Just Enough

William visited the vet Monday to assess the efficacy of the weight loss program he began in December.

Christmas 2014: William, Ernest, their rug, their welcome mat, their mice, bits of cardboard from their scratch lounge. © MKWaller

Before continuing, I’ll note the difference between this visit and the one last December: On Monday, David took William for his checkup, and a good time was had by all. In December, I took him, and he bit me, and I had to go the emergency clinic so my arm wouldn’t fall off.  And the vet tech was doing the same thing to him both times. But I needed a tetanus shot anyway.

To resume–I wasn’t surprised when David reported there had been no efficacy at all.

For the past three months, we’ve fed the guys less, and better quality, cat food, but William’s waistline hasn’t shrunk. Neither has Ernest’s, and he could stand some shrinkage, too. They rarely ate all they were fed. But even less food was too much.

Solution: No more grazing. No more nocturnal snacking. When they finish a meal, food disappears. That’s it. No more. Nada.

Today we began serious dieting. Breakfast was served between 10:00 a.m. and noon. (I got a late start, so they did, too.) They left half uneaten. I trashed it. Dinner would be served at 6:00

In the early afternoon, they appeared in the living room. Ernest did his usual thing–positioned his posterior on the arm of the recliner and propped his front end on my shoulder, then tried to scooch the rest of the way across and drape himself over the rest of me. I can’t see the keyboard that way, so I did my usual thing and resisted.

But William did the unusual–he sat in front of my chair and stared at me.

Christmas 2014: William's dish.
Christmas 2014: William’s dish. © MKWaller

By mid-afternoon, I felt like a swimmer in a shark tank. I typed, they circled. Then both sat and stared. Then they sashayed back and forth from me to the empty dishes.William meowed. Most days he speaks only to Ernest and to David, and in a conversational tone. My meow sounded like a cuss word.

I promised their papá would serve dinner at the appointed time.

An hour later, the situation had worsened . They trotted around the house at my heels. They emitted faint little mews: “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

I truly sympathized. I felt their pain. I suggested they do something to take their minds off their stomachs. That’s what I do.

Such as, once about a zillion years ago, when I was in the third week of a medically supervised liquid fast, I took my mind off my stomach by feeding the sad, hungry stray dog that had occupied the garage for a week, thus ensuring I would feed him the next day, and the next, and every day after that for the rest of his life.

(And to put minds at ease, I’ll add that what the other participants in the program and I commonly called a fast was not the kind Gandhi went on, that doctors were in charge, that I was adequately fed, and, after the third week, not hungry, and that I never felt so good in my life as I did during the seven months I lived on 520 calories a day. There is nothing so energizing as a ketosis high.)

Well, anyway, the guys pooh-poohed the stray dog idea and kept on channeling Oliver Twist.

I couldn’t stand it. “Three bites, I will give each of you three bites. That’s it. Three bites.”

Ernest vacuumed up his bites as soon as they hit the dish. William sat on his haunches, looked at the kibble, looked at Ernest, looked at the kibble, looked at me. I’ve known for a long time that William is passive aggressive.

Christmas 2014: Ernest’s dish. © MKWaller

Finally I said something like, “Eat the (*$))T(#@^&^ food.” I don’t approve of strong language, but I was trying to hold Ernest back from invading William’s territory and scarfing down a total of six bites. Cussing seemed right. Especially since William had already cussed at me.

When he was ready, William ate, slowly and daintily. He then padded into the living room and lay down on his rug. Poor old Ernest kept on begging. His metabolism is faster than William’s. He moves around more. Sometimes it seems William has no metabolism at all.

And that’s what makes this kitty diet challenging–two cats, different needs. Could I try feeding them on opposite sides of a closed door?

Not unless I want the door to be shredded. Which I don’t.

It’s now nearly midnight. Two kitty dishes sit on the kitchen floor. They’ve been there for four hours, too long, really. One is empty. The other appears untouched.

Ernest just ate a bit more and now sits on his rug, washing his face. William sits there washing his feet. I don’t know when he last partook.

I wish I could make them understand that soon I will remove both dishes. When they want their midnight, or whenever, snack, it won’t be there.

I don’t want them to overeat. I want them to satisfy their nutritional needs. I want them to eat enough. Just enough.

Just enough to keep them from goose stepping all over me in the middle of the night.

Just enough to stave off hunger pangs so I may wake in the morning, all by myself, refreshed, no cat standing on the pillow batting at my nose.

Just enough. Oh, sure.

Fat chance.

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