MY DEAREST PET LADY,
As I read the most recent Pet Lady [May 2], I felt a euphoric happiness over the discovery that others, too, are struggling with the topic of feline dieting. I, too, have a fat cat. Ms. Roscoe Pico Train has been quite spoiled since she was a cute little ball of fur. She now weighs in at close to 20 pounds, an atrocity according to her veterinarian.
She has been on a special diet for nearly two years and continues to gain weight. Roscoe follows us around making loving gestures and singing to coerce us into giving her treaties—which usually works to her favor.
What can I do? She has ballooned in size so much that she cannot clean herself very well, and I am reduced to shaving her hind legs to prevent unsightly conditions and matting. The herb of which you speak [catnip] and a fabulous bright orange boa-on-a-stick only distract her for about three minutes, one-fifth of the recommended amount of fitness needed per day (according to her vet).
Might I suggest a splash of fresh-squeezed Minneola in your martini while considering this conundrum?
Housemate to Ms. Pico Train
Oh, you poor dear reader. When the Pet Lady pronounced a fat cat to be a happy cat, she did not mean those fur friends who are such butterballs that they can no longer give themselves a good bath, and the idea of Ms. Pico Train being relegated to such a sad circumstance fills the P.L. with despondency. She will indeed have a Minneola martini whilst she turns the column over to the Pet Secretary; this issue merits some actual research, which, as you know, gives the P.L. the vapors.
A 1997 study from Cornell University found that "Overweight cats risk disease and premature death," and "Seriously overweight cats are more likely to suffer diabetes mellitus, lameness, and non- allergic skin conditions. . . . The study and the follow-up confirm what veterinarians and cat owners have suspected for a long time" [well, duh.—The P.S.]. "Most cats refuse to sit still for the electrical impedance test [would you?—The P.S.]— one way to measure body mass—and they really dislike the other method— being completely immersed in water while exhaling. Ranking body condition by silhouettes is currently the most practical way to survey large numbers of privately owned cats."
According to the University of Florida, "The Minneola tangelo is a Duncan grapefruit x Dancy tangerine hybrid released in 1931 by the United States Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Orlando. This tangelo (like other tangelo cultivars) is therefore one-half tangerine and one-half grapefruit. The fruit is quite handsome and a genuine pleasure to eat."
As far as pointers for kitty weight loss, no good news there—basically you're supposed to get 'em the diet food, feed them less (no "treaties"!), and give them plenty of "interactive exercise" (more of the boa would be good). Sorry.
Oh dear, oh dear, sorry indeed. Best to you and cheers, sadly, from,
The Pet Lady
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