I am a reluctant cat owner, I confess, in part because our cat is so … hissy. She’ll hiss at us when we let her outside, she’ll hiss at us when we let her inside, she’ll hiss at us when we stroke her back—in essence, she hisses almost every time we try to do something nice for her. And then, moments later, we’ll see her outside acting sweet, innocent, and neglected as she accepts affection from our doting neighbors.

So when it came to testing the cat food for this month’s nutrition column, “Feed Me-ow!”, I was a bit hesitant. Did I want to bring more hissing into my life by being nice in this way to my cat? But I didn’t need to worry; pleasing any cat with new food is a challenging task.

The first round of carefully prepared, homemade cat food yielded a resounding paws-down from all of our testers’ cats. No additional hissing in our household that week. Instead, we cat owners scurried about, trying to figure out what we’d done wrong. The second round of testing, with modified recipes and improved technique for presenting the food, yielded the same results. Again, no new hissing in my house—but what were we doing wrong? Our experienced food editor and talented recipe developers set to work analyzing the ingredients, and on the third try produced the final product you see in these pages, a mélange so delectable even the most finicky cat had to succumb. When I saw our cat gobble the Cat’s Meow Chicken Mix from her bowl, then make a beeline for the Cat Nip snack my daughter had placed on the floor nearby, I realized we’d once again done something nice for her. We steeled ourselves for a first-class hissy fit from Bigfoot, my drama cat with six toes per paw. And then came the surprise. The hissing didn’t happen. Instead, she forgot about showing attitude and was a goofy little kitten once again, playfully pouncing and cavorting. It lasted for just a moment, but still, this rare display of appreciation was worth all of our efforts. If you want to make your cat happy, I fully recommended these treats.

Jean Weiss