Personally, I think it is sod’s law that when you have multiple cats – inevitably one or two of them are going to end up piling on the pounds. In our household there are 2 – Penny, my Maine Coon, and Ulysses, my Chinchilla Persian. When you consider that we also have 2 young adults who could happily eat all day and still be slender and an old boy that needs all the food we can shove down his throat – well, let’s just say that feeding times are interesting..
Penny is the most important cat to keep slender. She would like to be 10 kg – but her slender weight is around 5kg – and she has elbow dysplasia and arthritis (she is 4…), something that is unfortunately seen in Maine Coons. Even more unfortunately, Penny thinks that Life Is About Food! Even her pain medication is considered Highly Delicious, and the bottle has to be kept under lock and key as she would chew right through it if we let her. My husband constantly threatens to video how I give her the medication and post it on YouTube. I maintain that it is perfectly normal to ask my cat to do tricks and balance at full (and considerable) height on her hind legs to get her medicine – after all its her ELBOWS that are arthritic… Penny basically doesn’t care – Will Do Anything For Metacam! She says…
Through the years we have had to learn to organise things somewhat differently to take into account how obsessive Penny is with food. For example, it is no good for my husband to carry in a bag of dog food, put it on the floor and then go back out to the car to get the rest of his things. By the time he makes it back into the house again, the bag will have a hole chewed in it and a (very) large Maine Coon submerged in it and busily munching away.. Similarly, bread or cakes left on the countertop develop suspicious holes in them and have whole sections missing, while plates left on the table while you step out to the refrigerator to get the mayo – are simply empty by the time you get back. Penny will be sitting on the floor looking out on the patio. Wasn’t Me, she will say with wide, innocent eyes. Must Be The Dog!
Penny doesn’t limit her food theft to our plates. When we inherited our dog, Molly, from my mother-in-law, she was a very picky eater. These days – well, let’s just say that the food gets shoved in her mouth as fast as she can…When you have had the experience a couple of times to be late for dinner – and see the last of it disappear down the gullet of the cat – you learn…Dog Food Healthy, Penny insist. Must Have More. Not Good For Dog To Eat All THAT! And if she thinks we haven’t fed Molly yet – she will camp out on top of the bin where we keep the dog food. Ahem! She will politely cough, Forgotten Something? Fortunately she hasn’t – yet – figured out how to burgle the bin..
To help Penny notice that she actually IS eating something, we feed her in an activity board – a white plastic contraption with bowls and spikes and waves that requires careful use of the paws. This has led us to have a fascinating realisation – Penny is actually one of those cats that seem to have opposable thumbs! She will carefully fish out whatever kibble she is after, fold her paw around it – and transport it to her mouth. Penny doesn’t really appreciate the board though… Takes Too Long, she grumbles, Ulysses Will Have Finished His Food By The Time I Get Out There, she complains, Need Something I Can Eat Faster, So I Can Have His As Well!
So far we have managed to catch up with her tricks as she has developed them, though we do warn cat sitters of the hazards of leaving food sitting around… And if we forget to warn guests – well, let’s just say that more than one foreign visitor has seen their nice, English cake or muffin disappear down the stairs in the mouth of the cat – HAH! Was For Me! Really! she chortles..