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I was able to determine who won those fights. If it was a plastic bowl, Bebe carried it away and ate food. If it was ceramic, Daisy ate food. Thus I could regulate their weights, and ensure that they alternated.
When Pumpkin arrived, he ate after Taz was done. He never emptied bowl, having gorged on mice. Then Daisy and Bebe fought for leftovers.
With Frosty, everything changed. Witchie still ate first, with Taz sitting guard duty and keeping Frosty away. Then Frosty ate next, at which point Daisy ran to kitchen and waited. This was because Frosty pushed bowl all over counter. Daisy knew it would soon hit floor, or at least make its way to edge where she could steal it.
I didn't mind that Frosty didn't eat much, since he was fat. Taz didn't mind not getting any, because there was always a bowl of dog food. Bebe lost weight, which was good because overweight dachshunds wind up with broken backs. Daisy was getting fat, but eventually I worked that out too. It took me two years to do it, though.
When Lisa and I worked out terms of our divorce, we quickly decided that I'd keep Daisy and Bebe, and she'd keep her horses and her Siamese cats.
Frosty, she decided, would have to go. She would be smuggling her two precious Siamese into a no-pets apartment, but Frosty wouldn't like it at all because he was an outdoorsman and a free spirit.
I was selling house and moving into an apartment myself, leading to same problem, but if she couldn't find Frosty a good home I'd find a way to keep him somehow. He deserved best.
Lisa gave Frosty to Shannon, owner of boarding stable where horses were living. We thought he'd be much happier there than with me, since he'd grown so used to company of other cats, so Frosty moved in with Shannon's barn cats. I figured he'd be ruling roost before day was over, and when I visited him a week later, he was.
About a week after that, I was typing at my computer when I heard a familiar noise out on porch. It was a meow. I recognized voice, as did Taz and dogs. Witchie recognized it as well, and she scowled angrily.
He'd lost a bit of weight, yes, but Frosty had returned home. A mile or so down road, and he'd simply decided he didn't like it there. I assumed I'd be keeping him after all, but he had other plans.
A few days later, one of Lisa's coworkers dropped in because we were selling furniture and such. Frosty, now fat again, decided he would go home with her. He rubbed all over her legs, purring loudly, looking up with lovesick eyes.
"He's free if you want him," said Lisa.
"Oh, he's beautiful, but I can't take him. I already have two cats."
"Frosty won't mind. He lives with two now."
"Oh, but these are males. They'd fight."
"Frosty's big enough to take care of himself."
"My cats are pretty big, too."
This conversation lasted another two or three minutes, during which Frosty continued to woo and charm lady as only he can. Heck, I didn't realize old boy had it in him. But he was in love.
Come to think of it, I didn't choose him when I visited Humane Society. He chose me.
Finally she picked him up. I suspect she already knew what a big mistake that was.
"Well, other two stay outdoors," she finally said. "Maybe Frosty could be an indoor cat. Do you think he'd be okay indoors?"
"Oh yeah," Lisa lied, "He loves it indoors. He'd be great."
This is cat who, on his first day in house, howled and clawed inside of door until I let him out. When he was ready to come inside, he leaped onto window screen behind TV and yelled. He usually found himself on wrong side of door about once every five minutes, as if he'd had a cat door at his previous home. He never stopped doing those things.
But I'm sure Frosty made his own rules, as always, and lived happily with his new love and her two cats. Really, I think Frosty is just one of those who likes to move to a new home every year.
But he has to choose his new home, you see. Shannon -- no. This woman -- yes.
By now he's probably tired of her and moved onto greener pastures yet again. Maybe one day, if you're very lucky, he'll come spend a year with you.
Michael publishes a free weekly newsletter, WHO MOVED MY RICE?, which is dedicated to proving that you can't eat grits with chopsticks. http://www.chinarice.org