It started with Cocoa, the littlest of the bunch. She was playing with her squeaker mouse under Godiva’s watchful eye. I was hurriedly shoving a handful of croutons in my mouth so I could go lug twenty pounds of cat litter around to the various litter pans. I had to hurry because everyone had just eaten and when you give a cat food, you have to give them litter.
Anyway, she was watching me as I was eating – if you could call it eating – and then she fixed her gaze on the croutons, her big yellow eyes wide.
She forgot her squeaker entirely and ran up to me, paused, and cocked her head from side to side.
“Crouton,” I told her, holding it up. “Crouton. Does Cocoa want a crouton?”
She chirped at me like Flipper’s second cousin and took a step back, which was my cue to drop the crouton. Well, I didn’t think she’d eat it, but she loved crackers and it was worth a shot. Cocoa sniffed it awhile, then batted it back and forth between her paws.
Eventually, she decided it was edible and she ate it in her own Cocoa way, which was a combination of her dainty demeanor and the truth that her little kitten mouth could probably only hold a jelly bean on a good day. Cocoa took the whole crouton into her mouth, cracked it in half and let half fall out. She chewed and swallowed, crunching so loud she woke Buster up, who demanded her own crouton bossily.
Soon all five were eating croutons. The size and complexity of their appetites never ceases to amaze me.