Anyone Missing the Meal for the Scraps?

My 18 year old black cat eats a special canned food to support healthy liver function. Because he’s the only one who gets it, everyone in the house thinks Shadow’s getting a huge treat. So when the can’s empty, I give it to chow pup Koda Bear to lick clean. It’s one of his favorite treats!
Which now means one of Koda’s favorite pasttimes is licking cans. So much so that I decided he deserved his own canned food. Anyone who likes anything that much should get more of it, right?
Here’s how this goes down: I open a can of Nature’s Variety wet dog food (it’s good stuff: organic, human grade beef, no preservatives), I fill up his bowl with the wet food, but all he has eyes for is the empty can.
He’s an absolute nut for that can! Even with the food bowl right in front of him brimming with the REAL deal, his focus is locked on that empty can.
Sometimes I put the can on the counter so he’ll find the food. But all he does is sit on the ground staring at the counter, while the cats eat his food. Sometimes I put the can right next to the bowl, so he’ll at least be pointed in the direction of the GOOD stuff. But he goes for the can first, scooping it up in his mouth and running to the back door with tail waving so he can be let out to enjoy his treat in peace.
This has gone on for some time now. Even when he gets his nose in the bowl he still turns to the can. (Which makes me think how chows aren’t known for being particularly bright.) And then I wonder what he’s reflecting to ME.
Do I do the same thing? Miss the good stuff because I’ve become so conditioned to scraps? Have I trained myself to not even see desserts on the menu, because I’m used to keeping them off limits? Do I not even recognize the opportunity or resource right in front of me because I’m used to doing things the hard way, on my own?
I think I have a pretty good nose for the “gourmet meal” – but how would I know if I’m not seeing it in certain situations? Out of routine, do I just accept that some things are the way they are, and the sooner I accept it the better? Did I pass up the opportunity of a lifetime, because I’m used to second best?
I don’t know. But you better believe Koda’s teaching me to look. I’ll let you know if I discover any gourmet meals. As always, would love to hear your thoughts/experiences.

  • May 26, 2007
  • Colette says:

    I have to laugh at Koda “not being the brightest” especially since I’m an owner of labs, great story,- my thoughts tent to go towards what we are taught in life and most only know what they are taught(the treat is the can)but hopefully everyone (in a perfect world) can realise to be their own teachers an go for the great meal not the scraps!

  • Marquina Rawlings says:


    What if the can IS is the good stuff?


  • Anonymous says:

    Sharne here. The way I see Koda’s can is it is familiar, the know, a sure thing. Sometimes letting go of the know is a little scary especially if it is really very good.

    I live in a beautiful seaside village, have enough money to live ok, have lots of free time but I want more and I can see how I may be reluctant to let go of my already wonderful life for an even better one!!??

  • Peregrine John says:

    This is a brilliant analogy, and one that, as I ponder it, unfolds larger and larger.

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    I realized that, Mart ha, after a couple of insightful people emailed similar suggestions. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

    I was making judgements about what the “good stuff” is!! lol Who am I to say what Koda should love best? And what a great lesson for me to pick up from him that an empty can could contain all the bliss one could imagine!

  • Mart ha says:

    My dog Faith is obsessed with the remnants of a yogurt container!

    I agree with your perception, AND I suspect, that there is also something deeply satisfying in sticking one’s snout deep into a can or a container and being suffused by its aroma. (Dogs being more about smell than taste than we are.)

    But that’s just a guess.

  • Rick says:

    Some great points here Jeanette, not least of all that our pets can often be Zen Masters in disguise.

    But I feel that in determining what I really want, it always seems to be the scraps of something more substantial. So I am just working with what those things would make me feel.

    Does that make sense?

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