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Rose proving my point that a diet is in order. Len said she looked like a seal pup here — I thought more like a beached whale

If Leslie hadn’t sent me this article, and if I hadn’t seen the picture of the 11-year-old fat cat, Maya — who looked a lot like Rose in that pose — I probably would never have started on this campaign to slenderize my cats. Yes, I’ve known for a very long time that they were getting on the “chubby” side, shall we say. And, if I hadn’t noticed myself, “Uncle” Len next door pointed it out enough times that not only Rose, but I was starting to take offence at his remarks. But, at the same time, it did bring forth little waves of shameful guilt in me — never Rose — for what I had done.

After all, the cats aren’t the ones opening the drawer and taking out the Temptations, are they? It’s all my doing. I am the guilty party here. Oh woe is me, I made them FAT! I could justify it by saying I was just being a softie and giving them food whenever they wanted. Isn’t that one way that “motherly” love is demonstrated? But, really Ann, you are not their mother. Don’t you get upset in vet offices when they call you that? You bet I do. So, let’s just say, I am their “caregiver” and leave it at that. And anyway, they are to blame too. They never once complained about those nibbles being left in the bowl on the mat all day and night — not once. But then why should they, eh?

It is time, or probably past time, I took action. Besides the obvious increase in girth, I have noticed that they can’t quite do what they used to. Nick was always an amazing

Nick took youthful leaps to the top of this bookcase.

Nick took youthful leaps to the top of this bookcase.

jumper. He could scale the highest bookcase in the house with just one leap from the table. It was like he was flying when he took off. His lean, aerodynamic body soaring to great heights. He’d never missed, not once, in all his years of jumping. Ms. Rose never even tried since her more rotund shape was more conducive to shorter leaps. Also, she always thought it in her best interest to let Nick do the daredevil tricks while she concentrated on pulling stuffing out of the couch or destroying a rug or two.

These days, Nick has to stop and think about the shortest of short leaps. It’s sad to watch him. He gets so embarrassed when he tries and doesn’t quite make it. Then he has to pretend that he didn’t really want to get up on that bookcase to get to the counter. No, he was IMG_0974just sitting on the floor, at the base of the bookcase, planning to clean himself, not try to get to the poor little struggling, baby spider plant on the counter or whatever else edible might be there.

The decision had to be made and I was the only one around here willing to take it and limit the amount of food that goes into cat bellies. We’re in day 2 and so far there have not been any major rebellions against me and my new regime. Oh, sure, there have been some angry meows and grunts about the lack of food in the bowl after breakfast has been served. And they have periodically, throughout the day, gone out to the kitchen just to make sure that I hadn’t relented and filled up that bowl with mid-morning snacks.

I explained to them — a lot of good that does — that this is all for their best interests. I always hate when people say something like that to me. I want to rail against them and do more of whatever it is that is worse for me. Their Godmother, Yogi Judith, has already sent me a warning that I am not to “starve” her god babies. Like that would happen? I know they’ll let her know if I get too severe in the portions. I also reminded them it’s Lent and good for their soulful selves to do without. They reminded me that they were born in an alley in Chinatown, so those religious beliefs were not part of their history — even if they were mine.

So, we’re giving this a try. As I see it, I hold all the cards in this one. But, just as a precaution, I am cutting all nails and keeping my fingers away from open mouths.


Nick reminising about the olds days when food was always available in this house.

Nick reminiscing about the olds days when food was always available in this house.