The Suitcase Lady


October 5, 2010, 9:05 pm

Gato did not get the birthday present of his dreams. That would have been a case of Sheba cat food cans or a lifetime supply of cat treats. No, Gato got a Slimball.

Our relationship with Gato goes back to October 1997 when he was born on our kitchen floor. He immediately pushed his siblings aside to get to mom’s milk. Any kitten who tried to get a turn got a star-shaped paw, claws out, in the face.

Gato’s aggressive approach to food continued after weaning. No other cat’s food dish was safe; his appetite was insatiable.

One day I made the mistake of setting a full grocery bag on the floor. When I looked up, an orange streak with a 6 pack of hamburger buns dangling from its mouth was whizzing by.

Despite repeated attempts at limiting Gato’s food, we were definitely being outmaneuvered. Then one portentous day, the vet looked at us and said, “Your cat looks like a head on a box. Drastic measures are needed.”

Gato got diet kibble, 1/2 measured cup a day, and was locked in a separate room to dine. He was not let out until the other cats had finished their food. Slowly and painfully for all, Gato lost ten pounds.

As every dieter knows, maintaining weight loss is a struggle. Enter the Slimball. This clever device is a ball within a ball covered with holes. The ball is filled with the cat’s kibble, and the size of the holes is adjusted. We set it on small.

When Gato unwrapped his present, he instantly knew that his food was being held hostage. He immediately flopped down on the floor and pushed the ball. One piece of food fell out. Without raising his body off the floor, Gato extended a paw and slid the kibble to his mouth. A physicist could not have devised less energy output for maximum food input. Gato has completely subverted the calorie burning aspects of  his Slimball, but he does eat more slowly.

If it weren’t a mangled metaphor, I would call our Gato a total chow hound. Happy birthday, Gato, and best wishes for a long and purry life.

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