Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:02 PM

Weight Watchers for Cats

That’s you, by the way. Since many cats can’t moderate their intake and keep their weight in a normal range, the responsibility now falls to you, their human being. Now that you’ve made the decision to slim your corpulent kitty, here’s a way to do it as painlessly (for you, I mean) as possible.

First, do not leave dry food around anymore. And I don’t mean just in the dish—don’t leave the bag where they can get to it, either. Cats have been known to chew through the cat food bag in a delirium of hunger whilst being weaned off of cat chow (this happened to us). If you have been feeding free choice, you must now measure out a portion into the bowl, say, 1/2 cup to start and offer this amount only to your cat. It will look pitifully small inside this bowl that is usually full. Believe me, though, it is enough! When he finishes this, pick up the bowl and don’t offer any more until dinnertime no matter how much he complains. Then, head off to work and grab a donut and latte on your way, so at least one of you won’t be hungry. Each day, reduce the portion by a tablespoon until he is off the dry food completely.

If you have not been feeding canned cat food, this is the time to start. I suggest buying one of the premium brands like Newman’s Own or Iams. Don’t get the “sliced meat and gravy entrée” things that were involved in the melamine scandal, though! They are typically pretty gross, anyway. Offer a little of this after the dry food; he will probably refuse it. If he won’t eat it, don’t leave it out for him; pick it up and refrigerate (or discard). Eventually, he will learn that this is all he’s going to get. This changeover may take a week or two (depending on your stamina) so be prepared to put up with some pretty embarrassing cat behavior as he tries to force you into seeing things his way. Give lots of extra attention and, believe it or not, he’ll adjust.

Slice of Life: We live out in the boonies where there’s no cable TV, so we watch a lot of movies on DVD. Recently we saw Let the Right One In, a Swedish import by Tomas Alfredson. If you like quirky films about the undead, this is for you. The horror kind of creeps up on you; it also had much more plot than vampire films usually do. Not for kids; they wouldn’t understand it, anyway.
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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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