He is a spectacular — if opinionated — cat, brimming with charm, intelligence, and affection. He's been a comfort to us as we mourn Snalbert and Snicky. It's hard to feel sad when there's a gigantic, purring body sprawled across you. He's also extremely decorative, as you can see:
Typical Possum pose, displaying prominent paunch
Exactly a year ago, I wrote here that Possum and Wendy had been to the vet for their annual check-up, where she declared Possy overweight and said Wendy needed to lose a pound, too (a pound can be a big deal for a cat to lose). The vet was sympathetic, noting that it's hard to slim down a cat when there are skinny senior cats around, getting bowls of rich food to keep their weight up and leaving leftovers for the others. She said we'd probably have to wait until we were a two-cat household to put the youngsters on a diet.
We haven't had a free-feeding senior cat since May, I think*, because Snalbert was syringe-fed for the last months of his life. And I'm appalled to say that my efforts to slim down Possum have failed. He's just as heavy as he was and is perhaps a bit fatter.
Last winter, the vet and I worked out the number of calories that Wendy and Possum were supposed to have daily, and the corresponding amounts of their wet and dry foods. This was a math project: most cat food brands list ingredients and nutritional information but don't provide the number of calories per cup. But we got the information and fed the cats strictly according to our new plan. I even switched to a lower-calorie food for their breakfast. But while Wendy does seem thinner, Possum remains convex.
It should also have helped that we very seldom give the cats treats, which are usually 2-calorie Greenies. We occasionally offer a few pieces of chicken or turkey breast, but the cats don't always bite. Neither one is attracted to people food. Neither has any aptitude for the Cheese Patrol, a once-thriving enterprise around here that has been suspended for lack of recruits. Wendy thinks everything but cat food is Poison, and she's even backing away from chicken these days — the food that saved her when she was a skinny, picky kitten.
The cats will have their annual check-ups in a couple of weeks, and I hope the vet will help us figure out a plan that will work this time. I really want them both to reach a healthy weight to prevent illnesses down the road. As always, I'll talk to the vet about frozen raw diets, and the vet will talk me out of it. I've read glowing testimonials to raw diets, how they improve health, weight, fur quality, and behavior. My vet sees none of those results; she sees sick cats who aren't getting complete nutrition. Perhaps a raw diet is too good to be true. But I continue think it makes sense to feed cats plenty of pure protein, carefully supplemented with the vitamins and nutrients cats need. I think it might help Possum, who seems to have a tricky metabolism.
I'll keep you posted; maybe we can transition to a raw diet for a month or so, and see how it goes. Maybe I should try it myself....
* I can only guess because my iPhone recently deleted all of my calendar entries between May and mid-September, which annoyed the heck out of me. Since I can never remember anything, I really counted on it to preserve all kinds of important info. It's been a pain to reconstruct even some of it, and I live in dread that it will happen again.