$1 if you can say that word three times without messin’ up).
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.  Only true pet lovers will appreciate this.
I stand before the shelves in the store reading the content labels of different pet foods to make sure the brand I choose is vitamin-enriched, and does not contain unhealthy fillers.  I read to see if it is made with beef and not just beef ‘flavouring’.  My daughter insists that our Labradors won’t go on hunger strikes because I served them beef/steak flavour instead of chicken.   But my doggie-babies told me that they like the beef flavour of a particular brand, so that is what I buy.  My kids give me a strange look when I say things like that. 
In the mornings, I used to make a ‘soup’ with bones from last night’s dinner and any leftover meat.  I strain the ‘soup’ and pour the warm juice over their doggie kibble.  One of my dogs has a heart issue, so I insert her medicine in her bowl.  I use flaxseed oil over their food to help their coats shine and avoid skin conditions (they used to get eczema).   My female doggie is 11 years old, and her back legs get stiff, so I also add devil’s claw powder to her breakfast.  My daughters have removed me from ever feeding our pets again; they claim am overfeeding and being dramatic.
My daughter Martha insists that Norman-the-cat (he’s nearly 15 now), can no longer tolerate the tuna fish (packed in brine) that he loves so much.  She has banned me from giving him any.  She says he throws it up and since she is the one that cleans the mess up, tuna is forever off his menu.  His tummy is a bit delicate these days. 
But, Norman-the-cat complains constantly about not being able to enjoy his beloved tuna meal.  When I am in the kitchen, he stares at the cupboards where the cans are kept and back at me (with huge round eyes), rubbing at my ankles and tuna-begging.   So, I sneak him some every now and then.  Ok…sometimes, Norman throws up (a little bit) after eating too much tuna, but what is a kitty-mother to do?  Now, my kids hide the tuna cans.
Li’l George-the-new-kitten is growing up fast. He will no longer need kitten food by the end of this month.  I am worried about how to feed him cat food that Norman-the-cat won’t also eat and mess up his tummy (Normie needs ‘senior’ food now.)
I worry incessantly because Artemis, my female Labrador is going a bit blind and the three-year old Labrador boy, Ajax, is a bundle of energy driving her nuts because he wants to play while she wants to nap. 
My kids and I play with Ajax as often as we can (he forces us to exercise!)  We are embarrassed to admit that we took him to dog school for training and he failed the first level; he must repeat.  The dear boy cannot separate training from play.
Then, there is Dave-the-tortoise. Dave has lived on that property for the longest time.  He trucks around the place doing his own thing and I love such independence. 
When the normal grasses and other stuff he likes to eat thin out, I supplement his diet.  He specifically told me that he doesn’t like anything except iceberg lettuce and watermelon.  He will eat cabbage only rarely, otherwise he turns up his nose at that too (do tortoises have noses?) If catering to the whims of a tortoise is crazy, then I suppose I am nuts.
Sigh…at the end of the day, loving my pet babies makes me happy and I can’t imagine anything better than being insane about them. 


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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