Monday, January 9, 2012

Fat Cats, Skinny Cats and the Cat Servants who Pander to Them

Gussie Winnie, Baskin and I spent a very pleasant quiet weekend.  I have reconsidered my hysteria re Gussie's bones.  After much pondering and a conversation with the Vet, I have come to the conclusion that Gusssie is really OK.....I think it is me who is sick (in the head).  I have thought it all through many times and think now that perhaps I panicked.  I am so partial to and so used to fat cats I thought she was at death's door being so skinny and losing weight.  She seems to be totally content and happy.  I don't think she is losing any more right now.  It may simply be old age....she was always a slim cat and she is getting up there in years.....I don't know how old exactly. Rescued strays do not come with birth certificates.   I know old cats often get very skinny.  I plan to simply keep indulging her disgustingly, watching her carefully and feeling her bones.  Have no plans for further tests or specialists etc. right now.  Needless to say, I am watching her very carefully and will not neglect any danger signs.


I had a brilliant idea the other day about how I can monitor her weight and either ease my worries or drive myself off the cliff.  All I had to do is weigh her every few days to see how we were doing.  Sure.  Oh yeah.  Sounds so simple doesn't it?  I do not know why, during my long lifetime, everything that sounds so simple and ought to be simple ends up so damned complicated you simply must bang your head against the nearest wall repeatedly.......unfortunately I replaced most of the walls in my house with glass years ago so that limits not only my head-banging needs but my picture hanging area.......well, as they say,"Nothing is perfect".  

"Why", you may ask, "is this simple idea so difficult to execute?"  In your house it may not  be so difficult at all, but you must remember, you are dealing with a rather farmished (mishugina) (fercockta) (slightly crazy person) here.......and with limitations physical and especially optical.  It's like this.......for most of my life I used to weigh myself every morning......when you have spent your lifetime dieting, weighing yourself every morning is like breathing in and out.  So is sighing with relief and/or shrieking with anguish, depending on what the numbers say.  Recently though, I find I often pass up this pleasure/pain partly because there is not much I can do about it anymore if the numbers go up......I cannot exercise more nor can I eat any less, and frankly, if the numbers should begin to go down I would probably freak out with worry about what might be wrong with me rather than jump up and down with joy and triumph, so, hell why bother.  Also, I can hardly see the dial numbers  anymore and must utilize a guesstimate based on where the pointer is in relation to the next big black up and down mark.  Not the most accurate system........not so  bad for a rotund, zoftig old person whose poundage exceeds.....well, nevermind.....but totally useless when you are dealing with ounces on a 7 1/2 pound cat.

In addition, for anyone who has never weighed or attempted to weigh a live don't just stand them on the scale and tell them to hold it right there while you read the dial, even if you have 20/20 vision.  The method is to first weigh yourself.  make careful note of the exact number.  Then grab or attempt to grab the animal, step gingerly onto the scale while screaming from the clawing or gasping from the wriggling, and attempt to peer over the furry body which is now wrapped around your head to see what the numbers are.  First efforts are rarely successful.  Second efforts are more difficult because the animal is now wary, unsure of what the fuck this thing is all about, but convinced that it is not in their best interests and therefore more difficult to catch up.  Third attempts must wait till later in the day when the animal has almost forgotten the strange event and you have had time stem the bleeding or catch your breath or both.


But there still remains the problem of reading the dial.  Consequently, this is where your significant other or my caregiver must enter the picture.   How you explain what is needed with a straight face is up to you, but what is involved basically is that the assistant must get down on hands and knees by the dial of the scale and be prepared to take an instant reading if you are lucky enough to hold  onto the animal for long enough to make that possible.  Sadly, anyone who has a love/hate relationship with scales as I do knows that there is always a specific position, slight sideways or forward lean that gives you the most favorable reading.  When holding a crazed, wriggling animal, fuggeddaboudit.  If the pointer stops, even for a moment, it must be captured then or not at all.   And recorded immediately, by the way,  so that the groans and curses of the holder and shrieks and complaints of the animal do not distract to the point of forgetting the number altogether thus requiring a redo.  

Well, I could go on, but why?   You are surely either nodding your head in agreement, laughing at my idiocy or crying in sympathy by now. If you think I am exaggerating then you have never tried to weigh an animal while being half blind plus old, weak and unsteady on the weighing platform.  To which I utter a heartfelt congratulations and the comment that you are a better (and luckier) man than I am Gunga Din.


  1. When I want to weigh my Chihuahua, I take her to the post office with me. Fortunately, I live in a small, rural town where they think that's cute. Maybe next time you go to the doctor, they'll let you stand on the scale buck naked and then holding your cat. If so, I advice that you put your clothes back on before doing so. Nipple scratches are a bitch.

    And yes, it's very hard when they old and thing. Give her a hug from me.

  2. Here's my advice, Lo: Pay no more attention to Gussie's weight than to your own. You are already doing everything you can what?
    Just one woman's opinion.
    Love...Mary (who has not stepped voluntarily on a scale in years.)

  3. Exactly how to weigh an animal! Funny or frustrating, depending on whether you are the doer or the spectator.

    At least i can go to the cat shelter and use their scale they keep for that purpose (and for weighing out foster bags of food).

    Feed her well and take her to the vet for a weigh in once or twice a year as usual would be my advice.

  4. I am so happy Gussie's hanging in there...and thrilled to know that Lo is too!! Sometimes Penny acts funny, won't eat, just lays around and I kind of panic. I heard that cats sometimes act like that,,Not with me for the "Mother Of The House" title! I do everything I can think of to make her respond...I think she has the temperament of a cat,,,Independant!! But I love her, as I know you do you're little fuzzy friends. I am SO glad that you are feeling better!!!!!!!

  5. Well, I got the news cat is Diabetic. I am picking up her insulin today....will be blogging about it.

    What are the odds of having 2 diabetic cats in a lifetime? Its the diet for vet says they should sell canned mice for cats, not the stuff we feed them...that's the probable cause...her diet.

    I wish I had known.

    Cats need high protein, all meat diet.... :(

  6. Oh Lo, fabulous post as usual.
    I got rid of my scales years ago, consequently I am now the size of a house, but although I state that I don't care I would of course rather be a little thinner. I know that there is nothing to be done bar starving myself and I don't intent to do that so have to content myself with it.
    You mention about when the cat forgets about the weigh in.....I don't think they ever forget anything these cats. Ours only have to hear the squeak of the wicker basket and they are hiding in the most inconvenient places for retrieving them. lol

  7. I love your description, so spot on! We panicked over every ounce on our 6lb siamese (she was 19 and in kidney failure) it can be so dramatic on a cat that small.
    If your little one is cuddly I'd suggest holding her, the ups and downs will be really apparent on a 7lb cat.
    Great thoughts for a great day to you and all your furry friends.

  8. LO! I have the perfect way to weigh a cat. You know those "cat traps" I talked about on my blog? (boxes?)

    Well, I recently bought myself a new DIGITAL kitchen scale - one that will allow the read-out panel on it to be pulled forward so it's easily read when something large is on the scale.

    I turned on the scale and placed a cat trap on it. (A box.) Then I zeroed out the weight of the box with the little button on the scale that allows me to do this.

    Then I put my darling cat into the cat trap - and behold! She sat there while I read off her weight.

    She weighs exactly 7 lbs, 15 and 7/8 ounces! :)

  9. By the way - THIS is the scale that I bought:

  10. Good for AngelMay. I was going to suggest an electronic kitchen scale. That's what we use, with cat trap!

  11. Maybe just a tape measure around the middle?

  12. Could you not fill your bath-tub to the rim, climb in holding your cat, catch the water that fows out, and then weight that? Just an idea.

  13. Try "flows" out rather than "fows" out

  14. I like Alan's idea... lost my scales in my last move and just haven't gotten around to replacing... basically, don't trust skinny cooks and have to maintain an image for the eight people who read my blog... but, I wouldn't worry too much about your cat's weight if he/she's eating and moving around. The older ones do get thinner (I know. We do, too; but, it's generally post-life.)and pickier about eating. But, keep the posts coming.

  15. Your post made me laugh. I remember my dad picking up our golden retrievors to weigh them. They didn't squirm or anything just had a dumbfounded look on their faces like "what the hell is going on? Why aren't at least two of my paws on the ground?"

    Maybe get one of those baby scales. At least then you can put it up on a counter and don't have to weigh yourself. :)