Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kitty Health at Every Size?

I'm a big proponent of the Health at Every Size concept. I believe that fat is value-neutral, and that a person's quest for fitness and health is private and individual, and they deserve to be treated as a human being whether they are healthy or not, fat or not.

What about pets, though?

We have a whole pile of pets. One dog, four cats, two bunnies. We love and cherish all of them, but Biscuit has been with us longest.

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(Biscuit has a facebook page, too, feel free to visit and "like" him.)


Anyway. Biscuit is a very fat kitty. As you can maybe tell.

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I think he started getting fat when Anna went away to college. He's her cat, she raised him from an unweaned kitten to the magnificence he is today.

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It might be genetic programming, it might be a consequence of depression or separation anxiety, it might be something to do with some urinary tract problems he had as a younger cat. The main point is, this cat is fat. He's not able to clean himself completely and he's been seeming unhappy too, though that might be projection, because I'd damn sure be unhappy if I couldn't clean my ass.

A few months ago we switched to a very high quality protein dense dry food, Merrick Before Grain Tuna flavor. He did lose a little weight on that but not much. We can't do diet cat food (and I wouldn't anyway) because we have three other cats eating, none of whom would fare well on reduced calories, especially the growing kitten.

So I've decided to try to take a HAES approach to Biscuit. To increase his well-being and health as much as possible without considering his weight in and of itself a problem. I'm planning more frequent brushings, engaging with him more often, keeping an eye on his "back end" to see if he needs cleaning more than we have been. And most importantly, finding an exercise he likes and will do. That's going to be hard. He doesn't like to play.

We have two feeding stations, one upstairs and one down. The upstairs one is on a table so the dog doesn't eat it. The downstairs one is on the floor. Biscuit mostly eats from the downstairs bowl and I don't really want to move that one to a high place to make him jump, because I don't want him jumping down. I'm afraid he'll hurt himself and his delicate little feets.

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Yoga? Stretching? Flexing? He's not into catnip. He doesn't like to play with the string toys. He won't play "chase me" with the kitten or Figment, though he does like to fight with Biddy if he gets a chance. I don't want to harness him and take him for walks because he is terrified of outside and would freak out.

Chances are he is fine, just a fat, aging cat who is getting curmudgeonly in his older age. But if I can help him get better fitness, I want to do so.

Any suggestions are most welcomed! And appreciated, by all of us.

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