Two weeks ago, I noticed my cat, Boris, had a terrible limp. I figured he had gotten his paw stepped on and he would heal soon. Days later, Boris was still limping. Concerned, I took him to see the veterinarian. Much to my dismay, Boris was suffering from a broken hipbone and required a $1,300 operation to fix! Without hesitation (against my mother's advice), I scheduled an appointment for the surgery the following week. My boyfriend and I split the cost, and we fashioned a personal recovery den for Boris in a large closet in our house.
Boris spent much of the next days lying in his cat bed with a lampshade on his head, strung out on kitty narcotics. I noticed something strange. Every time I went to check on him, his food bowl was under the rug in his den. I moved it across the closet and it still ended up under the rug! Replicable, indeed! I decided to do a bit of naturalistic observation. What I discovered was that our other cat, Magellan, was sneaking into the closet and "hiding" the food underneath the rug. When I moved the rug and put the bowl atop a large blanket, she wrapped it up like a taco. I was surprised by this, and a bit disappointed in Magellan. It was obvious to me that she had found poor recovering Boris a threat to her food resources (although she had a bowl downstairs all to herself). Her behavior was very strange. Although this behavior does not truly apply to "preparedness", as it does not involve fear or phobias, Magellan was partaking in a behavior that would increase her chance of survival in her environment. She was not starving; hiding the cat food was a natural urge that could very well have increased the fitness of many of her cat ancestors. Perhaps sick Boris getting the majority of our attention and resources was a stimulus that triggered this bizarre behavior.
What do you think? Was Magellan aware of what she was doing? Was she indeed trying to prevent Boris from consuming the food? Why would she do this when she has never been malnourished or starved?
This is an image of the procedure Boris had called an FHO.