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In 1987, Suzanna Goodin of Hydro, Oklahoma, decided that she needed an easier way to feed her two cats, Cinnamon and Ginger. They enjoyed canned wet cat food, but Suzanna did not like the mess of feeding them, especially the messy, smelly spoon that has to be washed off after the feeding. Suzanna decided that something needed to be done, and that her cats would be better served with an edible pet food spoon. The surprising part? Suzanna was only six years old at the time!
After realizing why she disliked feeding her cats, Suzanna heard her teacher announce the Weekly Reader Invention Contest. The teacher suggested that each student think about a problem that needed solving. Suzanna's twin brother Sam announced that he was entering the contest, so Suzanna decided to enter as well. She had her problem; messy cat food spoons, and set out to design a solution; an edible pet food spoon - so the cats could eat the spoon and do away with the leftover mess.
The edible pet food spoon was fairly difficult to design, especially for a first-grader. The cats had to be able to chew the spoon, but it also needed to be strong enough to scoop the pet food from the can without breaking. It needed to be made of ingredients that would not be harmful to the cats, and that they would eat. The edible pet food spoon had to be of the correct size and shape to scoop food out of the can.
A dog biscuit recipe was procured, and Suzanna and her grandmother formed the biscuit dough into spoon shapes. They experimented with flavors, adding charcoal to help freshen breath, brewer's yeast for vitamins, or garlic to various batches. The cats favored the garlic spoons, so the flavor was chosen.
Her family thought about going into business marketing and selling the edible pet food spoon, but they opted not to. Each edible pet food spoon had to be carefully shaped by hand, and was extremely time-consuming. However, she did win the Grand Prize of the Weekly Reader Invention Contest, and has paved the way for someone to perhaps improve upon her edible pet food spoon design one day.
I wish these edible pet food spoons were actually available. I dread giving my cats wet food because I have to sacrifice a few metal spoons along the way. I don't like washing them by hand, because the smell and texture of the wet food bothers me. If I could just spoon the food out of the can and leave the edible spoon behind, I would buy a dozen of them.
I suppose the same effect could be achieved by using an actual doggie biscuit to scrape the food into a bowl. It wouldn't be a perfect solution, but at least I wouldn't be dirtying up my own silverware.