Yella Fella’s diet is not going smoothly.
You’d think it would be so simple: just give him less food. But no behavior change comes easy, even for a cat.
Each morning at 5 am he sings me his Song of Despair until I get up and go downstairs to feed him. I must monitor feedings because Yella gobbles his food, then goes on the hunt for any food that may be left in the bowls of others.
That is rather much to ask of me first thing in the morning. On the plus side, I am awake afterward.
Because I work mostly from home, I mostly eat at home. Yella believes that anytime I eat, he should be fed as well. When the workday ends, Yella begins fussing for his dinner. If I feed him early, he’ll be that much more hungry in the morning, so I make him wait. Better to listen to his insistent cries in the daytime, even though they bring out in me a feeling that I am tormenting my sweet kitty. I have even questioned the vet’s feeding recommendations, and had given him a bit more to eat than she suggested. That led to a decrease in the amount of weight loss for the period, so I jumped back on the straight and narrow and am committed to feeding him as prescribed.
An interesting side effect of all this is that the other cats have also lost some weight. While none were obese as Yella Fella, they were a bit overweight. Another interesting consequence is that Hissy’s tummy troubles have dissipated. He used to have spells where his poo would be runny, and he would not use the clay litter box. That’s why you sometimes see in photos these litter boxes lined with puppy pads tucked in out-of-the-way places. I’ve not had to clean one in a month now. I still leave them out, just in case.
What I have learned through all of this is that my sweet Yella Fella, who I thought would not harm a fly, is a food bully. If left to his own devices, he would gobble down his own food, then move on to devour one of the other cats’ food. This created a chain reaction that left Little Girl at the bottom and picked on. Now that each cat gets only his or her own food to eat, that behavior has lessened (the meds she and Graybie are on help also).
While I am proud of myself for dealing with this problem, I am also mindful that it was me that allowed this to occur in the first place. I didn’t pay attention because I was too busy. I was depressed. And, to be honest, I feel I had too many animals in the home than I could fully care for. Companion animals need much more than food and litter or walks outdoors.
I weighed him this morning on the bathroom scale and he’s lost 3 pounds (the official count at the vet’s office is 2.5 pounds lost). I can see he’s moving around better and is more active. Hang in there Yella; you are doing great!