If you are a parent or have had the opportunity of babysitting children, sometimes you are puzzled by their cries. You think they need a diaper change, but upon checking they are dry, so you reach for the bottle, but they do not want it. In the end, you try lulling them to sleep as you count down the days to when they can effectively communicate what they want. Therefore when you hear of a smart cat that plays the piano to tell his owner he is hungry, you might wonder if you can teach your baby the same. Before you get carried away by such wishful thinking, check out the story of Winston and how playing the piano gets him what he wants.
Music helps him get attention
Kate Nyx had not planned on getting a cat, but when one, an eight-week-old kitten, was found in her cousin’s backyard, she decided to become a cat mom. Kate did not mind the many ringworms or how scarred the cat was since he had been fighting with a dog. The severe fungal infection led to a milestone in Kate’s life because she got engaged. When she and her boyfriend took the kitten in, after a while, Kate realized that they had contracted ringworms. She asked her boyfriend if he ever thought he would be in such a scenario with anyone else. Since the boyfriend did not picture treating ringworms with anyone else, he proposed.
They named him Winston, and from the beginning, he was such a noisy cat that Kate, a musician, thought it wise to get him an alternative way to communicate. Since she had purchased a tiny piano on eBay, she allowed the cat to play on it. Winston had always been interested in the instrument, and his curiosity led to him seeking the source of the sound whenever he heard the notes. Therefore playing the piano became a hunting reward, but Winston mostly uses it when he wants something, especially a snack. However, even when he needs his litter box cleaned, he knows a note from the instrument will get his human’s attention.
His artistic talent has resulted in his debut single “Bean Gotta Scream” which mostly speaks about his preference for food. The lyrics say that he needs more dry and wet food like spinach, but he also would not mind some petting. The single, bearing a picture of Winston in a collar with spikes, was released on August 7, 2020. Of course, Kate is the songwriter and lead vocalist, but you can hear the screams by Winston in the song that lasts for a minute and seventeen seconds.
Tips to avoid overfeeding your cat
Looking at Winston, you can tell that he is obese and maybe he has his piano playing skills to blame for enticing Kate to keep feeding him. However, we do not have to pay attention to every “meow” that is begging for food. As the masters of our pets, it is up to us to keep the feline’s weight in check to also ensure their health is not compromised. As per the BFI Risk chart on PetMD, Winston’s body carries between 60-65% body fat since you can barely see his hind legs. That being said, there are few tips you can use to ensure that you do not overfeed your cat, one of which is measuring the food you want your cat to feed on during the day, in the morning.
Since Winston is fed on both dry and wet foods, his feeding containers should be two. Those that are fed on dry foods only should have only a single bowl, and once the amount is finished, do not be tempted to add. It has been shown that cats that feed whenever they please are likely to be overweight than those whose feeding habits are prohibited to three meals a day at most. Still, when measuring the food, you should not heap the cup; make it level to avoid giving your cat more food than is required.
It is highly recommended to avoid giving treats to your cat whenever it meows for food. The more you throw a treat with every meow, the more you are teaching him that it is okay to beg for food. It may get to the point that your cat will be waking you up early in the morning so you can help satisfy his urge. Most likely, from the way Kate talks about Winston’s noises, she may have trained him to be begging for food by giving him a treat to keep quiet. Now that he has the option of an instrument, the behavior has continued hence his obvious weight problem. The best way to curb this problem is to get Winston a timed feeder such that he does not have to play the piano for food. That way, he will soon learn to wait for the feeder to give him food instead of begging from his human.
How do you tell when your cat is hungry?
You do not have to buy your cat a piano to tell you when he is hungry. Winston already was indicating when he needed to be fed by the constant noises he was making, according to Pet Coach, vocalization is an effective way for a cat to inform you that his tummy is empty. Just like children whose cries differ depending on what they need, even cats’ cries are different; a hungry cry is usually high pitched and the more you ignore him, the more persistent he will become.
If you do not listen to his cry, then your cat will try a more direct approach; at least one he believes you can make sense of when you see it. Therefore, he will come to you and like a hungry vulture, start circling your feet hoping you get the message. If you do not give him some food, then he will go to his bowl hoping that you follow and do the necessary. Still, once his human insists on ignoring his need to be fed, a cat will start playing with the bowl, pushing it around and banging if they are getting impatient.