Casey on the scales at the vetsSince our dreadful diagnosis at the vets’ a month or so ago, life has been progressing – diet wise – in fits and starts.  Casey and Gibbs both eat wet food pouches, so I began by trying to reduce how much I put in Casey’s food bowl at each serving.  As we were going away for a few days the week following our trip to the vet, I decided to wait until we came back before implementing the diet laid out by the vet nurse.  It made no sense to me to begin the new regime with the replacement diet food, only for it to be put on hold while my neighbour fed the cats while we were away, and then resume when we got back.

It turned out that my neighbour, inadvertently, began the process for me.  As she could only get over to feed the cats twice a day, they went without ‘lunch’ and ‘tea’ (usually served around 1pm and 5pm respectively).  When I got home mid-afternoon on the Friday, they hurried down the stairs and cried pitifully.  I caved in.

I gave it a couple of days, and then I opened the 156-gram tin of Hill’s Prescription Food R/D, (Reduction Diet), measured it into quarters, and, mixing a little bit of the new food with Casey’s usual Felix but in a reduced amount, I stood back to see his reaction.  He didn’t stop for breath.  Result!  He liked it.

Gibbs started meowing because he wasn’t getting the same as his ‘brother’ but didn’t worry too long about that injustice as he tucked into his own breakfast of his favourite Felix flavour.

Casey is having less food each day.  It’s hard to measure out 1 ¾ cans and divide that between four meals, and to be absolutely honest, it has been very hard, almost impossible, to implement. I also play with him a couple of times a day with a fishing rod type toy which he is supposed to jump up and move around to as I jiggle it around.  He obliges me for a few seconds, before he carries the end of the dangly bit in his mouth, with me attached to the rod at the other end, and he leads me into the kitchen.  He stops at his empty food bowl, drops the dangly thing and looks pointedly at me.  No attempt on my part to resume our play is followed up.  He sits there.  I have two choices: I can give him more food, or I walk away.  I walk away. 

It is so hard to do but it is for his own good.  Fat pets are not happy pets.  Fat pets will not live as long as their slimmer brothers and sisters.  Fat pets will get horrible diseases and their lives will be shortened.  To know that I might have hastened Casey’s death is not something I want to have on my conscious so as difficult as it might be, I must be firm.

This isn’t made any easier when I get up first thing in the morning.  I have glass panelled doors downstairs and I can see through the dining room door to the kitchen.  Gibbs is usually waiting by the dining room door, ready to rush out and give me morning cuddles.  Casey?  He’s stretched out on the floor next to his empty food bowl, looking as if he’s not long for this world.  Such a drama queen!   

Casey and Gibbs daily allowance in their own little containersSince I wrote that first part of this article, Casey is now on Royal Canin Obesity Management which is a dry food.  I measure out 53 grams every morning and put the pitiful amount in his own little container with his name on.  So that Gibbs isn’t left out as he is slightly ‘overly fluffy’ too, I got him his own personal weight reduction dry food: Royal Canin Care Light Weight.  He is allowed 57 grams – an equally pitiful amount – and he, too, has his own little container with his name on.

They both like the kibble, which is a bonus.  The amount for each cat is really tiny and I know they’re hungry long before the next meal arrives.  That got me thinking.  I remember as a child being given a plate of food and told to eat it all up.  Don’t we continue that way of thinking now with our own families – including our pets.  Times were hard in my family and potatoes made up more than probably 2/3 of the entire plateful of food – vastly different to how things are now.  I’ve always given my cats ‘a little bit extra’ just in case they get hungry while I’m not around.  And although cats don’t usually scoff a plateful of food in one gulp like dogs tend to do, perhaps they are no longer capable of ‘switching’ off when they’re full.          

In walking with Casey on his weight loss journey, I realised that his experience might help me with my own weight loss journey.  I started this piece by saying ‘I began by trying to reduce how much I put in Casey’s food bowl at each serving.’  Yoda’s words flooded my thoughts: ‘There is no try, only do.’

So no more ‘trying’, only ‘doing’, and that goes for me too!   


Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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