Remember Rocky, our 22-pound sumo cat, whom we’ve been torturing through kitty fat camp for the past two months? This photo of him was taken after his spring “lion” shave. We give his tubbiness a kitty crew cut so he’s not utterly miserable during the hot summer months. But now that he’s the biggest feline loser, maybe we can bypass the spring shave.
And he is a loser — Rocky’s lost almost three pounds! That’s 10 percent of his body weight. While not yet svelte, he’s definitely less bulky. And more playful.
The kids realized that the Rock & Roller had knocked off some pounds when he leapt into the air in an attempt to knock a ball-shaped ornament off the Christmas tree. This from a cat who hasn’t leapt over a lizard in years.
Then during my book club, Rocky was rolling around under the tree playing with a ribbon on a present. Somehow the ribbon got wrapped around one of his back legs, and he took off across the room, present in tow, being chased by a curious dog — and by me. He untangled himself before I could get photographic evidence (to prove that no animals were harmed in the writing of this column). Yes, Rocky’s both thinner and more active. It’s kind of a miracle.
After I first wrote about the Rocky Project, I received lots of e-mails from readers struggling with obese kitties of their own. Why are there so many fat cats in the world? Why is the term “fat cat” a cliché? Because clichés are rooted in reality.
According to one member of Rocky’s weight loss team, Kristi King of Green Earth Pet Food, cats evolved in deserts (think Egypt) and got the majority of their liquids from prey. In other words, while cats will drink water, they prefer to get H2O from, like, chipmunk blood. When we feed our domesticated cats dry cat food, the kitties don’t get any liquid from their food. In other words, they might be living in a state of perpetual semi-dehydration. This, and higher carbs in dry food, can contribute to obesity and a host of other health problems, such as kidney failure.
The primary change we’ve made in Rocky’s life is giving him wet, high-protein cat food instead of dry. Getting him to eat wet food was more of a challenge than I expected. I’ve caught him sneaking dog food that Biscuit left behind, and he once knocked a bag of dry cat food off a pantry shelf and ripped it open for a midnight snack.
Now our goal is to get him to eat the even healthier raw food — about as close to prey as a lazy carnivore gets (Full disclosure: Kristi’s supplying us with raw food as part of Rocky’s weight loss program. You can buy her food at Greenlife).
So, yeah, he’s lost weight, but he’s been pissed off for most of the past two months. And mouthy as hell.
“Mom, Rocky’s yelling at me,” says my son. “Mom, Rocky’s giving me ‘the look,’” says my daughter.
“Give him some catnip,” I reply.
That’s the other thing that’s helped him — feline drugs. Kristi mailed us some primo organic catnip. The day it arrived, Enviro-spouse threw the padded envelope on the kitchen counter with the rest of the mail. I arrived home a few hours later to find two blissed-out cats. Rocky’s brother, Houdini, had jumped on the counter, ripped open the envelope and joyfully spread catnip around the kitchen. Both cats were rolling in the dried weed and batting at the air.
Now I hide the catnip in a high cabinet. Per the instructions of Jane Mitchell of Miss Jane’s Pet Sitting, I rub a feather in the kitty weed or put a dash in a balled-up piece of paper, then give it to Rocky. Makes him forget all about his food bowl. For about 15 minutes.
Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.