My mother has an old cat with the funniest eating habit. Whereas all of her previous kitties would start to eat as soon as she poured in the kibble, this one approaches his bowl with more than a modicum of caution.
He slinks up to it, staring at it as though it might bite him. Then he reaches out a paw and slides a single piece of kibble out onto the floor.
He’ll eat the whole bowl that way, and no one has any idea why he does it. But a woman from Curitiba, Brazil, came to a heartbreaking realization about her dog’s odd eating habits.
Joice Lamas and her husband adopted a rescue dog in 2018, according to The Dodo.
The pooch, a scruffy little terrier named Otávio, entered their lives with a lot of baggage. His previous owners had neglected him.
What’s more, they had packed him in a house with multiple other animals. Otávio had ended up physically wounded — and mentally wounded, too.
See, Otávio didn’t want to have anything to do with people. He shied away from the least little touch, curling his body back from the contact.
To Lamas, that didn’t make him broken. It just made her love him more.
“From the first moment we saw him, we’ve never been apart,” she said. However, even she would admit that caring for an abused animal has its challenges.
“They need patience and a lot of love because they can take longer to adapt,” she said. “But it is remarkable how love changes animals.”
One of the things about Otávio that surprised Lamas was how he ate his food. After every meal, she would discover that about half of his kibble remained neat pushed to one side of his bowl.
Such behavior isn’t uncommon. Pedigree said that hoarding behavior can easily happen with dogs.
“In the world of early canines, food was often hard to come by,” the dog-food manufacturer said. “If a dog was lucky enough to find something to eat, he had to compete with other dogs in his pack — not to mention other animals — to keep his spoils.
“So dogs would bury bones and carcasses near their den. This hoarding was also helpful if the hunting was exceptionally good and there was more than enough food to devour at one time.”
Lamas hopes that Otávio will one day settle into his home enough to know that she’ll always have food for him.
“I always tell him, ‘It’s OK if you eat everything,’” she said.
“A rescued animal is much sweeter, more grateful and affectionate than others. They’re simply incredible!”
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