In case you were too busy watching the Grammy's and missed it, TLC's My Strange Addiction returned last night, with the story of a woman who is addicted to eating cat food.
Mary, 48, calls the experience of crunching on a cat treat, "A burst of flavor in your mouth." Her strange addiction began five years ago after a painful divorce left her spending all her time at home with her three cats (thanks for helping to dispel the crazy cat lady myth there, Mary). She became instantly hooked, to the point where she began consuming a staggering 900 treats A DAY, and an estimated one million since her addiction began.
The cat food connoisseur keeps the treats in her car, in her purse, and by her bed, and some days replaces human food with cat food altogether. Although she is unemployed, she spends $200 a month on kitty food for herself, and her craving recently escalated to enjoying wet food, too. She contends that the gag-worthy liquid at the bottom of the bag reminds her of chicken soup "just like Grandma used to make," (whose Grandma??), and figures that the food is healthy because it has vitamins in it (saying she has a 17-year-old cat to prove it).
Mary's brother and close friend understandably become concerned about the effect her diet is having on her health. They urge her to see a doctor, who warns her that the ingredients in cat food are made of byproducts, carcinogens, and antibiotics that could eventually kill her. After a brief physical examination, the doctor concludes that she is probably anemic, and says her elevated blood pressure could indicate the onset of kidney problems. As treatment, she is advised to return to a normal diet, and start visiting a therapist to get to the root of her problem.
At the therapist, Mary admits that much like an alcoholic, hiding her addiction has left her feeling even more lonely and isolated. She agrees to enter a 12-step program, and an optimistic update at the end of the episode indicates that she has stopped eating cat food, and now seeks out her "crunch" from healthy foods, like vegetables.
Not to make light of the situation - but who is thinking about Mary's poor kitties, here?? My cats gets mad enough when I won't share my own food with them, so I can't imagine how they would feel if I started hoarding their treats for myself.
My Strange Addiction airs Sunday nights at 10/9 c on TLC. You can watch more clips from Mary's episode, which also includes a woman who is addicted to smelling moth balls, here.