Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mitsey’s Diet

Milo resting on the windowsill
I have two cats. Milo is a pretty average tom cat (neutered – I practise responsible cat care, so both cats are neutered, vaccinated and data chipped). Mitsey, on the other hand, a queen, is not what you’d call the Einstein of the cat world. In fact, she is so stupid, she regularly falls off the bed and only remembers the ‘wash paw and look like I meant that’ act when I laugh at her. But somehow, like Milo, she manages to maintain a perfect weight. Not only is she the perfect weight today, but she is always the perfect weight. Every year we go to the vet, he bundles her on the scales and she’s 4kg which is the ideal for a medium size cat. So how come she can maintain her weight and I can’t?

We’re told that one of the problems with the modern world is that we have easy access to food – but so does Mitsey! There are cat biscuits available 24/7, and they are biscuits she likes. I know she prefers the expensive Hill’s T/D and will pick them out of whatever was on offer the last time I was in the supermarket but she does eat the cheap biscuits too.

Mitsey ready for a hard Winter's day
Some people say obesity is caused because we eat so much processed food – but have you looked at cat food? Mitsey had a helping of beef cat food tonight, which is completely unnatural as there is no way any cat smaller than a cheetah could kill a cow! As for the cod she had yesterday – I have yet to see a cat skippering a deep-sea trawler; to be honest, it sounds like much harder work than any sane cat gets involved with. There is also the way so much cat food looks and smells the same – and none of it smells like chicken, duck, rabbit or any other meat that the label claims it contains.

What about snacks and treats? Well, Mitsey’s supply of treats is limited, as she only gets any when she and Milo can actually manage to both be in the kitchen at the same time! She does also get tit-bits from the table (which is meant to be the one thing that results in a fat cat). However, as she will only eat meat from my plate (unlike other cats I’ve known, who’d happily eat any and every thing from my plate) and I have a tendency to live on pizza , pies and pasta these are somewhat limited. However, she still eats more treats than I eat cakes, biscuits or sweets

Then there is eating out.... except that Mitsey is a skilled hunter, routinely bringing home field mice, the occasional house mouse and on one occasion a rat! I do wish she’d actually managed to kill the rat first, but that’s another story. Most cats are also not adverse to going through bins, and scavenging, or of calling round the neighbour’s and learning which of them will hand over a little something, so Mitsey is almost certainly doing her share of eating out. But still she stays a perfect weight.

Mitsey checking out the late Summer sun
What about exercise, I hear you ask? As well as being the stupidest cat I’ve ever shared my home with, Mitsey is also the laziest. Her ideal day involves sleeping and, well, sleeping, a bit of eating and then, well, some more sleeping. All through the Winter she only goes outside when the call of nature forces her into the garden and, as the bush by the backdoor offers suitable shelter from rain and snow, she doesn’t walk down the garden! OK, she does have the occasional funny five minutes, when she hurtles round the house or garden like a lunatic. But I’ve never seen her do that more than once a week, so it’s not exactly what you’d call daily exercise!

The only thing that Mitsey seems to do, that I don’t, is to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full. She doesn’t wait until dinner time – if she’s hungry, then she eats now. She doesn’t bother waiting for Milo to be ready to eat – as they get one bowl of biscuits between them, she may have to wait for him to finish eating! – she just eats when she’s hungry. Plus I do give them treats and their evening helping of meat at times that suit me but, even with her evening meal, if she’s had enough then she walks away and leaves it for Milo to finish.

So, that's the Mitsey Diet – don’t worry about what you eat; just eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Of course, the trick is learning to ‘hear’ when our bodies say they are hungry or full. If only we can manage that, maybe our GPs would be as happy about our weight as my vet is about Mitsey’s!