Choosing the wrong snack could end up a cat-astrophy

One afternoon last week I found myself craving a snack. I wasn't hungry enough to go to all the trouble of making a sandwich, I just wanted a little something to hold me over until dinner.

Then I remembered the spicy, crunchy, yummy snack mix that just happened to be in my kitchen pantry at that very moment. I bounded upstairs to get it.

Since I was rummaging in the pantry anyway, I decided my cat, Raven, deserved a snack, too. The poor girl had spent the entire morning by my side, listening to the relentless tap-tap-tap of my computer keyboard and the soundtrack from "Slumdog Millionaire."

At this point, I thought, nothing is too good for her.

I grabbed the small, plastic, zipper-lock bag of snack mix, then reached for the small, plastic, zipper-lock bag of cat treats on the shelf below. On the way back downstairs I gave the cat-treat bag a vigorous shake to get Raven's attention. Dutifully, she trotted after me.

I wasn't even back at my desk yet when my watering mouth got the better of my patience. The thought of all that crunchy delicious snack mix was making me crazy. So, still walking, I opened it and stuffed a handful into my mouth.

I munched for about two seconds before I noticed that the snack mix didn't taste the same as it had the day before. Could it have gone "bad" overnight? Had somebody sprayed it with roach killer? I shrugged and decided to give it another try; I crammed a second handful into my mouth and began chewing.

When that helping tasted odd as well, I thought: Uh-oh. Slowly my eyes tracked downward until I was staring at my hands. One was holding the snack mix; the other, the cat treats. Only one had been opened. and to my horror it was … the cat treats.

I'd eaten cat treats. And I was still chewing.

Running to the bathroom, I spat and clawed at the glob of chewed cat treats making themselves home in my mouth. Raven stared up at me quizzically, as if to say, "What's wrong with you? Those treats taste great!"

I cupped water in my hands and lifted it to my mouth, rinsing over and over. But no amount of rinsing helped; the stuff was buried in every nook and cranny in my teeth. I decided eating cat treats was probably fatal.

I bolted up two flights of stairs to the other bathroom, where I brushed my teeth and swished with a gallon of mouthwash. Then I burned the toothbrush … and buried the ashes … where they could never be found. A taste vaguely reminiscent of tuna, shrimp and salmon still clung to my tongue.

Finally giving Raven her treats, the smell wafting from the open bag — an aroma I'd never even noticed before — made me queasy. Worse, I couldn't stop thinking about, and reliving, the 30 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat and 4.5 percent crude fiber I'd so eagerly gobbled up only minutes before.

When Doug asked if I wanted to go out to dinner, adding, "I'm feeling like seafood," I clapped one hand over my mouth and cradled my stomach with the other.

"I'm never eating seafood again," I moaned in agony. "As a matter of fact, I'm seriously considering becoming a vegan."

I don't think Doug heard me. He was laughing way too hard.

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