Friday, March 9, 2012

Dealing with Weighty Matters

Whether short (me) or tall (my brother), no one in my family has ever had a problem with his or her weight. Other than sweets, which I don’t eat because I don’t like them, I have always eaten whatever I wanted. Basically, my weight has pretty much remained the same within a pound or two either way throughout my adult life. I take no credit for this, because it’s probably genetic.

I mention this not to pat myself on the back but to make the point that I have no personal experience with diets and dieting. The only thing I know about diets is that they work when you’re on them and stop working when you’re not. Other than that, I’m pretty clueless about them. At least, I was…………..

About two years ago, a beautiful black and white kitten with the most amazing copper-colored eyes joined our feline family. I named her Allegra. When I picked her up after her spaying (equivalent to a hysterectomy for a woman) the Vet told me that during the surgery, he removed quite a bit of fat around her stomach.

“Really!” I said in mild surprise. “Do you mean you did a kitty liposuction?”

“Yes,” he laughed, “I guess I did.

Although she gets the same amount of food as her brother, Victor, and sister, Cecilia, Allegra has continued to gain weight.

Even my husband, who insisted she was just big boned, has finally admitted that she is somewhere north of chubby. The truth is, when Allegra walks she looks like Tugboat Annie pulling the QE II to shore behind her.

At her last checkup, the Vet said, “Mrs. Norris, your cat is obese and headed for severe health problems if we don’t do something about her weight right now, before it’s too late.” The voice of doom!

Feeling a bit defensive, like an overindulgent Mother, I told him that she got the same food in the same amount as her slimmer brother and sister, which was absolutely true. “It’s not your fault,” he replied. “It’s probably genetic.”

The decision was made to put Allegra on the Purina Weight Loss Program. A pretty and perky young thing named Krista introduced herself to me as Allegra’s Weight Loss Coach. My husband and I left with a big bag of OM (overweight management) food and a file folder full of useful information on feline obesity, nutrition, coupons and charts to track her progress. Wow! Who knew?

Tuesday night was Allegra’s first weigh-in. I am happy to report that she has lost 8 oz. (1/2 a pound) to everyone’s delight. I got a “Good job, Mom!!” from an enthusiastic Krista and Allegra got a big hug from her Weight Loss Coach and a gold star on her chart with a little kitty smiley face next to it. My husband and I were all smiles, too. Allegra was less enthusiastic and headed straight for the safety of the cat carrier in anticipation of the trip home. Her next weigh-in is in April. We’re all keeping our fingers and paws crossed that things continue in the right direction and Allegra gets another gold star on her chart. I’ll keep you posted.

The following day I visited Madame Mère at St. Mary’s Catholic Home where she has been a resident for the last three years. When I walked in, she was clearly in a state of high anxiety.

“What’s the matter, Mom?” I asked concerned.

“I have a big problem,” she replied. “My clothes don’t fit anymore. I think I’m gaining weight. That’s never happened to me before,” she moaned.

“Well, it’s normal to gain some weight as you get older,” I said. “After all, you’ll be 96 this year. I guess it’s about time you gained a pound or two; however, if you’re concerned about it, you can go on a diet, or exercise a little bit or, maybe, one glass of wine at dinner instead of two? I’ve been reading a lot about nutrition and diets lately, maybe I could………………”

She cut me off with a wave of her hand and then gave me that look that used to freeze my six-year-old soul dead in its tracks……………

“JUST GET ME SOME NEW CLOTHES!” she said. Problem solved.


  1. Great story! You clearly have good genes, if you live in the United States and have no problem maintaining a stable weight. You got it all from Madame your mother, no doubt: She has only started gaining a few pounds after her 95th birthday! ;-) As for poor Allegra, well... Good thing you have things under control. I will mention her new food to the resident cat, Felix, aka "The Puma." He has started developing a belly, more of a pouch, really. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Mme Mère is indeed a force of nature in so many ways. That's a subject for another blog post.

      I have added a picture of Purina OM in case Félix is interested, although it sounds as if he is not even in the same weight league as Allegra. Besides, I think a little kitty pouch is so cute. Have you posted a picture of him on your blog?

      Would love to see him.

    2. Not yet, but will have to do so soon. Felix just reminded me that I have posted MANY pictures of Hailey, aka "TheYellow Dog..." ;-)

    3. Aha! Maman is playing favorites and Félix is feeling neglected.

      I am on his side on this. Hope to see the Puma soon.

  2. Great great story ; I love the way you write ; I think that Purina stuff looks like the thing for me, I wonder what it tastes like ?!!!

    1. I have never tasted the Purina OM, but Allegra seems to like and, more importantly, my male cat, Victor, has given his culinary stamp of approval.

      He is our resident "cattatouille." He eats cat food in the morning and then has dinner with us at the table at night....has his own dish. He loves my sauces, particularly my tarragon sauce spiked with toasted fennel seeds.

    2. M.T., I was actually trying to be funny and meant to try it myself as I have a weight problem too ! But I also have a cat ; she will be 17 years-old next month and she gets "senior" food. Thank you so much for the lovely comment you left on my blog ; it was much appreciated.

    3. Christine, I absolutely got your veiled reference to yourself and your sense of humor. You were not "trying" to be funny, you were funny.

      I, also, have a 17-year-old cat named Cecilia (pronounced à l'italienne, after an opera singer we love.) She is quite svelte and gets anything she wants to eat. Actually, she pretty much gets anything she wants all the time. She runs the house.

      BTW, I still value my Victor's culinary opinions. Maybe you should try a little Purina OM and see how it works for you. You could always add a little of my tarragon sauce to spice things up a bit. Allegra can be your weight loss coach.

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