We adopted Sophie when she was six month old, long enough for her to have been trained as a feral cat. It was several months before she trusted us as humans, but she has never shaken the “I have to eat as much as I can because I don’t know when I’ll get my next meal” instinct. She has had her share of medical issues since we got her, and she will be on prescription cat food for the rest of her life (read: $$$) which has a higher fat content than most. After gaining three pounds at her 2009 exam, the vet hinted that maybe she needs a little help on the diet front.
The vet suggested that we hide little piles of food throughout the house to simulate her natural urge to hunt. Okay, first of all, who has the time? Secondly, besides the fact that she’s still a scavenger, Sophie is totally down with the domesticated lifestyle. Seriously, have I mentioned that she rare expends the energy to eat sitting up?
We ignored the issue for awhile, but then I saw a news story about a cat that was taken away from its home because it had grown to 30 pounds and this was seen as a sign of neglect. (More like over-loving, if you ask me.) Sophie is no where near 30 pounds…yet. Instead of hiding food around the house, I started rationing how much dry food she got in the morning, and then I give her a second round of dry food after work, with a partial can of wet food. She is less than happy with me, and usually has her food dish cleaned out within 15 minutes.
She breaks into the squirrels’ peanuts when she can get the cover loose, and will even get the top off of her food canister when she finds that it isn’t sealed securely. While we eat, her eyes follow the path of the fork from our plates to our mouths. Sophie has not learned moderation in all the months that she’s been dieting. Even though she’s still very active, she always looks hungry, and I didn’t rescue a cat just so she could feel deprived.
Yet, she ISN’T. This cat does not want for anything other than gluttony. Nick was awarded a gift certificate at work, and he has decided to use the money to buy an electric cat feeder. You fill five compartments with food and then set the timer to reveal a new compartment at specific interval. Man, and I thought that dieting for myself was difficult! I didn’t have to deal with a pair of limpid eyes speaking ala Oliver Twist, “More, please?”
The night of and morning after my surgery, all I could hear was a cat puking. If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know the sound. Being in the post anesthesia gloom that always consumes me, I kept thinking, “Great. Now I’m sterile and my cat is dying.” Typically, Sophie never has tummy issues, so we are thinking that she found something to eat that she shouldn’t have. Was it the orchid that she literally deflowered, or the cinnamon-scented pine cones on the table? Was it a piece of rubber from a shoe or something she dragged out of a garage basket? Hard to say with this cat, eating will be her demise.