Critter of the day: Lilo the Cat eating broccoli

black cat eating broccoli
Lilo pausing from eating broccoli to contemplate her consumption strategy.

My cat Lilo likes to eat fabric. Not suck on it, or pretend to eat it. But to actually tear off pieces with her tiny little teeth and swallow them. I’ve written about her compulsion here and here.

I have lots of ways of dealing with this, most of which revolve around keeping light and medium-weight fabrics out of her reach. I don’t have curtains, and she’s not allowed in my bedroom unattended because quilts are a frigging delicacy. Fortunately, she hasn’t been interested in heavy-weight upholstery since she was a kitten, so my sofa is safe.

But sometimes I fail and accidentally leave the coat closet door open, or don’t realize the hoodie hanging off the door hook has really long sleeves, and she can reach their cuffs if she stands on her hind legs.

Then munch-munch-munch she goes, and the next think I know, my hoodie is missing half a wrist cuff and the sweater at the front of my coat closet is not longer a sweater.

I guess fabric is a lot like mouse fur. Maybe I need a rodent infestation to keep her entertained?

For a while I was taking her outside every day to burn up her energy, but now that the temperatures have fallen to freezing, she’s ready to head indoors after less than five minutes. I’ve been trying to find indoor games she’ll enjoy, but usually I just stand there waving a string and she walk off, bored.

The only one that keeps her engaged is the one that involves me throwing kibbles down the staircase. I throw one, she runs down. Then I drop one at  the top of the staircase, and she runs up. Then I throw another one to the bottom of the staircase, and we go on with this until her rations runs out.

A couple weeks ago, I discovered a new variation on this game. I was making broccoli. She started whining for some. “Meow meow meow,”
she said, and then jumped on top of her cat tower and sat primly, the way she does when she wants to be fed dinner.

I’ve fed her lettuce before, and sweet potato skins. But she’d never shown an interest in broccoli. Maybe the lack of grass in her diet is making her desperate.

Well, I made her do a few acrobatics, and then I rewarded her with a broccoli chunk. She went to town.

It turns out she like sweet peas and green beans too. They are all ingredients in cat food, so I figure, what the heck. It’s got to be better for her than eating my sweaters.

So now whenever I’m cooking vegetables, I throw one out of the kitchen and across the living room for her to go catch. She purrs so possessively-contentedly, you’d think she’d hunted it down and butchered it herself.

I can’t say it’s 100 percent effective at keeping her from wanting to eat fabric, since I haven’t accidentally left any in the wrong place lately. But it’s entertaining.

black cat eating broccoli
Tiny sharp Lilo teeth flaying broccoli
black cat eating broccoli
Lilo eating broccoli

Want to learn more about life with Lilo? You can find more Lilo posts here.

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