You’ve most likely heard the dizzying stats of the obesity epidemic in America. A NY Times article published in 2010 stated that 34% of American adults and 17% of children were obese. These numbers don’t take into account a lost segment of the population – our four-legged children.
Cybil (a.k.a. Cybil the Psycho Cat) has been battling obesity for nearly two years now. She is nearly eleven years old and was a healthy weight cat, until she quit eating in protest of the 2 kittens (Sammy and Lizzy) that we brought into the house. It took about a week before I realized she hadn’t been taking over my pillow at night. It took several more days to convince my husband that something was wrong and we* needed to drag her out from under the bed.
* “We” means my husband. (No way I’d pull her out from under the bed without wearing a dog bite suit.)
When we extracted her, we found a skinny kitty with jaundiced ears. We took her to the vet the next day and were informed that she developed fatty liver disease. For three weeks, we force-fed her three times a day. Between what we wore and what we wiped off the bathroom walls, I’m not sure how much she actually ate, but we hoped it was enough.
After the three-week mark, she finally showed some interest in food. I encouraged her to eat. I obsessed over her food dish, carefully measuring and tracking on paper how much she ate each day. I cheered for her weight gains at follow-up vet appointments. She went from around eight pounds up to nine pounds a couple months later and the vet was confident she would be just fine, so the frequent checkups changed to once-a-year.
At last year’s visit, I was lectured about my chubby kitty’s 14-pound girth. I was given the third degree about the amount (3/4 cup a day) and type of food (which was described as “cheeseburgers for cats.”) I simply fed her what she would eat because I was scared she would stop eating again. I’ve changed food brands twice now, and she hasn’t stopped eating…far from it.
For the last four months, I’ve fed the cats a very expensive dry food. I’m not so sure that the cats don’t eat better than my kids. In fact, I don’t take my husband with me to the specialty pet food store because if he saw the price, he would schedule a psychiatric evaluation for me. Sadly, even with the golden cat food decreased to ½ cup a day, Cybil is still fat. Ooops, sorry; that wasn’t politically correct was it? She is still obese.
Her next vet visit will be in July, so I have less than five months to get her in better shape. She won’t react to a toy unless it’s in paw-swat distance, so I got the bright idea that she could benefit from the most basic form of exercise: walking. You know, get that ‘ol cardio going. I put a harness and leash on her, and then begged, cajoled and tugged, but she wasn’t having any of it.
Does anyone know if the grapefruit diet works for felines???