When Chris brought home the Crumb from the Cambridge Humane Society, lo these two and a half years ago, we discussed his “story” at length. He’d been a stray, but at some point he’d belonged to someone who’d obviously taken good care of him. He was plump, neutered, front declawed, had healthy fur and good teeth (they guesstimated his age at 8-10), was used to dogs (he had zero fear of the psychotically excited bulldog spinning in circles around him), and had a collar dent on his neck. He has insisted since day one that he should be allowed to go outside to play. (Not likely.) He also had (and has) an extreme fear of plastic bags and freaks out so badly in a carrier that he has wet himself on the way to the vet.
Anyway, based on what I noticed of his attitude towards and manner of eating kibble, I was curious as to whether he was more used to canned food. So as an experiment I bought some and gave him a smidgen (about a teaspoon’s worth) one morning. The experiment was, to put it midly, a success. (I should note at this point that the Crumb is an extremely smart animal. To quote Chris, “If he were any smarter I’d be changing the locks…”) Unfortunately, at the time, me being naive about cats in general and the intelligence of this cat in particular, it did not occur to me that the beast would begin waking me up in the morning to get fed disgusting canned food. (He’s always been mainly fed kibble, this is just a snack.) Eventually I smartened up, after about the 100th time being awoken at the butt crack of dawn on the weekend by the goddamned cat, and switched the feeding time to supper. That way I could feed him when I got home from work. Much better.
At some point, Baloo also got in on the act, and would either come downstairs and gaze mournfully at me, or shove his sibling out of the way to get to the dish. And so I started buying canned dog food, too, and giving him a bit daily as well. (Oh yes, I am a gigantic sucker for the pets, I don’t deny it.) Now, in Baloo’s case, the feeding actually often had a purpose, since when he is displeased about… anything, really, he’ll stop eating his kibble. And then he’ll start barfing frothy, bile-tinged messes that stain the carpet. If he eats a bit – and he never turns down canned food – he won’t barf.
However, in the past year, Baloo gained seven pounds. Now, he’s a bulldog, and has generally come in on the svelte side (partly due to his periodic neurotic fasts), so you can’t even really tell where the weight is. He’s now in the neighbourhood of 70lbs. Which is fine and healthy, but plenty for a dog who is only knee-high, and who can launch himself at your head or crotch when he’s excited.
The Crumb, on the other hand, is another story. He weighed 16lbs on the dot when we got him, and in his first year here gained .1lbs. So nothing to worry about. In the second year with us, however, he gained considerably more than that. Chris didn’t remember exactly how much the vet said, but I am certain he weighs between 17 and 18lbs now. (I’d weigh him myself but we don’t own a scale.) Now, this isn’t a grotesque amount, and the Crumb is a big, beefy cat to begin with, but hell will freeze over before we end up with one of those pathetic, spherical cats who can’t even groom himself. I am more tolerant about dogs gaining weight than cats, especially in the winter – my dogs always put on some weight (which was good, since they were outside so much). And I can always take Baloo over to see Barney and Gordie, and take him to the dog park in the summer. However, there is no cat park, and the Crumb hates Barney. Plus, besides being an indoor cat, the Crumb is bloody picky about his exercise methods of choice. So dropping his weight is going to be a challenge. (He’s already on a weight maintenance senior cat food.) We know he loves his mini soccer balls, and there are about a dozen littering the house at this point. He also loves Q-tips, and hunts and kills a half-dozen a week. We have two shiny/fluffy/whatever on a stick toys, too, which he likes. However, if he gets a hold of them he destroys them pretty quickly, so they’re used sparingly.
Of course, the easiest way to control his weight is to control how much he eats. And he doesn’t need the canned food. (I’d love to try the BARF diet with both pets, but, well, neither of them is mine, and for some reason I wouldn’t do it unless I was home during the day.) Aaaaanyway, in the interest of a svelte, healthy Crumb (and, by extension, Baloo), I decided to discontinue the dinner snack of canned food. I stopped stocking up when I went grocery shopping, and used the remaining cans.
This afternoon I finished the last can. From here on in, neither of them gets canned food. At best, I will be treated to several days of extremely annoyed cat and confused and mopey dog. There may be pooping outside of litter boxes. At worst… well, see the title of this post… 🙂