HAES for Kittehs

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

A few months ago, I told you all about Binkley, my icon-kitty. Now I’d like you to meet Zevon. (Yes, named after Warren.) He’s 4-1/2, loves to play fetch with ugly-ass ponytail holders, and will pole-vault into my lap about 20 times a day when I’m sitting at the computer, if I let him. And yeah, I usually let him, even though it feels like holding a library-sized Webster’s Unabridged in my lap. One that purrs like a helicopter. Fortunately, I provide plenty of lapspace. 

He was always a bit hefty; when he was a wee furbag, my friend J. picked him up as if using her hand as a scale, and said, “He’s beefy!” And in the last year or so, since we moved into a house and decided to make all the cats indoor cats, he became beefier still, beefy enough to break down the cat door leading to the basement. (SCATOLOGY ALERT, feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph if you are eating.) Around the time we moved, I switched all the cats to grain-free food (wet and dry) at the behest of my vet who was treating Pendo, my only “standard sized” cat, for his heart condition, and there was something in the food that didn’t agree with Mr. Z. He started leaving little poopgifts — nasty, gunky-looking ones — on the basement floor. We put him on a different food, Organix dry only. The poop looked a little better, but not much, and he was still going where he wasn’t supposed to. So, I had to haul him into the vet.

Oh goddess, the vet. I KNEW the first thing I’d get would be a lecture about his weight. It’s not like he was eating me out of the house, not at all, or even wanting to. I measured out the amount of food he was eating during a typical day of “free feeding” Organix dry food, and it was 3/4 of a cup — what the package directions said to feed a 12-pound cat. And Zevon, the last time he’d been weighed 14 months prior, was already 20 pounds, and I knew he’d gained since then.

And of course, being a fatass myself, I was rather dreading the moment when I would tell the vet how little Zevon was actually eating, and he would take one look at the Fat Cat Mom Who Was Obviously in Denial, and mutter, “Uh huh, riiiiight.” Vets, in my experience, are if anything even more hung up on the weight issue than humans’ doctors; all cats are supposed to be the same weight, and you’re supposed to be able to feel his ribs, but not his backbone, quit spoiling him to the point of diaBEEEEtus, blahblahyakyak. And almost no veterinary Web site ever, ever acknowledges any other reason for a cat being fat other than OMG IT’S EATING THE WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE.

So yeah, not looking forward to it, even though this vet (who was well-versed in both holistic and allopathic veterinary medicine) seemed like a decent, thoughful guy when I saw him with Pendo. Of course they hoisted him up on the scale first thing, and they said, “Thirty pounds!” That meant he’d gained 10 pounds in a year, which would have been quite a feat for an adult cat even if I HAD been feeding him the entire house. The vet said Zevon was the heaviest cat he’d ever had in his practice. I told him I had a coworker once whose cat weighed 34 pounds, and she showed us a picture of her barely-90-pounds-soaking-wet self holding him in order to prove it, which impressed the hell out of me.

Now, good news first: Although they would of course test his stool to make sure there was nothing funny in it, the chances were good that Zevon didn’t have an intestinal parasite or a serious illness like Feline Infectious Peritonitis or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus causing the diarrhea, because if he did he’d be losing weight, not gaining it. (And the stools did come back negative.) I told him what Zevon ate, and he said he believed me (whew) but told me that was way too much cereal to give a cat. What I got recommended to me was a BARF (bones and raw food) diet. (Terrible name, huh? “My cat eats BARF!”). He told me about a store on East Burnside called Meat that specialized in making raw-food pet diets affordable (I’d always figured it was prohibitively expensive yuppiechow). The vet said Zevon was probably allergic/intolerant to some ingredient in the food he was getting and that he was pooping outside the box in order to tell us his tummy wasn’t feeling right, and a real simple diet like this (in addition to an herbal mix he was giving me) would clear it right up.

And yeah, I did get lectured about his size, and told that the raw diet would probably get some weight off him. But at least I wasn’t accused of stuffing him like he was being taxidermied. And they told me, “Do NOT under any circumstances let him go a whole day without eating. Fasting is really bad for a cat his size. If a cat loses weight too fast, it can get fatty liver disease, which is really serious and expensive to treat.” (Makes you wonder, if losing weight fast is known to be extra bad for cats, how can it be something to unconditionally encourage in humans? I mean, I know we’re different species and everything, but geesh.)

So I went to Meat, and they were super-nice and super-helpful in there. I bought a frozen-solid 2-pound package of ground turkey, ground up with bones and giblets, for $6.25, plus some cod liver oil and ground veggies (just a tiny amount to use for fiber; that’s really the only nutritional use cats have for vegetables). I started out Zevon with just the raw turkey mix first without anything in it, to see how he’d like it. Not only did he love it, I couldn’t keep the other cats out of it. So then I mixed in some cod liver oil. They were still digging it. Then the veggies. Uh-oh. Kitty reject. Nobody would touch it. (I think Pendo actually looked at me like, “You’re kidding about the green stuff, right?”)

I asked the Meat lady what to substitute for fiber instead, and she suggested plain canned pumpkin, just a couple of tablespoons for every 2 pounds of food. That they ate. So now all three of them are BARF-ing. And it turns out to be no more expensive than the “super premium” food I was giving them before. (If I owned one of those $200 grinders that could do raw bones in addition to the raw muscle meat and giblets, it would be cheaper still. But also more of a mess. So I’m happy to pay a small surcharge to let someone else do the grinding.)

They still get a tiny, tiny amount of dry food, but not too much, as Zevon loves the crunchies but the feeling is evidently NOT mutual as evidenced by the quality of his poop when he eats it. And speaking of poop, you wouldn’t believe how little poop there is when cats eat this way. It’s like they’re actually using what they eat. Fancy that. And they’re a lot friskier eating this food, too, it really brings out the kitten in them. Which will be amusing until Zevon tries to hoist his 30-pound self up the drapes. Fortunately, he’s managed to resist the urge so far.

Now, let’s talk about quantity. Binkley, although the middle cat in age, has asserted himself as the “alpha kitty” in this house, and he thinks nothing of pushing the other cats out of the way and taking their food unless I stop him. I always wonder: Is he really physically that hungry for that much food, or does he just do that because he can? When I set down food for the three of them, Binkley vacuums it up, whereas Zevon chews every mouthful so thoroughly that C. has taken to calling him “The Great Masticator.” (Pendo gets fed in a separate room since he gets heart supplements mixed in his food.) The sooner Binkley finishes, the sooner he can swipe Zevon’s food, and maybe even go for a bite or two of Pendo’s leftovers.

How hungry are they? Often I can tell by how eagerly they gobble up a tiny bit of food I put on my fingers; if they are way too close to biting my finger off, they’re REALLY hungry. Roughly, it takes me about 3-1/2 days to go through 2 pounds of the meat plus the other mix-ins. (If for some reason I space and don’t have a package defrosted in time, they get some Wellness canned food instead.) That’s about what they told me it would be at Meat, but I wonder if Binkley isn’t getting way more than the others because he’s bullying Zevon out of his share while I’m in the back with Pendo. I’ll have to learn how to monitor that better. But Zevon is at least eating something, and he seems to be satisfied with the amount he’s getting. And there have been no more poopgifts.

And if he doesn’t lose any weight, or loses only a minor amount, even eating as little as he is and eating the food he’s supposedly hardwired for his body to prefer, you know what? I don’t want to hear it from the vet. Or anyone else. Health at Every Size is for the animals in our lives, too.

(ETA: Catnutrition.org is a good resource if you’re just starting to check out BARF diets. They’ve got some information on mail-order suppliers, as well as complete instructions for making the food yourself if you want to go that route.)

Posted in etc.. 33 Comments »

33 Responses to “HAES for Kittehs”

  1. Jodith Says:

    Did the vet check Zevon’s thyroid? Because 10 pounds is a lot of weight for a cat to gain in just a year. That would be like a 100# woman gaining 50 in a year (half again the weight).

  2. PurpleGirl Says:

    Zevon’s hair is purrfect.

    (/end lameass song reference + pun)

    I totally know what you mean about the kitties actually using their food. Once, when I was so broke I was subsisting on 39 cent pot pies, I bought my kitties the cheapest generic food I could find. It was like a goddamn catshit explosion. The litter cost more than cancelled out the food cost.

  3. integgy Says:

    This entry made me happy in a slightly ridiculous, “awwww, kitties!” way. I love cats so very much, and I love how you can relate dealing with Zevon’s weight, and foodstuffs, to human fatness.

    Also, reading about your kitties makes me miss mine, and now I can’t wait to get back to California and cuddle my darlings.

  4. raksasi Says:

    THANK YOU for this.

    I have two large cats — 20 and 22 lbs — and have been told to put the larger one on a diet. The vet didn’t mention or consider food allergies or intolerances being part of that cause, but it would make sense. I know there’s a place in town that does BARF diets for pets, and I may need to go check them out. Thanks!

  5. Piffle Says:

    Kitty stuff!

    I had a cat that would step over a steak bone to get to the squash leftovers. He also went crazy for cantelope, I’d give him a rind and he’d wash every bit of orange off the rind; he’d be at it for hours. You couldn’t leave blueberries out either. It was so funny to watch the others run over to see what tasty treat he had, then give him this disbelieving look, clearly thinking “That’s not food!”. My current kitty is much more staid in her preferences, though she does like the dog’s high calorie food.

    Oh, and I’m so delighted! I weighed my dog today and she’s gained five pounds! The vet gave her a broad dewormer despite her clean sample, and it looks like we have the answer to why she went from a healthy muscley 35 pounds to 22 pounds over the last couple years. She’s been tested for everything and looks very healthy by all the tests, but she was indisputably too thin. She’d been about the 35 pounds for fifteen years, so we knew she wasn’t naturally 22 pounds with bones sticking out everywhere, something was wrong; and I was greatly afraid it was simply age. So I’m feeling particularly happy!

  6. Matriarchy Says:

    Huh. Our family is cooking more from scratch, and eating less packaged stuff, and I was wondering how to get our indoor cat to eat “homecooked” food, too, without raising mice for indoor hunting. Thanks for the tip – I will go look into BARF diets.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    My vet insists that my 80 pound dog needs to lose weight for his knee issues, but he has the most resilient body I have ever seen. It really doesn’t matter how much he eats–lots, little, nothing (he’s usually not very food motivated), his weight is stable within 2lbs.

    Seeing how different my dogs are is part of what convinced me to stop dieting–the dog I described above changes for nothing, my other pup will lose weight if you look at him wrong, and it’s always a struggle to get him enough calories.

    The stable one is “chunky” the other is thin (a greyhound) and both weigh 80 pounds. Chunky is WAY more active than thin, but eats, literally, half as much. A little light went on in my head about four years ago…maybe I’m really not fat due to unrestricted gluttony.

  8. Jane Says:

    BARF! I don’t have any animals, but I know all about BARF because of “Dirty Jobs” – they showed just how they make it (though this company appeared to only make dog-friendly BARF). Zevon looks like a mighty cool cat.

  9. Twistie Says:

    I love that Zevon is named for Warren! He’s one of my all-time favorite singers.

    Once upon a time we had three cats called Hugh, Sonya, and Moose (so named because he liked Moosehead beer. Don’t ask). Moose was the baby and half the size of the other two, but he was definitely the cat in charge.

    At dinner time, we would feed Hugh and Sonya out of a two-sided bowl and give Moose a bowl of his own across the room. Moose would gulp his food down at lightning speed while Hugh and Sonya were both slower eaters.

    The hilarious thing was that as soon as Moose finished his own food, he would invariably head across the room, reach out one claw, hook it over the side of Hugh and Sonya’s bowl, and slowly inch it away from them. The damn thing was, niether one of them could ever figure out what was happening or how. Most of the time we managed to pull the dish back before Moose got more than an extra bite or two, but there were a few times we got distracted at just the wrong time and Hugh and Sonya lost most of their dinners.

    Moose never got fat, Sonya never got thin.

  10. meowser Says:

    Love the cat stories, everyone! No such thing as too many.

    Jodith, I suppose we probably will have the vet run thyroid tests if he keeps gaining weight on what he’s eating now, or maybe even if he doesn’t lose any. But clinical hypothyroidism is fairly rare in cats, although hyperthyroid is very common in cats 18 and older. My theory is that he has a slow metabolism from being neutered so young (the group I got him from neutered him at 7 weeks of age).

  11. Vidya Says:

    He looks just like my kitty, Boo! (Well, except Boo is dark gray. But exactly the same size/shape!) Boo is also a moderate eater and avid player. But this b.s. makes me glad I generally treat my cats myself (I’m a long time student of natural medicine). If any ‘vet’ tried to pull the weight crap on me, he/she would see how fast I’d take my cat elsewhere.

  12. Brian Says:

    I switched vets for my dog when she was around 5 years old. As he was putting her on the scale I asked, “Should I work on getting her to lose any weight?” to which he replied, “Well, that’s our cat over there.” The vet’s office cat resembled the one you posted, and I kept that vet forever :-). -L-

  13. Gemma Says:

    Cats can safely be given raw meaty bones, whole, if they’re soft (and not weight bearing). It’s really good for their teeth, and is a lot more convenient than grinding (and cheaper than buying ground). There’s a lot of great websites about just this, if you’re interested. It’s a personal choice, though. 🙂 I just like the fact that raw bones clean teeth!

  14. Elizabeth Twist Says:

    Just FYI, you can indeed feed cats and dogs chunks of meat from the grocery store direct to your cats, sans grinding. In fact, the chewing and crunching they have to do is even better for them than eating pre-ground raw. I switched my 10 year-old cat to this diet when he was poop exploding, a la Zevon. I feed him and my one year old dog this way – mostly chicken. Surprisingly, even the cat can chew up most bones in a smallish chicken. The dog gets extra veggies at the end of the day. I supplement them both with fish oil. They love it!
    http://www.rawfedcats.org/ is a good resource for more info.

  15. hera Says:

    Hey dere,

    I have a Fat Cat also, and I have discovered that what’s true for humans is also true for cats. At least, for MY cats:


    I have had cats all my life, and I know it sounds bizarre — maybe as bizarre as saying this same thing about people does, to non-FA humans — but my fat cats have always been the healthiest.

    Love, Hera

  16. peggynature Says:

    I have a fat kitty too (around 20 lbs.) I also have a normal-sized kitty, and a quite thin kitty. I take care of them all equally, and they all eat the same food (though not in the same amounts.)

    I have also been afraid about getting the weight lecture from the vets, and I have also heard the warning about fat cats losing weight and getting fatty liver. People love to tell me, when I tell them how fat my cat is, that he will likely develop diabetes and die. Wow, thanks, guys!

    So far, everyone’s healthy. The fatty is prone to respiratory tract infections, and I honestly think that’s why he’s so fat. I think there’s a protective mechanism there, and if he hadn’t been so very fat, his last serious infection would have killed him. Instead, he just lost a lot of weight, was in the vets on IV for several days, and then he came home and gained it back and has been fine since.

    One time, long ago, I tried putting the cats on a “diet.” You know what happened? Yeah, they freaked the fuck out and made my life a living hell, they were so frantic about the food (and it’s not like I was starving them; they just suddently didn’t have access to food 24/7. As it is, when we leave food out, the three of them eat about 3 cups a day, total.)

    So, all in all, these experiences have made me a big believer in HAES and fat acceptance for pets as well. And I often wonder about the fatty liver infiltration in humans — all I know is that when your body removes cholesterol and triglycerides from its system (using HDL), it does go to your liver for disposal. And humans definitely can get fatty liver disease, and even cirrhosis, from too much fat building up there. What I don’t know is whether weight loss can directly cause this, but it seems something worth looking into.

  17. Sarah Says:

    What an interesting post! I’m glad Zevon is healthy.

    He looks fantastic, by the way.

    I’d like to meet his tailor.

  18. Krista Says:

    I’m so glad you posted this, because I have a sort-of similar “problem” with my big kitty. He weighs 25 lbs. He came to me weighing 21 as a full-time outdoor cat. He lost 4 lbs (I think because of the stress of changing owners and because I misread the label on the cat food). Now I free feed dry, high-quality cat food that is for “weight loss”. His coat looks terrible (dull with flaky skin) but the vet wants me to allow him even less fat. I feel bad restricting his food because he was starved as a kitten. Anyone have any advice?

    Also, re: BARF…do you have to give them all taurine supplements?

  19. Rachel Says:

    I have five kitties. The fourth youngest, Teddy, I’ve raised since he was about a week-old. Of course he would turn out to be my largest cat. He weighs now about 18-pounds, but of my five cats, he and the kitten we got for him last year are the most active. I began taking Teddy to the vet last year after he developed lumps in his armpit. The vet lectured me about his weight and gave me the diabetes scare and told me to put him on a diet where I put down a specified amount of food for all the cats just two times a day for 15 minutes each. I told him that I can’t do that because one of my cats was semi-feral when I got her and she only eats when we’re gone and would therefore starve. I compromised by removing the food dish overnight. This resulted in Teddy now sleeping on our bed and us waking up with him on our chests licking our face. Oh, and the vet gave him a steroid shot for the lumps, which made him gain an extra pound. Ironically, I had brought my oldest cat in before and expressed concern that she is underweight (she weighs less than 7 pounds and you can feel her bones) and the vet said not to worry about it.

    The lumps returned some months later and I brought Teddy back in. This time the vet was on vacation and we saw a substitute instead. I asked her about Teddy’s weight, since he had gained a pound and she said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Some cats are just meant to be larger cats.” She gave him another steroid shot (which meant another pound gained) and we were on our way. About 8 months later, the lumps returned and so did we to the vet’s office where we got yet another lecture about Teddy’s weight. I insisted that he’s very active and otherwise healthy (he’s indoors only), that we play with him often, and that with five cats and communal food bowls, I can’t possibly regulate how much food he eats. Steroid shots are supposed to be a temporary thing, so he referred me to a feline dermatologist for the lumps. He wanted to do a very costly biopsy first to check if its leukemia, but when I looked up the symptoms of leukemia (extreme weight loss, loss of appetite and energy, listlessness, etc…) I knew that wasn’t the case.

    We saw the new vet and now being self-conscious about Teddy’s weight, I asked her if it was a concern. She said, “Nope, he’s active, he eats quality food and he’s healthy. His bones alone weigh 7 pounds. He’s just a bigger cat.” As it turns out, Teddy’s lumps were the result of a food allergy. I switched to the organic brand and he’s now A-OK.

    Two out of three vets can’t be wrong.

  20. Shinobi Says:

    I have a black kitty who looks just like Zevon, she is also a chubby snuggle ball. (I just love their squisy tummies.)

    She was actually quite thin when I got her, but she’s really chunked out. I have been thinking about looking into BARF. But I’m without much in terms of resources right now, I’ll have to check and see how much it would cost, we’re going to be lucky just to keep the whole family fed. 😦

  21. Open thread: Your fat cat and pudgy pup stories » The-F-Word.org Says:

    […] over at FatFu shared her recent fat cat experiences in this funny and insightful post, sparking an outpouring of other similar fat-pet-owner anecdotes, including my own. I’ve […]

  22. Piffle Says:

    Oh, and my cat that liked fruit, he was 18-20 pounds and died at seventeen of liver cancer; no diabetes. He had a good long life and an ego larger than the solar system.

  23. buttercup Says:

    Zevon is a beaut!

    I have a standard size cat (figment) and a roly poly boy (biscuit) and have been wondering how to tackle this. I wonder if I can find someone around here who does the raw diets?

    Biscuit needs to get more exercise or something because he can’t reach his back to wash it-we have to wash it for him. that’s not normal for a cat no matter how big it is. Since we switched to premium food, he’s chunked up quite a bit (while Figment has simply become more sleek.)

    Off to google raw food for cats in pittsburgh!

  24. meowser Says:

    Zevon’s hair is purrfect

    I’d like to meet his tailor

    BWAH! “Werewolves of London” jokes never stop being funny.

    About the squishy-belly thing: Surprisingly, Zevon doesn’t really have one. He has a little bit of loose skin on the tummy, but not too much. He’s one of those cats who has a lot of muscle in addition to a lot of fat (as opposed to Binkley, who IS squishy).

    And believe me, I understand about the cost. It would be great if you could find this stuff in Safeway and it didn’t cost any more than supermarket kibbles. Maybe someday.

    (I’m editing the post to add a link to catnutrition.org. They’ve got some information on mail-order supplies, as well as complete instructions for making the food yourself.)

  25. Jackie Says:

    Okay, who thought that BARF was a good acronym for a diet?

  26. erin Says:

    My cat, Andy, was being fed raw food by his foster when I adopted him, so I continued the practise. However, he stopped eating after awhile, or would just have a little bit but then come to me meowing his head off because he was hungry. I eventually figured out that he has gingivitis and chomping at the raw food hurt his mouth. Now I feed him Natural Balance wet food, which he *loves*, with some grain-free kibbles for him to graze on during the day, and he eats much more consistently now.

    He’s also a big ‘un – 18.5lbs when I got him weighed. But he eats until he’s full and then stops so I haven’t ever been concerned. There’s just more of him to squish!

  27. spacedcowgirl Says:

    Zevon! He is adorable.

    I agree with you on HAES for cats and all that, so I have no comments except “great post” on the original post, but wanted to reply to Krista. My cat Saima used to have a duller-looking coat with some flaky dandruff at the base of her tail (our vet claimed she was too fat to wash herself–she’s like 13 lbs. This was not true.) She also used to get recurrent ear infections, and giving her ear drops is no walk in the park, plus the drops never seemed to cure them. Unrelatedly, when the Chinese pet food scare occurred, I started looking for a different food for that reason.

    Around the same time the vet coincidentally told us that recurrent ear infections in cats are often caused by food allergies (something we had never been told before, and she’s 10 years old). The vet wanted to put her on Royal Canin low-allergen food, but for one thing RC was one of the brands implicated in the pet food scare and I didn’t want to give them my money; and for another, the food had soy protein isolate and I was too worried about the quality of those type of ingredients (plus, I was skeptical that “soy protein isolate” was really a good or “low-allergen” thing for a cat to be eating seeing as they’d never encounter anything like that in nature). Also, our younger cat wasn’t supposed to eat it, and they free-feed so it was going to be next to impossible to keep her away from it. I could see going to the trouble if I actually had faith in the new food addressing a serious health issue, but I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice when I wasn’t even convinced the new food was healthy.

    So as I was learning about these things, I went looking for brands that did not use Chinese ingredients or at least didn’t use processed grain concentrates, figuring this would make it less likely for them to contain ingredients that would have been tampered with. My thought was we could try these and see if they were also better for her ears, because it seemed to me in a general sense that less grain and a simpler recipe would mean the food might also be less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

    After trying a few, it became clear that one called Felidae was palatable to both cats and Saima’s dandruff disappeared, plus she became more energetic and playful. We gave her one more course of medication (I tried a new one, Tresaderm, on the advice of a friend, since the former Otomax hadn’t been working… so maybe that’s what made the difference… who knows) and she hasn’t had an ear infection since (about a year now). I know it’s all circumstantial evidence, but I’d say we found a food that she is not allergic to. Maybe Krista could try a similar trial-and-error. Felidae is fairly inexpensive and widely available and similarly, many of the other simpler or more natural foods are not really that much more than store brands.

    For full disclosure, and I hate to even type this out, our younger cat Freya died last January, and this was after starting on the Felidae (though not immediately after). But I believe 100% that the food had absolutely nothing to do with her death. She died suddenly one night and the vet told us it appeared she had thrown a blood clot to her brain. Another thing we’d never been told before, but apparently this is quite common and appears to be related to heart chamber development and possibly genetic. I didn’t see anything about food or accidental poisoning or anything like that being a contributing factor when I did some research on it later. I wanted to mention it, as I said, to be totally up-front, but I can’t imagine the food had any bearing on this.

    I don’t think I can do BARF… if I thought Saima wasn’t getting good nutrition or wasn’t healthy, I’d maybe suck it up, but raw meat is just so gross and unsanitary to me that I don’t want to mess with it multiple times a day.

  28. meowser Says:

    Krista: BARF advocates usually recommend that you use ground-up giblets (heart, liver, gizzard) as a taurine source, preferably from the same type of animal as the muscle-meat source. Some cats also just like the giblets plain, not ground up, and that’s fine too. (The muscle meat doesn’t necessarily have to be ground up either, it’s just easier to give the cat other things, like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, if it’s ground.) I once watched Pendo wrestle with a piece of raw liver for about 20 minutes. He was having the time of his life and wouldn’t let his brothers touch it!

    Jackie: I have no idea who thought up that acronym. It is pretty unappetizing, but at least the animals don’t know anything about it.

    SCG: I’m so sorry for your loss. And I doubt I would have started doing this either, if not for the poopgifts. If you found another solution, that’s great. (I’m not down with the self-righteous smugness of some of the BARF advocates out there; there are about as many companion animals in the world as there are humans, and they all need to eat something.)

  29. spacedcowgirl Says:

    Oops! I didn’t mean to sound as judgy about or down on BARF as I did there. I was basically just stream-of-consciousness-ing about my feelings on it. I actually think it’s a great idea and probably healthiest for the cats… it’s just that knowing my own shortcomings and squick factor, I probably wouldn’t do it unless the cat’s well-being seemed to require it. I also don’t think we have a convenient local source for prepared BARF (hee) around here.

  30. spacedcowgirl Says:

    And thanks for your sympathy. It was awful… she was only 3 years old, the sweetest, nicest kitty ever, and we had no inkling she was ill (she had been quieter lately, but we assumed she was just growing out of being a kitten… it breaks my heart to think maybe she was just feeling too tired to play as much because of the heart condition). And then one night, bam, she was dead.

  31. Tanya Says:

    I loved reading that about your cat. When I saw the picture of Zevon, he instantly reminded me of my own kitty Shai. She’s a voluptuous little thing, compact and curvy, and very fluffy (she pretty much halves in size when she gets a bath). The funny thing is, she reacts really badly to being called Fat. If I hadn’t witnessed it happening, I wouldn’t believe it. But I’ve seen her disposition do a 180 degree turn with the utterance of the word fat in her direction (people have suffered for their words).

    She eats the same amount as my other cat Pablo who is a tall lanky kitty. They get the same amount of exercise. Hell, they’re both indoor cats so not only do my husband and I go out of our way to get them charging around the place but we’re also very careful about what and how much we feed them.

    My best friend is a vet and she checks our cats over when she comes to visit. She says Shai is fine at the size she is, and that she’s just a different shape from Pablo. As long as they’re both healthy, I’m happy 🙂

  32. noludoru Says:

    Okay, so.. I know this is old… but it’s such a pleasant surprise to read about barf (most people I know actually call it ‘raw’ – as in feeding raw food) diets for pets on a blog that isn’t even about pets. Usually I’m desperately trying not to give into the temptation to educate people about brands like Science Diet and Alpo.

    I have a chubby kitty, too – she’s about 10lbs now and should be 6-7. Since we’re feeding her an all wet diet and she’s happy, healthy, and extremely active I don’t worry about her weight or try to get her to lose any. I actually think her problems started when the vet yelled at us to put her on a diet and we screwed up her metabolism by basically starving her, per vets instructions. So now if ANY vets have something to say about her weight, my response is always that she is healthy, active, and eats good food. I leave it at that unless they push for me to start feeding her kibble.

  33. The Kitty Who Taught This Fatass How to Love « fat fu Says:

    […] 8 years now. And Zevon actually weighs quite a bit less than him now and has been mostly fine since the food switch, about which more later.) I pretty much had to clean out my life savings to try to save Pendo after […]

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