When the refrigerator died

And what does that have to do with cats?

Our 21-year-old fridge died last week. Its demise was imminent, but of course it happened on a holiday weekend just after the shopping was done for the week.

What the cats eat when the fridge dies

Saturday night my husband poked me and announced the fridge wasn’t cooling. I tried to go back to sleep and hoped I was dreaming. On Sunday, a discussion with a repairman pretty much confirmed that we’d gotten our money’s worth out of the appliance. Later, I quickly checked out refrigerators in a local appliance store and did some Internet research. On Monday, we hit the road in earnest, tape measure in hand.

The new fridge had to be black – to match our other relatively new and purchased-under-duress appliances – and it had to fit under the cabinets. We ended up back at my initial stop, a local place, and made a deal on a freezer-on-top model, icemaker to be installed, delivery Wednesday. It was one of the few models with any capacity that fit in the designated space. Plus it was in our budget.

The good news is that the freezer – loaded with the base mix for the cats’ raw diet – was still working. That was a relief since we lost a lot of its contents during the Irene-induced power outage last summer.

The week’s worth of ground chicken and turkey in the refrigerator were quickly brought downstairs to the old beast of a

This is what goes into their normal diet.

freezer we re-fired up a couple of months earlier when the icemaker stopped working. That problem was never fixed, except for the recommendation to “unplug everything for a couple of days so the connections can thaw out.” Which didn’t work.

So this time, we again stuffed what we could into coolers with ice, but lost anything with mayo, cold cuts, some produce, and anything meat-related. The temperature within the fridge was barely cool enough to support what eventually went into the coolers.

That meant the cats ate canned food for more meals than I would have liked since the fridge wouldn’t be delivered until Wednesday afternoon.

I keep canned food on hand as a backup, lots of different kinds. Occasionally, I schmear some on their raw if they’re being finicky. But for three days worth of meals they dined on canned, consuming every last … schmear.

No denying, Tekla likes the canned food.

They loved it. It was easy to serve. No thawing, measuring and mixing. Just pop open a can and divide it three ways. It was like being on vacation.

I realized several things. (1) Feeding canned food is easy. (2) Its strong smell, which, while appealing to cats, can be off-putting to humans, and often cited as the reason for feeding dry

Replacement in place

food; a batch of freshly made raw food has little or no odor. (3) The fact that making my cats’ food is indeed a labor of love, especially when you’re doing it as the last thing before bedtime.

My fear about this hiatus was that they’d be difficult to transition back even though they’d all be on raw for their entire lives (11, 9, and 3 years). I had visions of even chowhound Pulitzer turning up his freckled nose at my freshly made combination of ground chicken, hearts and gizzards, veggies, and supplements.

The new fridge was delivered, installed, and up and running Wednesday afternoon as promised. A new batch of food was ready Thursday morning.

Now this is what’s for supper!

Not to worry. Pully dived right in. The girls, Tekla and Mollie, required their Halo Chicken-Liv-A-Little sprinkles, but there was no boycott.

I breathed a sigh of relief. The vacation was over – for both the cats and me.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

One Response to When the refrigerator died

  1. Ingrid King says:

    Great post, Sally. This is the reason why I occasionally feed some canned food to Allegra and Ruby. I want to be sure that they’ll still accept it in case of an emergency like a power outage, or, as in your case, a broken fridge (and I don’t have a back up freezer). Like you, I would have worried about them not wanting the raw again after eating stinky canned food for a few days, and it’s good to know that this was not the case.

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