Saturday, 12 May 2007
Bixy has a problem
It's a fairly common one - I suffer from it as well - he's overweight. He went to the vet for a routine check-up and jabs last week and his weight came out at 10 kilos - he is a very large cat anyway but that's about 2-3 kilos more than he should be and it isn't funny. The worst is he risks diabetes which is serious enough in humans but even more so in cats apparently because it's more difficult to manage. He also has other problems - there are bits of him he can't reach well enough to groom effectively (don't ask!) and some of his fur is beginning to mat - though he's a short-hair his fur is very thick - though I am gradually (at some risk to life and limb - he's very firm about what he doesn't like) getting the matted fur out a bit at a time.
He's about nine years old now. He arrived from the vets as a six-month old fully-grown kitten/young adult with a broken leg. The police had found him and taken him in for euthanasia, but he was such a nice cat they decided to repair the leg instead, and pinned it. I'd lost two cats due to old age in the previous year and was left with a comparatively young tabby who was used to having other cats around and craved feline company, so the vet contacted me to see if I'd be interested and he moved in with us later that week.
From the start he was extremely characterful, not to mention musical, with a vocal range of about four octaves. It was hard work trying to stop him doing the things he wasn't supposed to do like jumping onto and off things. After a period of the usual animosity you get when a new cat is introduced to the household he and Hoagy became firm friends. Once his leg healed he became well-known and liked in the neighbourhood though he proved to have a talent for getting locked into places (on one occasion 36 hours in a neighbour's cellar - and the first thing he wanted to do once he'd eaten was go back out again).
He's also been amazing with younger cats, mothering both Django and Pepper who arrived as kittens, really impressive in the gentle way he played with them - Pepper still regards Bixy as his mum and they're usually to be found curled up together somewhere. Hoagy eventually died of cancer and spent his last evening with Bixy having his head licked...
Bixy's love of adventure subsided as he got older. This was a relief at the time but his weight-gain is an unfortunate side-effect of this, together with his liking for good food and his willingness to clear up the other cats' left-overs. It's difficult getting him to diet while there are three other cats in the house, but I'm trying to do it by feeding them all small portions (no left-overs for him to scoff) whilst sneaking the other cats extra snacks between meals (though I'm having to be inventive about this as Bixy keeps finding their secret stash and demolishing it). On the other hand he is getting a lot more exercise hunting everywhere for food!
Any ideas and tips gladly appreciated!