Edgy Mama: The Rocky project

This is Rocky. He weighs 22 pounds. His litter mate, Houdini, weighs nine. Both cats have been fed the same food throughout their lives. When we rescued the twosome, they were same-sized fur balls. But Rocky is a kibble ho.

The neighborhood kids call him Garfield, because he moseys around begging for food and attention. Like Garfield, he’s sassy and fearless—dogs run from him.

We wonder if we manifested the cat’s destiny by naming him “Rocky.” Perhaps if we’d named him “Cutie Pie,” he wouldn’t be so fat. At least we didn’t name him “Monster.”

There’s no doubt that Rocky can be enchanting. He likes to lie on the edge of the street and wait for folks to wander by and love on him. When there was an open house at a nearby home for sale, Rocky staked out a spot on the stoop so people had to step over him to enter. The Realtor in charge told me several folks asked if the cat came with the house. People love our fat, lazy cat. Despite the dingleberries.

Because Rocky’s too huge to clean his own rear, he’s kind of nasty back there. I take him to Canine Shear Heaven fairly often to get a potty patch (they shave around his bum, removing the hair so the dingleberries can’t adhere as well). The first time I called to make an appointment, I thought the woman on the phone referred to this as a “pooty” patch. So that’s what I call it now.

While Rocky wouldn’t win the annual fattest cat in American title (there actually is such a contest), he’s so big that our vet likes to take him in the back to show off his hugeness. Then Dr. Riggle (at North Asheville Animal Hospital) gently fusses at me for over-feeding Rocky, and we talk diet plans.

One of our problems is that Rocky has trained the kids to feed him. He follows them around, meowing and complaining, and if they don’t make a beeline for his food bowl, he’s liable to nip them on the ankles. Jane Mitchell of Miss Jane’s Pet Sitting calls him “a scheming, charismatic, calculating charmer.”

In fact, Miss Jane and Kristi King, owner of Green Earth Pet Food, have taken on the Rock & Roller as a personal challenge (they’re also smart business women who are offering us free food and services knowing I’ll write about Rocky’s Biggest Loser experience). The two of them have laid out a kitty fat camp plan, combining Kristi’s all-natural raw pet foods and Miss Jane’s exercises, to help me help Rocky lose some weight. Because, they say, there are lots of overweight cats out there that need our help.

Like humans, obese cats often contract diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and they have joint problems. While Rocky, at 6 years old, is healthy so far, our goal is to keep him that way. Plus I’ve had to force pills down his throat before, and it’s kind of like pilling a wild badger. It takes at least two people — one person to hold down 22 pounds of mad cat and one to stick a pill down this throat while avoiding his half-inch fangs.

So, two weeks ago, I removed Rocky’s food bowl from its usual spot. As soon as he noticed, he meowed and tried to trip me by wrapping himself around my ankles (like trying to avoid a bowling ball aimed at my feet).

I put him in the bathroom with one of Kristi’s raw salmon patties (so the dog couldn’t eat it first). After about 20 minutes, I checked on him. He hadn’t eaten a bite. And he was still pissed. I poured tuna juice over the patty. He ate a little. I mixed tuna with the patty. He picked out the tuna. I mixed some natural wet beef cat food with the patty. He ate it! Then he barfed it all up.

I’ve moved on to alternating Rocky’s regular kibble with the salmon patty mixed with a bit of tuna. While the raw food is healthier, lower in fat, and closer to what Rocky’s diet would be if he lived in the wild, he’s still not eating much of the salmon. Kristi says he’s got to be hungry enough. I know he’s hungry enough when the kids are standing on the dining room chairs so he can’t get to their ankles.

You’d think the cat would be thrilled to be offered raw salmon. I mean, come on, any feral cat would give a life for such a gourmet meal. But it’s hard to teach an old cat new tricks.

To be continued…

Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.



Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

6 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: The Rocky project

  1. I have one cat that will eat five times a day if you let her. I rarely “free feed” my cats and they both weigh about 9 LBS. I feed them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late evening. Kibble, while usually cheaper, is really not good for cats long term. Some experts say that it eventually causes kidney problems because of the lack of water/moisture. Cats in the wild get a lot of water from prey and don’t rely on humans to supply it to them. So while kidney disease is very likely linked to obesity, the fact that many cats are fed dry food may be the main reason for kidney dysfunctions.

    One of my cats won’t even eat kibble unless she’s desperate. But I occasionally mix in kibble with quality canned food and water.

  2. Katy McLean

    I love this article. Edgy Mama you absolutely brightened my afternoon. I must admit that I can relate to your story and you had me in my office rolling. Thank you for your humor and for sharing. I can not wait to read your next article.

  3. Exactly, Limabean. I hadn’t known before that cats who only eat kibble are chronically dehydrated.

    Thanks, Katy. Next Rocky update will be in a few weeks. After the big weigh-in!

  4. restless

    My friend’s had a cat like this. When they put him on a diet, he would jump on their heads at 3 o’clock in the morning so they fed him. They began closing the door at night but he just Meowed loudly til someone got up to feed him. He died a fat, happy cat. And they were well rested. Win-Win!

  5. Elizabeth Bruce

    This article was posted up for me at work and I was just SHOCKED when I saw and read. I have a cat who looks entirely too identical to rocky, who weighs eight pounds more (yes, 30 pounds), and who is the same age of 6 years. I can relate to what I read about Rocky, because my cat, Joey or “Big Joe” as we call him has a lot of the same behaviors! In fact, the other day I bought some mint flavored shampoo at the store, left it in the bag on the floor, and when I went to put the shampoo away the next day, found that Big Joe had bitten into the tube of shampoo in which it oozed out. He had somehow sniffed the mint flavor out and proceeded to try to eat it. I wish I could upload a photo because Rocky and Big Joe could be identical twins! Ha ha! Thanks for this story.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.