Caturday felid: two-part squee

February 4, 2012 • 4:57 am

Two Fancy Feast® cat food commercials, and then a video about how they were made. If only cats had that much power!

Engagement. I have to admit that I teared up when the kitten and its collar appeared.


LOL: Two successive comments below the second video on YouTube.

And “the making of . . “:

h/t: Amanda Marcotte

58 thoughts on “Caturday felid: two-part squee

  1. I have to admit that I teared up when the kitten and its collar appeared.

    Usually I’m the first to fall for the tear-jerker stuff (ask the spousal unit), but I was distracted wondering what happened to Morris. Teh kitteh’s appearance seemed abrupt and incongrous from a narrative POV. Maybe it’s too early…

  2. Only watched the first one, that was enough to make me throw up on my shoes.
    Should contain a health warning, “Diabetics who watch this may go hyperglycaumic”
    If they showed commercials like that in the UK the company would go bust.

    1. …enough to make me throw up on my shoes.

      If you go even past that, I just had to laugh … oh my god, it’s a cat food ad. You just have to get in the spirit. In the second video, when the family was gathered around the table (like a scene from The Wedding Crashers), I just couldn’t help flashing on the idea that they were all eating Fancy Feast.

    2. Don’t be such a pill!

      Even the most austere hermit needs a little sentimental glop for a balanced emotional diet.

  3. I feel less like a crazy cat lady now, since Fancy Feast showed that kitten had it’s own room. My four have to share theirs (yes, my cats have their own room).

    1. But that bud vase was put there by someone who doesn’t realize that it will be smashed to smithereens pretty quickly, and the flowers spread all over the place as toys. L

      1. Maybe that was the intention all along?

        I admit, anything I leave out is either out of Baihu’s reach (or otherwise protected), or it’s fair game.

        We’ve both trained each other pretty well, I must admit….


        1. Cats are very good at training their humans, in a variety of ways, protection of knick-knacks and heirlooms are just one of them.

  4. “Will you marry us?”

    The Republicans were right! First we let the gays get married, now people are having polygamous marriages with their pets!

    1. Sir/Madam,
      I am here to inform that you have been awarded one (1) internets.

      (Void where prohibited. Offer not valid in Guam or Puerto Rico.)

  5. Jerry,
    I bet Nestle would love the additional viewership their Fancy Feast vids are getting on your site. They should send you some free samples!!

    I am the manager of our company’s co-packing operations in WI for Nestle Purina PetCare Company, where we repackage their cat food cans into variety packs and promotional displays. Many of the people I work with have cats and one claim I always here is that cats are very picky about what type of food they eat.

    Is it true that domesticated cats won’t easily transition to another type of food once they’ve been eating a particular type for a while (whether it is wet vs. dry or one flavor or brand vs. another)? Is there any evolutionary understanding that would explain or validate this?

    Many people claim that domesticated cats are just picky about what they eat, which I think comes across as being a bit anthropomorphic, but obviously there’s some other explanation (if the premise is true in the first place). I grew up around dogs that would eat just about anything and always just assumed that any pet would behave the same way if it was hungry. If a feral cat passed up food in the wild, just because it didn’t ‘like’ it, that probably wouldn’t bode well for its survival. Once domesticated, do cat’s really ‘know’ that they can depend on being fed and ‘realize’ they have the luxury of being ‘picky’? What is the biological explanation for this behavioral change? (I don’t think you mentioned this anywhere in your book 🙂 )

    1. I have seven cats. They get Cat Chow free choice, and two cans of Gravy Lover’s chicken divided among them once a day, plus goat milk from my dairy on their crackers.

      If I try to give them a different flavor of Fancy Feast, they won’t touch it, and go on a verbal and behavioral rampage until I relent and give them what they want.

      Before the advent of Gravy Lover’s, I fed them the sliced chicken, which is basically the same stuff with less gravy.

      Variety packs? You gotta be kidding. L

      PS: Several years ago, there was a cat food commercial touting “the variety cats crave”. Every time I saw that, I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah, whose cats are those?”

    2. No finicky cat is anywhere near close to being at danger of starvation, or even real hunger. They are, however, superlative manipulators of their human slaves.

      Said slaves are terrified at the thought of their masters skipping a meal, and skipping two is simply inconceivable. And, so, the slaves quickly break down and give in to the demands of their masters.

      The cat will be happier if you introduce new food gradually by mixing in increasing proportions with the old food, but — assuming a healthy cat — there’s nothing that says you can’t switch cold-turkey, so to speak.

      Set the new food out, and remove it a half-hour later whether or not the cat ate any of it. No matter how the cat complains, no more food until the next meal. (This may be especially hard for you if said meal is breakfast, so don’t make the first switch at dinnertime.) Keep the same routine, and it won’t take very many missed meals before the cat’s happily (or not) chowing down on the new food.

      But don’t let the cat go more than a day and a half without eating, at least a little bit. And if the cat refuses the old, favorite food, it’s off to the vet immediately. Though extremely unlikely, those’re both signs of something else going on, and, considering the cat’s weakened (hungry) state, cause for serious concern.

      A couple last comments on food for cats, if I may….

      The diet cats have been eating for millions of years is small animals and insects. The only fruits, vegetables, and (especially) grains they eat is what’s left in the stomachs of their prey. Yet, most commercial cat food has lots of corn and soy in it, and the animal bits they do have are the “byproducts” the cat’s most likely to leave for the scavengers. Some of the “gourmet” varieties have ingredients that read like a tasty stew for humans, with lots of rice and barley and veggies. That’s great for people, but really bad for cats.

      But, even worse, the most popular type of cat food is entirely missing in the single most important macronutrient cats get from their food: water. Cats evolved in a desert environment and have a very low thirst instinct. In the wild, they rarely drink and instead get almost all their water from their prey. No cat on a kibble diet will ever drink enough water to make up the deficiency, and will suffer chronic dehydration as a result. That dehydration will lead to renal insufficiency and eventual failure…which, oh-by-the-way, is the #1 killer of domestic cats. Dehydration also leads to crystals, bladder infections, and all the rest of the stuff cat slaves dread.

      Even canned food generally doesn’t have enough water. Feed the cat three or four times a day (and remove the bowl after 20 – 30 minutes to ensure it’s eating proper meals rather than grazing), and mix one tablespoon of water in with each of the meals. It’ll make it a bit soupy, but the cat will be guaranteed to be well hydrated and will be much happier as a result.

      (One tablespoon is about 15 milliliters. A standard subcutaneous fluid dosage for cats is 100 ml. Mix in a tablespoon with each of a cat’s three or four daily meals, and it’s like giving the cat fluids every other day. Even better, it’s entering the body through the digestive system and in a constant low trickle instead of a single large amount absorbed subcutaneously. The injection is an amazingly effective treatment for emergencies, but the goal is to make sure the cat never gets dehydrated like that in the first place.)

      I’d also suggest a raw diet, but that may be going farther than many are comfortable with. But there are companies that sell frozen (avoid the freeze-dried) meal-sized portions; all you do is, each evening, move the next day’s meals from the freezer to the fridge. I’d still suggest adding water, though.



      1. My cats routinely live to very old ages, so I don’t think I’m doing too much wrong.

        My last barn cat died at age 23. She’d caught a mouse about two weeks before she died, too. L

        1. Well, she certainly knew how to eat well!

          I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to figure out a way to get Baihu eating those “feeder mice” that people buy for snakes, but I haven’t gotten very far in the mental gymnastics of the logistics. I mean, do I really want to open the freezer and see a bag full of dead mice?


          1. Went to a reptile show once (across from a cat show). One vendor had a freezer full of mice. And rats. And bunnies. That was the end of that.

            1. I can imagine, which is why I’ve not yet gone down that path.

              Intellectually…well, I’ve got chicken parts and ground meat and what-not in the freezer right now, and some leftover chicken soup and bacon and sausage in the ‘fridge, and one or the other of us will be eating it all. So how would it be any different to have some less-processed meat in there?

              But that’s a step I’m still not quite ready to take….



              1. The difference is that the processed stuff is:

                a). not looking at you,
                b). not still containing skin and hair, and
                c). not smelling like roadkill when you defrost it.


              2. I know, which is why I’ve not yet done it.

                a). is disturbing…but, then again, the first few times I gave subcutaneous fluids to a cat it was also quite disturbing.
                b). is also disturbing, but it’s a big part of the nutritional reasons for the exercise.
                c). I hadn’t thought of…but I’d hope it’d be no worse than other raw meat….

                But this is all suppository, as they say. For now, Baihu will have to content himself with the odd grasshopper and fence lizard for his “whole foods.”



        1. Fountains are good, but, if you’re to the point that you’re trying to ensure that the cat drinks enough water, I can’t recommend enough adding the requisite amount to the food. That way, there’s no question but that the cat will get it.

          If you’re adding a tablespoon to each of three or four daily meals and the cat still drinks water, make sure your vet knows about it, because the cat’s almost certainly diabetic and / or suffering from renal insufficiency.



      2. I switch up their wet food between morning and evening, so they don’t get too used to exactly the same thing all the time. But there’s 3 of them and it can be difficult to find something that they all will eat. I prefer they eat wet food.

        I supplement with a little dry, and they each have their faves. Once in a while I’ll get the the “what the hell is this crap?” stare, and I’ll switch to a bag of something else, which they will gobble up as though it’s the best food ever. Then a couple of weeks later they get tired of that, so I give them the original kind they liked and then they accuse me of having held out on them, ’cause this is clearly the best food ever…

        1. Nature’s Variety sells a half-dozen different species as raw food. There are two varieties that Baihu really likes, one he’ll eat after asking for something else, and a few that he’ll eat, but not two days in a row. So, every day I put one of each of the first three and just one of the last three into a plastic baggie and put it in the ’fridge to defrost. Seems to keep him on his toes and from outright rejecting any single one. And, if he does turn down something, then he doesn’t get a replacement, and he’s yet to turn down two meals in a row….



      3. Cats are obviously designed to eat raw food, and they won’t get fat on it either. Having said that mine eats kibble and really doesn’t think canned food is that great, though she will consent to eating tinned fish for humans.

        1. There’s a reason your cat loves kibble…it’s the McDonald’s of the feline food world: cheap, addictive, and not a healthy regular diet.

          The “addictive” part isn’t necessarily part of an evil conspiracy. The manufacturers want cats to enjoy the food, so they make it as tasty and enticing as they can. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for them, any more than cake and ice cream is good for kids.



  6. My thoughts, in the order they occurred to me:

    First, very well done.

    Second, it’s awfully sweet. As in sugar-coated sugar cube dipped in honey topped with powdered sugar sweet.

    Next, it’s damned white. I think there was a token black dude somewhere in the audience, but he may have just been Mediterranean.

    Last…well, it occurs to me that they’re appealing to a very small constituency…say, about 1% of the American population. Nobody else even has the option of living like that.

    But, still, very well done.



    1. Yeah, pretty saccharine.


      When my husband and I first got together, 32 years ago, we’d been seeing each other for two weeks when I told him, “If you ever force me to choose between you and the animals, you will lose.”

      He was a cat person before he met me, and even though he is not as crazy about the farm animals as I am, he’s always been supportive.

      Most important, IMO. L

      1. If I were dating a girl and she told me something like that, I’d be very, very worried.

        Not, mind you, worried that she’s some sort of psycho obsessed with her animals.

        Rather, worried that she knew so little about me that it would even occur to her that such a potential might even arise in the first place.

        One does not make those you care about choose between you and their passions. If that other person’s passions aren’t part of your affection in the first place, then you’re fooling yourself as to why you think you care about the other.



        1. I believe in cutting to the chase.

          When first getting together with someone who might have “potential” (groan), better to lay the non-negotiables out before one gets in over one’s head. L

    2. Next, it’s damned white. I think there was a token black dude somewhere in the audience, but he may have just been Mediterranean.

      Last…well, it occurs to me that they’re appealing to a very small constituency…say, about 1% of the American population. Nobody else even has the option of living like that.

      My thoughts, to a T!

      Plus, pitched to some stereotypical female audience?

      But the cat parts were sweet.

  7. I have to admit that I teared up when the kitten and its collar appeared.

    Likewise, which is surprising, because I found the characters incredibly annoying. If my girlfriend brought me home to that family, I’d be looking for the liquor cabinet.

  8. WHAT AM I RESPONDING TO? The strapping non-threatening resourceful guy, the cute easygoing girl, the extreme hominess, the kitten! An engagement. Uplifting music. All pure romantic cheesiness, yet these elements are recycled over and over, endlessly, in our pop culture. I’m intrigued by the way I respond so readily to marketing and manipulation, to propaganda, to smooth filmmaking.

    1. My first reaction to the commercial was to think that well, my cat might look like that if my life also looked like that. Or vice versa, maybe.

      It was also the first time I ever thought it made sense for someone to be feeding their cat from an expensive crystal goblet. Okay, they just moved. Everything is still in boxes. They couldn’t find the plastic bowl or the paper plates. Got it.

      I once had a cat who developed the habit of tipping the paper plate over his uneaten kibbles. Tired of cleaning up, I eventually replaced the flimsy paper with an old stoneware bowl. He refused to eat out of it. Same food — wrong container. It was different. Different bad.

      My daughter was so upset. We had to go back to paper plates. Her kitty was going to starve to death! I thought, the heck he would. I told her that there was no way there had ever been, or could ever be, a cat skeleton discovered draped in front of a perfectly fine bowl of perfectly good cat food — but the cat expired because the aesthetics were all wrong. He’d eat when he decided that enough of this nonsense was enough.

      Which was true.

  9. It is a really cute story, but my first reaction was to Bruce Boxleitner as the father. From the Scarecrow to Babylon 5… to a cute but sappy commercial for cat food. Ouch.

      1. No, no, they were hymenopterans, not hemipterans.

        Oh, wait…

        The two who were old enough to imbibe adult beverages–my new sister-in-law & I forget whom-else–were cool about it. Some minor–a new cousin-something-removed-inlaw?–was typically sad in the way little kids invariably are. Sigh.

        In retrospect, knowing what I know now and had I been able to direct the wasps…

      1. LOL!

        Sorry to disappoint, but there was no veil whatsoever. I wore basically a peasant dress, albeit a white one…

      2. PS: I’m getting whiplash from these rapidly changing Merlyn avatars. This current one is an especially striking pose!

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