July 25, 208
I took Zach into the vet today. He’s getting matted fur on his back and hips near his tail. He’s only gotten one other mat that I’ve known of and that was from an abscess so I wanted to make sure he was alright. I know from when I had my sheep dog, that if you let mats go, they can develop sores under them and they can become infected.
The first thing they do at the vet, after digging the cat out of the carrier, is to plop them on the scale. Cats seem to relish this as much as we humans do. Today’s visit confirmes that Zach’s hyperthyroid issues are cured; he is now just a few ounces shy of 18 pounds. After a quick examination, the vet quickly diagnosed the matted hair issue; Zach is now too fat to properly groom himself. The vet promptly informed me that we are going to have to put him on a diet to loose at least 4 lbs. He said Zach should be getting no more than a 1/4 can of canned food a day (if at all) and a 1/4 cup of dry—not his usual never ending bowl of dry. When he saw the look on my face, pure fear from what would happen if we began starving Zach, he suggested starting by lessening the food by 10% and going from there. This sounds very easy in theory, that is, if you don’t live with Zach.
I then asked for suggestion about what to do about the other cat living upstairs with Zach as I’m sure that Zach would gladly let Atticus starve to death if food becomes rationed. Visions of Zach plotting our deaths while we sleep began to float to mind. I used to wake up to find Zach sitting on the night stand, a few inches from my face, with a psyshotic look on my face. How menacing can a cat look? Think Heath Ledger’s performance as Joker in the recent Batman Movie. Seriously. After studying me for a few weeks Zach began my training. If my elbow was protruding across the invisable line between the bed and nightstand, I would get two licks as a warning before he would bear his teeth into my arm. After the first time it happened Chris said, “Yeah, Zach doesn’t like things near his face.”
But I digress. Back to the vet and the small issue of Atticus, our fraidy cat, being starved to death because Zach would scarf down every bit of the dimenishing supply of food. His advice, put the other cat in the room with the food for 20 minutes and if he’s hungry he’ll eat. Okay, tough love it is. I didn’t trouble him with the fact that I didn’t think we could actually catch Atticus to throw him in a room alone with the food. If we grab him he is completely convinced he is going to be thrown in a large pot to be cooked for lunch and he reacts accordingly to this perceived threat of death.
The next question the vet asked was if we ever give Zach a bath. I said, “Are you kidding, he’d skin us alive!” I informed the doctor, as he wasn’t getting it, that Zach has very specific rules, which frequently change at a moment’s notice, and if they are not strictly followed you get bitten, usually badly. The vet tech shook her head knowingly and said, “Ah yes, a Garfield cat.” The vet then recommended that if he won’t let us comb out the mats (yeah right) that we have them shaved.
What luck it was that the first time I take Zach to the vet without Chris I get the tough love vet that says you have to put him on a diet.