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Prevention, IKEA, and Lee Valley

March 12, 2012

Obesity ~ it’s an ugly word.  And a dangerous condition.  But certain populations are waddling down that road.  As “normal” creeps ever outward, as serving sizes and even dish dimensions expand, it’s difficult to know, to remember, what is healthy.  But not impossible.  A doctor would know and could tell you what over weight means, possibly even what to do about it.  Diet and exercise, people.

But I’m not talking about you.  You are a grown-up and can make your own informed decisions  On your frame be the consequences.  No, my concern is for Fido and Fluff.  They eat what we give them, sometimes more than they need because they’re bored… or lonely…   sound familiar?  Okay, maybe I am talking about you us.  These creatures, with whom we have made a covenant to care for by taking them into our homes and families, are often last on the household list.  Toss down a pile of Chow™, enough to keep them out of our hair while we do all the important things.  But their needs are not so much less complex than our own.  Sure, food keeps us going and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie is certainly a balm to the soul, but truly, we all need affection and interaction.  And what we do for them is good for us.  (I love the interwebs! Check out this search.)

Beyond the soothing effect of stroking a soft cat ~to both petter Staff and pettee HRH~ and the cardiac benefits of running with the dog, I have found a peculiar combination of portion control for the kitty and creative micro-management for myself.  Yes, the latter is deeply satisfying for me.  My world is a happy place when there is a tedious little system to keep things just the way they ought to be.  Now, the first cat for whom I was entirely responsible had a dish of kibble, all the time, as much as she wanted.  Some animals, like people, self-regulate and remain trim.  Poor Mango was not one of them.  It was a long road bringing her back to a healthy weight.  So, Kiwi’s bag of kibble recommends, for her size, 1/2 cup per day.  But she, like me, is a grazer.  She likes to eat after napping.  She’s a cat.  She sleeps 16 hours a day, many naps.

Her kibble is stored in a lovely IKEA jar, matching much of the rest of our kitchen.  Its frosted surface takes chalk drawing like a dream.  Artsy.  But how to track how much she was eating if I was feeding her 6 or 7 times a day?  I had in my possession for no other reason than, “Hey cool! I wonder what I could do with these?” a set of rare earth magnets.  The jar’s lid has a stainless steel band.  Voilá!  An abackibblus: 8 tiny magnets ~one for each portion to be dispensed~ slide around from one side of the lid to the other through the course of the day.  Essential when 1st Breakfast might happen at 5:30 a.m., when I stagger out for a drink of water or such.  I would never be able to remember for certain whether she’d had 1 or 3 servings before I’m conscious.  And she can’t trick the Man either.  It’s very plain that no, she hasn’t been starved for weeks since he left for work this morning.  And I know when she’s talked him out of a scoop.

This may sound freakishly controlling.  Hello, my name is Molly and I’m a control freak.  Yes, I know.  Here again, God is using my four-legged child to teach me.  How can I tell her, “No, it isn’t time yet,” when she says she’s hungry and I’m reaching into the snack basket myself.  Usually, by bedtime, she’s right on track.  And if occasionally she’s not, it won’t hurt her.  Moderation and monitoring:  I will notice if her ribs start feeling plush and we can play together a little more.  Good for her, good for me.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 14:53

    Our cat, a rescue, has. . . issues about food and will eat all the time if you let her. We think it is because she was homeless and had to fend for herself. But she is still her trim 6.5-7 lb svelte self, because I’m strict. Now that she’s about 14, her only exercise is running between nap spot and the food bowl to see what’s in it. Basically she’s 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. eater, but she starts her whining and looking anxious (can’t you see I’m starving!) about an hour before that.

    • March 12, 2012 14:59

      Good job! It’s hard doing the right thing for them when they put on the “poor pitiful me” routine. And maybe they do always remember the times they didn’t know whence cometh the next meal.

  2. Eleanore Gigandet permalink
    March 12, 2012 17:31

    Hmmm, I just visited an old friend in LA who has a kitty… said kitty has manipulated her into thinking he needs ‘snacks’ every half hour, or so. I think I will send this to her…………

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