I’m not even gonna try to call it a healthy lifestyle plan.
I took the cats (Anna and Clementine) to the vet for shots last week, which was an unpleasant ordeal to even contemplate, much less embark upon. Fooling them into the carriers; loading the carriers into the minivan; cajoling a kid to come along to help (an utter failure); it was exhausting. Then the cats yowled a duet in the car all the way to the vet’s office.
I had to make two trips from the car to the office because, yes, the cats are heavy. One (ahem, Anna) is a candidate for Biggest Loser: Feline Edition. The dogs in the waiting room kept the cats terrified and quiet.
Finally the vet tech, Mabel, helped me get the cats into the exam room. I opened the carrier doors, but the cats would not come out. We had to disassemble Anna’s carrier to get at her. Anna was examined and weighed: 13.5 pounds.
I knew Anna had a weight problem. We adopted her as an older kitten and she weighed 7 pounds. A year later, she was 9.5 pounds and kept going up. Also, I can hear her breathing as she sleeps across the room. I know this is unhealthy. It took me two years to figure out why she was gaining so much weight while Clementine (12 pounds) remained the same. Yeah, Anna was eating all the food in both food bowls. Now I have to supervise mealtimes and keep them separated, ‘cuz there’s no reasoning with cats.
Mabel and the vet made recommendations for helping the cats (ahem, Anna) lose weight. They also told me that an appropriate amount of food is the size of a mouse several times a day. I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask if a mouse-sized portion includes the tail, etc. So I’m now guesstimating portion size based on the mice in the Cinderella DVD commercial as I have no recent personal mouse experience. (Caution: don’t put a cat on a dramatically reduced diet as it can lead to thyroid and kidney problems, which are expensive and often fatal. Fad diets are bad for felines, too. If you’ve got a tubby tabby, talk to your vet. It’s a much bigger deal than I realized.)
Kid #3 has devised an exercise program utilizing the laser pointer and various fetch games.
The cats are milling about looking pitiful and meowing.
Best case scenario is that Anna will be an 11 pound cat by the next annual shot appointment. And maybe Clementine will, too, since she’s an unwilling passenger on this “journey.”
- What Are They Feeding You? 50% of U.S. Cats and Dogs Are Overweight (theatlantic.com)
- Fighting the fat cats in Spain (theolivepress.es)
- Kitty Bowling! (ireport.cnn.com)