Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cat Stories: Possum Is Fat

We took three of the cats to the vet tonight. Snalbert was overdue for his twice yearly "senior wellness" check-up, and Snicky was overdue for a weight check. We brought Possum along for a weigh-in, too. Wendy was left home alone for the first time, but she was too busy hiding under the bed to revel in her freedom. I doubt she knew we were gone.

We were grateful not to be hauling all that cat tonnage (cattage?) to the groomer for lime-sulfur dips. That ended a couple of months ago, but we all still bear the scars. There was loud protest howling in the car.

Snicky has gained almost a half pound since her last visit. She weighs about 7 lbs. That's good news, but she's still too thin. She's not interested in food, despite taking a daily appetite stimulant. She prefers to absorb nutrients from the air.

Snalbert lost a pound. He's about 9 lbs., too thin. I hope it's because he's fussy about canned food, which is relatively new to him. If the tests rule out a health condition, we'll be stuffing him with goodies to fatten him up. He should enjoy it; he loves food. He's already had two snacks since we came home.

As the vet lifted Possum out of his carrier, she said, "He is FAT, by the way." Little Possum weighs more than 11 lbs. and he's not quite 8 months old. I think his dignity was insulted by her words; he isn't obese, just well-upholstered:

Possum sings plaintive laments when he wants his bowl filled.

He will likely grow to be a very large adult, and maybe he'll lose his baby fat along the way (ha!). He has a substantial "lion paunch," a flabby pouch on his lower abdomen that sways when he runs. While paunches like his are genetic, according to the vet, his is much too large and fatty.

But Possum isn't going on the Atkins Diet. Since Snicky and Snalbert need access to food whenever they are hungry, the vet said that the tradeoff is that Possum also gets to free-feed on dry food. Better to have him be a little pudgy, she said, than to have the older cats losing weight.

I'd already seen the writing on the wall, and stopped giving him high-calorie kitten chow and extra canned food during the day, which he'd normally require because he's still growing, and under a year old. But since he was neutered when he was just a few weeks old, his metabolism slowed down much sooner than is normal for a kitten.

 I am trying to find some premium low-cal "indoor" foods for him and for Wendy. Much of her weight is in her tail. Lugging it around seems to burn extra calories, keeping her from getting pudgy, too.

Wendy in a feline yoga pose.

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