As soon as we got our yellow Lab, Jodie, I knew we were going to have a cat food problem. Like most cats, Pax likes to eat when he wants to, so we always left dry food out for him all day and gave him canned food in the morning and at night. But he didn't even wolf that down--sometimes it was still half eaten a few hours after we put it out for him. And of course dogs love cat food because it's rich and smells so delightfully nasty.
So I did the thing that I never thought I would do...the thing that anyone who knows me never thought I'd do. I let my cat eat on the kitchen table.
But it really bothered me, and of course Pax abused the privilege. He got up on the table not just to eat but to lounge. And to put himself in a position where he could take a swipe at the dog's head when she went past.
So two weeks into having Jodie, I decided I had had enough of Pax on the table. Doug had talked about making him a dog-proof feeding station, and we looked at some pictures online.
Places like Orvis sell them, but they're like pieces of furniture--they take up a lot of space, which we don't have, and they're expensive. I do love the expressions on the dogs' faces as they look longingly at the kitty gourmet feasts in these ads:
I knew Doug could make something nice (although he did warn me that I wouldn't get dovetailed joints), but he has no time. Right now, in between photo shoots at the University, he's trying to get the porch renovated at our beach cottage.
So two nights ago, I decided to take things into my own hands. We have a freestanding butcher block in the corner of our kitchen where I feed the dog and store the pet food. I was using the space underneath to store canned foods in a vintage wooden box, but I decided that I was willing to sacrifice the space if it would let me safely feed the cat. I cleared everything out and scrounged around the kitchen for something to use as a barrier.
Aha--a grid-type cooling rack for cookies was just the thing and the perfect size. At first I thought I would need two--one for each of the open sides where the block wasn't against a wall. But then I realized that if I positioned my "tower of tins" just right, I could leave a space that was just the right size for Pax to pass through. Here he is, eating in it just minutes after I got it set up:
But when Doug got home, he helped me install four plastic cable ties so that it would be tightly fastened in place at all four corners:
I love this shot because they're both eating at the same time (although it's hard to see Pax):
And I was able to keep my tins, which store (from the top down) treats for both of them, kibble for Pax, and kibble for Jodie. After all, even even pets need vintage storage containers.
I'm thrilled with the results--it was a no-cost, no-Doug-needed solution to a problem. And I'm posting it here in the hope that it might give other pet owners an idea for how they might adapt a similar space in their own houses for cat-food-stealing dogs.