Monday, July 17, 2006

Black Cat Green Cat #1: Fatty

When I met him in the fall of the Y2K, Percy Arnold was a sleek, black, good-looking feline sick of subsisting on birds and rats; I was a single, 20-something, depressive, aspiring writer prone to recklessness.  As I am fond of saying, he wanted a human more than I didn’t want a cat.  Throughout that fall and into the early winter Percy courted me fearlessly: yeowling pathetically at my window and feigning starvation, especially when I had guests;  darting into the little blue house, between my legs, whenever I brought in groceries; and curling up on my lap like a strong, street-smart safety blanket on the many evenings I sat on my porch, steeping in the sort of sorrows a woman of my nature was prone to.  

By January of 2001 I was purchasing cat food.  A month later, the litter box arrived, we had weathered varied trips to the Spay and Neuter Clinic, and it was all enough for me to believe our long-term relationship had been formalized.  A couple months after that, handsome Percy had transformed into a swollen, fat glob of lusterlessness.  Worse, he had a reverse Mohawk: a hairless line ran down from the nape of his neck to his spine.  The shock of his bad fur-do was augmented by scabby, swollen ears.  None of this had ever happened to any of my cats in Utah.

Many trips to veterinarians and late-night Google searches later, I learned he was allergic to fleas, mosquitoes, and cheap cat food.  Percy’s regimen has developed over time, since then.

I changed his cat food to Iams, which the dog groomers I used to work for had used. Percy, who had already gained a few pounds living with me, gained a few more. My fat glob of lusterlessness had turned into a veritable, furry pillow. His dull hair lost even more shine. I went to a vet just for cats.

The cat vet looked at me like I was a cat killer and told me I should be able to see Percy's ribs. I thought he might even call feline social services. But he gave me a chance, and switched Percy's food to something much more expensive. He lost a couple pounds on that food, but then I noticed it was made out of pork. By this time, GreenDaddy had come into the picture, and GreenDaddy has a real, almost obsessive fear of pork. Ask him about it sometime. I asked the vet for more help. What we decided has remained the cat's diet throughout the last few years.

Percy eats two small servings of human-grade, Wellness/Mother Hubbard brand cat food that has vegetables in it, as well as Salmon and Turkey (he is not a vegetarian, however he does not eat red meat or pork.)  The food is expensive, but in keeping with the vet’s orders, he eats a lot less of it than he did the other food.  The price about evens out.  More importantly, changing food dramatically reduced his sickliness within a couple of months.  

Now, Percy is as slender as kitten (still not the beanpole the vet would like, but seeing my cats ribs would freak me out). He is playful, again, and doesn't spend the days sleeping.  However, he now likes to sneak out of my house and scour the neighborhood for other cats’ food.  Last night, as I pulled into the driveway, I caught him meowing to be let into neighbor Zeke’s house, where I have been informed he has often finished off what the finicky kitten Lou Ann will not.  Still: that he’s spry enough to sneak around at all is a big improvement.

Next Installment: Fleas


GreenDaddy said...

I would just like to clarify that I do not have a real, almost obsessive fear of pork. I have a real, almost obsessive disgust for pork. Dare yee ask why?

Lou said...

Why? I dare ask. Though I can probably guess...