An article ran in the paper a couple years ago about an obese cat who liked to eat waffles and the diet and exercise plan that the family put him on. I’m reprinting it here (illegally) because it’s very funny and also very meaningful to me. We have a saying in our family now, derived from the story. The first time we used it was when we were car shopping and I felt uncomfortable looking at one of the Toyotas because of how much money it would cost. The husband said, “Dip the waffle in the milk, Laura. It’s ok.” So now this is what we say when we talk about indulging ourselves (or over-indulging ourselves, as the case may be).
No more waffles and syrup, no more snitching from his siblings’ bowls and no more heaping helpings of anything for Oscar James “Love” Brumfield.
“I have never seen a 31-pound cat,” said Amite veterinarian Dr. Drew Doucet.
The huge half-Manx feline has a large frame anyway, but it looks as though he swallowed a basketball. He should weigh 17 to 20 pounds, but it’s going to take some serious work to get him there, Doucet said.
Owners Christie and John Brumfield of Greensburg became concerned about Oscar’s health and cut him off from “people food” about six months ago.
“When we first stopped, he would sit at our feet and he would cry,” Christie said. “Now he will sit in front of us and stretch out and be all cute.”
It’s hard to resist his food-begging antics, but the Brumfields have decided they must do it for the sake of Oscar’s health.
Oscar will eat almost anything from the table, including salads. But his favorite dish is waffles and syrup with a glass of ice-cold milk on the side.
When his head got too big to fit in the glass, Oscar found a way to keep enjoying his favorite treat, much to the amusement of his people.
“He would pick up the waffle piece with his paw, put it in the glass of milk and then put it into his mouth. We have pictures of him eating waffles. We laugh all the time. He is hours of entertainment,” Christie said.
Doucet, however, is not amused.
Oscar was placed on a cat-food-only diet in December and still managed to gain another pound by stealing food from the bowls of his siblings.
If his own bowl was too far away, Oscar would reach out a long paw and drag it to him and dine while laying on his side.
Now the siblings’ bowls are placed too high for him to jump and his own cat-rations are cut back by 25 percent.
Exercise is also part of the program. The Brumfields see to it that Oscar does daily “crunches.”
A cat toy on the end of a fishing pole line is dangled on his belly while he’s laying on his back. The cat lifts his upper body forward to reach for it, thereby accomplishing a feline version of a sit up.
“On the fifth try we let him get it,” she said.
Doucet has suggested a high-fiber, low fat diet feed and has given Oscar some medication to encourage him to move around more.
Oscar will be weighed every two weeks to monitor changes.
“My goal is to make this cat lose 10 pounds in a year,” Doucet said.
Cats cannot tolerate extra weight as well as dogs and people do, he said, noting that Oscar doesn’t have enough lung tissue to keep up with his severely overweight body. Even 10 percent over the normal weight can cause medical problems for a cat, Doucet said.
Changing his lifestyle, eating habits and perhaps his expectations will make a difference. It also means the Brumfields must better understand what Oscar is really up to when he begs for food.
“Animals really associate food with love,” Doucet said. “They are like drug addicts for love. They eat when they are not hungry, and we think it’s hunger. But they are preying on our emotions and we are sympathetic.”
From the AP Wire, but you can read it here, too: Pet Owner uses Trickery to Help Dieting Cat