At 16-17lb, Ace has reached official Fat Cat status. After taking antibiotics and being stuck inside for a week in order to treat a sinus infection, the weight seemed to just appear. The vet does believe him to be a “bigged-boned cat,” but that seems to mean he should be 11lb. Currently, he is almost as wide as he is tall and we feel quite guilty having gotten all this weight on him accidentally.
Longer days trekking outside and dieting have been prescribed in an effort to burn the extra weight off our fat cat. On this diet plan, we have noticed Otto seems to be thinning out so that he no longer waddles and Ace still struggles to clear a sofa hardly off the ground. We reduced his food intake and increased his outside time, once again.
He yelled at us all night for more food and sat on the back deck all day. He peered into the window most of the day as if to ensure I noticed that he would not explore, chase, or engage in outdoor activities.
The weight increased.
We studied Ace’s behaviours. He was waiting until we went to bed before bullying Otto out of his meals at night. The day might have meant less food, but at night there was a feast!
The time outside increased and late night meals were reduced dramatically.
The weight has become stagnant.
We hope this will lead him to the path of weight loss. (When you consider his bones are holding over 1.30% of what they were meant to, not to mention all the other health-related issues caused by obesity, you really must cheer for us that fat cat does begin to lose a bit of that plumpness.)
This Battle of the Fat has continued to educate us: You cannot unwillingly put a cat on a diet and be successful.
Writing this has been a fun escape from party planning, house organising, and mourning the loss of a book before its prime.
From the desk of King Otto:
I have taken to enjoy the view from the High Place. It is accessible only if you climb the giant scratching post near the room with no high walls. Once you reach the top of the scratching post, you can jump on to the shiny ground. It makes a lot of noise when you walk, even if you walk as lithe as possible. From the loud, shiny ground the dark and expansive High Place is just a small bounce away. The High Place can get too hot when the fire in the sky is bright, but on a grey day like today, it is the best place to view the realm below.
From this vantage point, the feathered snacks do not notice me and are easier to observe and catch. But today, I am not hunting. As I view everything the light touches, I feel the heavy weight of responsibility to keep my family and servants safe from harm. I prowl across the edge of the High Place and see a giant animal, black and white spotted, which seems only to threaten my borders. I decide it is not worth the effort and return to looking at more immediate threats. Something moves in the bushes on the edge of my country.
Quickly, I drop down: Loud Place, Scratching Post, ground, and a dead sprint to the bushes. I pounce on the threat before it knows to be worried. My prey had no chance when I saw him from so far away. I flick my tail and strut.
My brother, however, is not so pleased that I have attacked him while he stalked a feathered snack.
Ace is a cat of habit. He doesn’t subscribe to the philosophy that new experiences and new organisational methods spice up life and give you energy. He sees that energy as stress. He has watched us pack the rental with wary eyes, refusing to allow you to leave his sight and rubbing on every packed box and furniture pile.
Last night, we moved the bed, the kitchen, and some clothing into our new home. We brought the boys (cats) over first, so they might have a few hours to get acquainted, find some safe spots, and settle before bringing the girls (dogs) over. To ensure they had the most pleasant introduction to the house we could offer, we fed them as soon as we got them into the house. Currently, we have a bed and two night stands. Which is to say, we have no furniture at the house (the cats eat on a raised platform because the dogs some times snack). To keep the cat food safe, we fed them on the piano bench of the vertical piano left by the previous home owners.
There is no furniture downstairs in our house other than the piano with their food on it.
At eleven o’clock, after six hours of manual labour that consisted of unpacking boxes I packed only a few hours before, I am grateful that I get to fall into bed under OUR roof. (We are the home owners now! Poor Donatello, we are just moving in and I am already talking about the projects I want to complete.) At eleven thirty, meowing begins. Ace has found the acoustical Sweetspot (that was Donatello’s brother’s childhood Shetland Sheepdog’s name) and is yelling at us.
Ace typically meows to get Otto’s attention for wrestling or to let us know the sun is up and he should be allowed outside. That is the complete range of typical Ace meowing.
Meowing as loud as he can in the centre of our house continuously was slowly driving us mad, why was he doing this?!
We tried showing him a safe spot in the room with us, following him to see where he was leading, and waiting until he tired himself out. As I roll over to put a pillow over my head to muffle the wailing cat, I realise he did this earlier in the day. “Did you show him where his food is?”
Donatello dismissing the thought. “I think he is just excited and in a new place, but I will show him where his food is, again.”
Silence follows. Such sweet silence, I drifted to sleep for a bit. The cats and dogs did not allow for us to reach any state one might call rested. The second night has to be better, yes?
When you are sick, I sit in the same room to watch over you. When you sit quietly and read, puzzle, colour, or cross-stitch, I like to lounge nearby and spend quality time with you. When you are outside, I like to be out of sight but not out of scent and hearing range of you.
Hanging out from a distance.
Being nearby, but not too near.
But, Mum and Dad, I am not Otto and I am not a dog. I do not like to be picked up, cuddled, held. These displays of affection for you are very stressful for me. I cannot read your mind and do not know what you intend to do when you pick me up. I trust you to always have the best intentions, but how would you feel if someone ten times your size picked you up when you were sleeping, walking to to door, or in mid-jump? I am sure it would scare the life out of you too.
If you must pick me up, please, place me on your shoulders. This allows you to hold me, while allowing me the freedom to abort the ride whenever I feel like it and the ability to see everything around us. I don’t feel as trapped. One could say I enjoy these rides.
I like my brother, but I do wish you would put a little more time into playing with me. I miss the one-on-one shoestring games with you and playing tag. I might seem aloof at times, but I do enjoy playing with you. Please carve out time between work, reading, cooking, cleaning, and puppy training to play with me. Life is busy, but it also short.
And Daddy, I like to explore – sometimes very far. I know that makes you worry about me, but I am a strong and clever kitty. I will come home, just give me time. I sometimes go too far from home before the sun sets and I feel safer in a tree than trying to make it home at night. I will do my best to be home for supper, every night; but when I miss curfew don’t worry too much, I am a tough cookie.
Mummy, I know you like to put the laundry up and have it free of cat hair. But, I love your cleaned laundry. Can we come to a compromise on this? Maybe you could leave out a cleaned shirt or two each week for me to nest on? It is reassuring to me to have something of yours to lay on when you are at work and I am left without you. I know I seem tough and aloof, but I need reminders that I am safe.
I don’t show it like the dogs and I am not as out-going as Otto, but I do love you, Mum and Dad.
Maggie loves to play soccer. She enjoys many of the adventures our furry family takes from hiking to taking a trip down town and getting bone marrow to going to petco for cat litter and somehow, despite being certain that this time the girls have enough toys, a new bone or two. But, she adores a good game of soccer/football.
Below is the face Maggie has when she gets to the soccer/football field.