The Loh Life

Fat Cats

Sandra Tsing Loh weighs in on National Pet Week.

With spring come surprises.  It was news to me that this first week of May has been designated not just Brain Tumor Action Week and Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week, but National Pet Week!  And, according to an email alert from FETCH! Pet Care, this comes just in time to highlight a national pet crisis.

Shockingly, a majority - 54%! - of American dogs and cats are obese, and nine out of 10 of their owners don't know it!

Oh great, I thought.  Now, on top of working full time, parenting teen children, caretaking elderly parents, home-cooking meals made from locally sourced organic produce, making sure all of my friends' Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects are fully funded - now, I have to toss an obese family pet onto the bandwagon!

I was forced to read on.  According to FETCH! Pet Care, we should now begin calculating the number of calories our pets need.  We can then use a designated measuring cup or attach wireless tags to their pet collars, so they don't overserve themselves at that Las Vegas buffet known as the automated feeder.

Since, quote unquote, "Your pet is likely smaller than you," a small table scrap is like a 10-egg bacon sausage omelet for Fido.  Advice: "Instead of giving your pet random table scraps, try offering it raw veggies like baby carrots.  Your pet will be happy it received a treat, and will avoid a belly-busting calorie-bomb."  Aw - Our pets will live longer, but why would they want to?

And don't forget exercise, say our friends at FETCH! Pet Care.

"Taking your dog outdoors will trigger its natural play instincts.  Running, jumping and chasing are natural ways to energize your pet, burn calories and boost metabolism."  That optimism goes for felines as well, yielding a truly hilarious sentence if you know Midnight, our admittedly obese cat: "A multi-story cat climber or 'tree' with strategically placed low-cal treats or play toys can readily get kitty jumping from level to level and its heart pumping in kind."  Sadly, Midnight's not too fat to claw your eyes out if you would even shove such a unit near her.  And: "When outdoor play just isn't an option, there are a number of motorized animal treadmills."  What the - ?  "For both dogs and cats, keep a set of toys and laser pointer handy."

For a beloved pet in ill health, I will administer pills and dabble eyedrops, and insert other things I don't want to in places they don't want me to.  But, one thing I will not subject any animal to is a laser pointer.

So, in honor of National Pet Week, I'm hugging that cat!  Even if I have to throw my back out to do it.


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