My cat is a wonderful cat, but he is also a big chunkster of a boy. That is him in the picture above sitting next to the scale we bought for his dieting adventure. He looks less than thrilled.
He was the runt of the litter, but he now outweighs his littermate by more than 7 pounds.
He turned four recently and his checkup resulted in a plan to put his fluffy butt on a diet.
Now, it is dangerous for cats to lose weight too quickly. It can cause deadly complications, so we’ve slowly been making changes. We spent a month switching from one type of food to another and removing crunchy food entirely.
He did well all the way up to the final removal of the crunchy food. His inability to midnight snack has led to many an interrupted night for both me and my son.
My cat will try telling one of us his tale of woe and when that doesn’t work he will try the other person.
It starts with meowing in the doorway. When that fails he will get up on the bed and sit by my feet and meow again. Telling him to shut up or go away doesn’t usually work. He will just move closer. Until he is right in my face giving me pathetic little mewing sounds.
Eventually, he gives up and leaves to try his luck with my son. I lay there awake for a couple of hours feeling like a monster.
Once in a while he just sits in the hallway and sings us the song of his people.
We’ve currently been working on spreading feedings out and adjusting feeding times.
Last night was the first night in over a week that he did not wake anyone up. I may have found the correct routine for keeping him satisfied. Or he may have just accepted his fate. I’m not sure which. Or if he will begin with the whining again tonight.
The guilt has been extreme. I have had this cat since his birth — his mama is my niece’s cat and she lived with us at the time.
He uses my love against me. He looks so lost and pathetic as he begs for food. It short circuits my brain.
I know he is getting enough food. It’s all very carefully measured and monitored for his health and safety. He even gets weighed every other day.
Knowing those things does not change the guilt that rockets through me with every meow. He will snuggle up and desperately purr whenever anyone is near him. When anyone goes into the kitchen, he races along and runs to his food area to meow and beg.
I watch him eat to make sure he’s not stealing from the other cat and that he is finishing his food. I know he is getting all the calories he needs. I know in my head he is not starving. But my maternal instinct responds to those sounds of distress and everything in me wants to go crack open a can and start shoveling tuna down the cat’s gullet.
Today has been the first quiet day when he has not begged for food multiple times. Though my day did begin at 5:45 with him marching up my body and plopping all 19 pounds of himself down on my chest. He did not meow. He just stared at me. I told him that if he cracked my ribs, breakfast was going to be delayed while I sought medical attention. He was unmoved by my plight.
I hope we have turned a corner. I’m tired of feeling like I’m torturing my fur baby even though I’m doing something good for him.