Sunday, June 12, 2005

(Belated) Friday Cat Blogging


Dr. Zaius lived with me for one glorious year from Spring 2000 to Spring 2001. He was an overwight "loaner cat" from one of my best friends, who needed to give him up temporarily while she moved in with a roommate with ferocious pet allergies. At roughly 20 pounds, The Doctor had swelled to an unhealthy girth as a consequence of his unrestrained appetite and his human companion's overindulgent American parenting. He joined my two cats, Henry and Emma, who — notwithstanding their own peculiar faults — could not number gluttony as their defining sin. Their food dishes were constantly full, but they knew how to walk away from a meal. The insatiable Dr. Zaius, however, could not be trusted. Given the opportunity, he would have gobbled dry food until he burst like an overplumped sausage.

This posed innumerable practical difficulties. How could I convince Henry and Emma — who were used to a nibble here and a nibble there — to consume a mere two meals a day? How could I persuade Dr. Zaius to eat modestly? How could I properly nourish these diverse beasts without overfeeding one or starving the others?

After several failed experiments, I realized that Henry and Emma were able to leap to places that the more earth-bound Dr. Zaius could not. For the next year, my cats took their meals on top of a 6-foot bookshelf — where they were free to eat as much and as often as they liked — while their chunky companion waited patiently beneath them, hoping beyond reason that the horn o' plenty might suddenly fall to the floor, dry nuggets scattering about like little wholesome biscuits from God. Twice a day, I would take a break from writing my dissertation to gather a quarter cup of kibble, sit on the floor in the kitchen and toss single pieces across the tile and watch The Doctor scramble desperately for his daily nourishment. Mingled with daily self-esteem lectures, meditation techniques, and massive doses of ephedrine, our special aerobic feeding regime resulted in a satisfying loss of two entire pounds.

Today we offer our congratulations to the fabulous Dr. Zaius, who recently topped the scales at a sleek 16.5 pounds. Check out those abs!