making mealtime easier: corelle dishes and greenies pill pockets

Breakfast time here is a bit of a production. The cats are well trained not to wake me up for breakfast (waking me up delays breakfast without fail), but once I’m up, feeding G&T is a multi-step process. First, Tycho has to take an antacid pill every morning before breakfast because his stomach gives him trouble (I still have to clean up more cat puke than I’d like, but the pepcid ac helps!).  Then I have to mix a joint supplement/mild pain reliever into Tycho’s wet food (he’s an old man with a few mild health issues!). After the cats finally get to eat their wet food (the wait feels like forever to Gus!), I’m left to clean up (and then finally get to eat my breakfast!). Cleanup usually involves having to wipe down Tycho’s eating area because he’s pretty messy. I actually attached shelf liner to the wall behind his placemat because I got tired of scraping dried cat food off the paint.

Tycho in front of his placemat and backsplash
This is where the messy eater eats

Two things have helped streamline breakfast a little bit. The first is using Greenies pill pockets to deal with Tycho’s daily pill. They’re little squishy pockets that you put the pill into and seal the opening by mushing it together. And because they’re Greenies brand, and Tycho loves all things Greenies brand, he happily eats it like a treat, pill and all! I know that these don’t work for all cat owners (some cats figure out that there’s a pill inside and spit it out), but if you have to give your cats a pill, they’re worth a try! It’s certainly less of a nightmare than trying to shove a pill down Tycho’s throat every morning!

The second thing that helps with mealtime was switching to using plates to feed the cats instead of bowls. There are a few benefits here. First, the plates fit in the dishwasher more easily than the bowls, so breakfast cleanup is simplified by not having to think about the geometry of how best to fill the dishwasher with bowls while making sure everything will come out clean.

Plates fit easily into the dishwasher!

The plates also mean the cats eat more of their wet food. No more food smushed into the corners of bowls where it gets overlooked! Gus almost always licks his plate totally clean! Tycho also strongly prefers eating from a plate, possibly because of a thing that’s referred to as “whisker fatigue“. Basically some cats don’t like eating from bowls because their whiskers rub against the edges of the bowls. I originally started using plates because I would run out of clean pet bowls before the dishwasher was full enough to run. When I noticed Tycho preferred them, I decided to buy the cats their own plates for wet food (I do still use bowls for their supplemental dry food because the bowls keep those crunchies better contained!).

The last benefit is that small plates are a lot cheaper than pet bowls! I bought G&T a variety of small plates and tea saucers from Goodwill for less than $1 each. I went with Corelle brand plates because Corelle is lightweight and very difficult to break (my own set of dishes is Corelle too!). They tend to be relatively easy to find at Goodwill because they’ve been very popular over the years (though they’re pretty cheap new too, so you could pick then up at Walmart of Target!). Plus they come in lots of different patterns, so G&T have quite the eclectic set to eat from!.

Because I use 6 plates a day for the cats (the spoiled brats get breakfast, dinner, and a bedtime snack! but at least only breakfast comes with the added complexity of medications!), the fact that I could cheaply buy a bunch of these and that they fit compactly in the dishwasher is really nice! Now we never run out of clean kitty dishes!

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