On Fat Cats

by F.

One of my cats was starting to look like a manatee, so I thought it wise to put her on a diet. The first step was getting her some diet food. I walked up to the local pet store, told my tale to the salesperson, and returned with three or four different diet foods. After some experimentation, Meeka (that’s my manatee cat) decided she liked some food from Wellness.

I followed the feeding guidelines on the package, which suggested about 1 cup a day for an 11 pound cat. For variety, I also substituted from time to time another high-end, all natural, high-protein, low-ash dry food, the nutritional value of which is probably better than the meals that a majority of human beings around the world consume daily. Everything was fine. She liked the Wellness food best, but tolerated the other one (herring and yam, if you can believe it), especially if I gave it to her at breakfast.

Things proceeded like this for three weeks or so. But she didn’t seem to be getting any thinner. In fact, she looked ever bigger than before. So I put her on the scale. 13 bounds. In three, maybe four weeks (I didn’t keep accurate records) he’d gained almost 20% of body weight. The diet food didn’t exactly seem to be helping.

For the last few days, I’ve cut her diet down to 1/2 a cup of the Wellness food. I feed her differently, too. In the morning, I measure out 1/2 cup of food and put it in the cupboard. Then throughout the day, I give her a small portion of the 1/2 cup—what I consider a “mouse sized portion,” since I read somewhere that felis silvestris catus tends to feel sated after having, basically, a mouse-sized snack.

The surprise is that she doesn’t mind. We go through the same feeding routine, but more frequently. She used to ask for food at 7:00 AM, around 10:30 AM, then at around 3:00 PM. Now she asks for at those times, plus around 7:00 PM and then at 9:00 PM.

I’m hopeful she’ll slim down or at least not get any bigger. I pointed out to her, gently, that the neighbor cat (Amber) was once hugely fat and has now slimmed down. (Interestingly, so did the neighbor at about the same time.) Amber, a marmalade-colored female, once looked like a bean-bag chair. If Amber can make it back from pudginess to pulchritude, then, I figure, so can my little manatee.