July 20, 2005
Serious Cleanup in Aisle 9
Bug is on a diet. I compared his body to the drawings of acceptable and “yo mama is so fat” feline bodies in Cats for Dummies and Bug is decidedly the latter. So I’ve cut back his food in attempt to trim him down.

This is causing him to a) wake me up twice nightly in the hopes that I will feed him something, anything, and b) chew on my hands and hair in an attempt to grab a morsel I may have left behind. He is grumpy as all get up, and he is practically snorting his kibble the minute I put it down.

Bug’s behavior is understandable. He pimped on the harsh streets of Leon County, Florida for many years and only became a house cat one year ago. I now surmise that this has contributed to his figure problem (that and the all-day feeder I used to use). A past of little now causes him to knock over the coffee table candlestick and my water on his way to his bowl. To lick and crunch and lick and crunch and ultimately leave nothing but the plate in his dust.

I’ve seen this behavior before. My maternal grandfather lived through the Depression and his family lost everything. Although we didn’t notice the tendencies as much while he was alive – although in retrospect he did spend 6 of 7 days hunting sale items at WalMart – they became evident after he had passed away. While cleaning out his house, we found unbelievable stashes of goods. Two Dustbusters still in the box. Three Clubs (the car safety kind, not the triple-decker sandwich). Radios. Expired Tylenol. Unlimited quantities of canned corn, tissues, paper towels and soap (do they even make Lifebuoy soap anymore?) If it was on sale, he bought it and put it someplace for safe keeping.

Bug’s incredible consumption must serve the same survival purpose; his behavior is based on trying to protect him as in the past he may have gone without. It makes me sad to think that either my grandfather or my kid lived thinking that there might not be enough to eat the next time they were hungry. I picture my grandfather watching over us from the Tar-get in heaven, waiting for Bug and holding up a clearance-priced bag of Meow Mix.

Bug will stay with me for now, and will continue to Hoover his food until we wean him off of his dependency a la Leo in Basketball Diaries. I just thank my lucky stars that Bug has restricted this behavior to little bits of kibble, as I presently have no room for any more soap.



Anonymous Jorge said...

Hey Kris,

Sometimes this behaviour just never goes away. We have 2 cats. One eats like food is going out of style, while the other is more conservative. She eats what we put in front of her.
No matter how much food we put in front of him, he'll eat it with the same amount of fervor.
I'd suggest letting him starve for a day.
It sounds cruel, but honestly, this is how they feed tigers at most zoos. 6 days of food, and one day of fasting.
He might learn that he'll get food if he stops being a pest.


Blogger Jodi said...

My sister-in-law has a cat, who she feeds anything and everything. She's like a regular person at the dinner table whenever we're over there.

Too bad there isn't like a Jenny Craig for felines.

Blogger Wozzy Bear said...

Good Story!

We have three cats at my house, and they're all fat. Naturally, we've tried it all - Placing them on diets, specialized diet cat foods, self-feeders, fasting, etc.

However, none of this seemed to work, as it only strengthened their resolve to beg, annoy, meow, and cry for food. So after a while we just said screw it. If they want to be fat slobs, then let them be fat slobs.

It's probably not the most responsible approach, but at least I don't have to listen the picky bastards complain as much anymore.

Blogger Kris said...

Wozzy, this is so freeing!

Sometimes I do want to let him be who he needs to be, a la Sloth from Brad Pitt's Seven . . . I mostly think that at 4 am when he is trying to eat my face.

But that movie didn't have such a great outcome. Maybe I shouldn't let him gorge himself . . .

Anonymous Jorge said...

I didn't know you were doing Gwenneth Paltrow!

Blogger lizzyjane said...

Let us not forget the hideous collection of magnets:

Blogger deanne said...

Just get another cat! That way Bug'll have to compete for his food! Now THAT'S entertaining!

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Deanne's right, but your experience is so close to mine and The Most Spoiled Cat In the Universe's!

I wouldn't DARE cut back on her food.

Man she'd KILL me!

Blogger Tao said...

I agree with Wozzy's reasoning. I have 5 cats and 2 of them are..shall we say, big boned. While it does concern me, I would like to believe that they're similar to people in which some people are simply more prone to being overweight than others. Even if I cut back on their food (and I would have to run for my life if I did), I think they would still be just as hefty. So I give them diet cat food and make sure they get exercise chasing after the pretty laser pointer, and that's the best I can do. Their happiness is of utmost importance to me, and they would be miserable if I cut back their food. They wouldn't understand I was doing it for their own good.
Besides, Kris, if you really want to feel freed, remember that they have such short life spans, and you want to make their lives as happy as you can for as long as they're here!!!

Anonymous Vermont Neighbor said...

Cats and mealtime, a mother's biggest dilemma! My XXL calico is down from 21 to 17 lbs. and only because the vet said she was a ticking time bomb. Boy, was that work.

Now she's put on a few ounces again, and I don't even know how to get her down to the ideal weight (a svelte, Kate Moss-like 12 pounds). I too hate starving her. I end up giving her 8-10 pieces of diet food at a time, between meals, all day.

The laser pen is a good idea. And maybe some of those batting toys you hang in the door. Good luck, Kris!! Let Bug guide you with his fine style and wise ways >,,<

My grandpa was a hoarder, too. We cut back on his food. He learned his lesson.

Blogger Mel said...

Kris, seriously just do what makes the little critter happy. Don't cut down on food, just feed diet food (mine eat Iams weight control) and try to get them some exercise. After we moved into our town house, our terrors dropped weight quickly just because there was so much more room to run and play. Getting another cat might help, but I think that Bug will continue to bug you for food regardless of what you do. That's just they way they are. Just make sure he's happy, cause that is what matters.

BTW, did you hear about how that AWFUL lady in fairfax co. had another town house full of cats? Total cat count: well over 400. I read in the paper that she signed a court order to NEVER own another animal again... let's hope this is true.

Blogger Sub Girl said...

i agree with most of the comments here. just give him diet food. dont starve him. it's cruel. or feed him smaller portions. he's just a cat!

Blogger Mel said...

You are posted on dcblogs.com today!

You're such a superstar!

Anonymous Jorge said...

I would argue with sub-girl. Everyone needs a fast now and then. It's a great warm-booting of the system.
Feral cats don't always get to eat, and some of them are healthier than house cats.

Blogger Kiki said...

Yeah, maybe give him the same portions in more diet-type foods.
You know how hard it is for a cat to be pimpin' those mean streets--he's gotta make up for some lost time now.

Yet another point as to how cat's are evil---

If they don't have food they are not afraid to eat your face off while you sleep.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you think you have it bad. yesterday i had to pull a blade of grass from my dog's butt!

Anonymous Vermont Neighbor said...

Check please! I think we have a winner >>>>>

you think you have it bad. yesterday i had to pull a blade of grass from my dog's butt! - Anonymous

Blogger Kris said...

You are all too funny. Thanks for the thoughts! Rest assured, whatever I pursue with my little hairball, he will be well taken care of. He is the joy of my life!

And I will be getting another cat in a month or so, so at least you can find comfort in the fact that my annoying single-woman-with-cat postings shall continue . . .

Anonymous Jorge said...

Oh yeah?

I remember once one of our cats had a bladder infection. We had to give him thes epills that unfortuantely made his stool soft, and, well, much more affected by gravity.
He (Logan) was walking down the hallway once, and she (Laila) jumped out from behind the door.
Poor Logan jumped, ass first, and sprayed crap all over the wall.
When my wife asked me what happened, I said...

"Laila just scared the shit out of Logan."

Blogger Slade said...

I have a fatty cat too...finally had to cut way back on her food...I give it to her right before we go to bed...that way she is not waking us up in the middle of the night to feed her.

Blogger Tao said...

How exciting you're getting another cat!! A kitten or an adult cat? I know, you're trying to catch up to me and my 5 cats, right?

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