While I work for a pet care company, and write pet care articles, I
have to confess I own a chubby pet. My cat Jake, not as plump as he used
to be, is still not quite at ideal his weight. Jake's behavior towards
food is surprisingly dog-like. He begs, he scrounges, he sneeks
food when no one is looking, and he does so unapologetically. My older
cat Marvin also loves food, but will stop eating when full and has never
been anything but fit and trim. Keeping Jake at a good weight is by far
the most challenging part of pet ownership for me. Here are a few examples...
Cat Food Location: The dry cat food can not be kept
in a lower cabinet as Jake will open the cabinet and chew a hole in the
cat food bag and feed
himself (a lot). The cabinet door where the food is kept above
the stove can not be accidentally left open. I realized this last week
in the middle of
when I heard a loud crash, and found that my cat tried to jump from the
top of the refridgerator to the cabinet were the food is kept. He missed
the cabinet and belly flopped on the stove making a racket as a pan catapulted
across the counter.
(Counter hopping is not kosher, but done frequently when
out of eyesight.)
People Food Location: No people food can be left out
at any time. Only a couple days ago I forgot to put the bread away right
away, and found that Jake jumped on
the counter chewed through plastic bag and ate a chunk of the bread.
As I said to Jake, "Seriously Jake the bread? Cats are supposed
to be meat eaters." Similarly, the only way for plates to not be
licked clean is to emediately rinse them off after eating.
A Dog Proof Trash Can: Yes, I need a dog proof trash can
because of my cat. I am a big fan of the trash cans with a top
latch. However, this morning when I took out the trash I was challenged
by the fact the top edge and that folds over the can had been chewed
to pieces, but he didn't get to the trash, so one point for me.
Loud Meal Times: I don't need to worry about sleeping
in, and often don't need an alarm clock as I am loudly summonned to breakfast
by Jake every morning. Similarly at night Jake starts meowing more than
an hour before dinner time. To hear him when the cat food can is cracked
open one would think I keep my cat on a starvation diet. Yet as the cable
once note, "Wow,
that's one well-fed cat."
Fortunately, Jake is a bit trimmer now than when the cable man last
saw him. However, they were hard fought pounds. Keeping pets at a healthy
weight is important as overweight pets can have negative health
effects that are similar to those that overweight people can experience.
Due to the size of cats and dogs a few extra pounds on them is much more
than a few extra pounds on you or me. Changing to a lighter food, limiting
intake of food and treats, and increasing exercise can be very helpful.
For dogs in
situations, too many treats is commonly the source of a weight problem
as multiple members of the family think they are the only one sneaking
the dog a treat, as the dog lives high on the hog. Battling weight can
be a challenge for an owner, especially since the one in need of weight
loss, like Jake, has no interest in cooperating. But a healthy pet is
certainly worth the challenges presented.