Front Porch: When the tubby tabby’s on a diet, life is hard

Note: Cindy Hval is on vacation this week. Milo, her personal assistant and the senior cat of the Hval house, is filling in for this week’s column.

All I wanted was a snack. I mean, is that so much to ask considering the starvation rations I’ve been placed on because of Thor’s weight issues? He gets fat and I have to suffer. It’s just not right.

I called to her from the hallway. “Meeeeow!” I said. She didn’t even look up from the computer. So rude! So, I asked again more forcefully.

No response. Just the clicking of her fingers on the keyboard.

Maybe her hearing is going. I sat next to her ankles and explained the situation. “Meeeow, meow, MEOW!” I said.

“Be quiet,” she replied. “I’m on deadline – and you just ate.”

The nerve! Obviously, she wasn’t getting my message.

I jumped up on her desk and looked her in the eye while explaining my dire dietary needs. She just put me on the floor and patted my head. So patronizing. I then jumped on the food tub and knocked the measuring cup to the floor. It toppled with a satisfying clatter.

“I’m starving here,” I said. “I’m gonna faint! I need food NOW!”

She sighed and snapped, “Fine. Then YOU can write this week’s column!”

And off she went – without feeding me.

Like I don’t have enough responsibilities around this place. I am busy from morning till night. My day starts early because I have to rouse Zack and Sam. One of them is supposed to feed Thor and me, so I wake both of them because it doubles our chances of getting fed in a timely manner.

Then I have to tell her that I’ve been fed. Usually she’s still in bed, so I sit on her chest and give her the morning update. I throw in a few kisses and tickle her ears with my whiskers. I have to do this or she just falls back asleep.

By this time Thor is acting sleepy, so I chase him around the house. Upstairs, downstairs, under beds, on top of tables. For a chunky cat, he sure can run. He thinks I’m trying to kill him, but I’m not. I just need to remind him who’s in charge around here.

I’ll never forget the day they brought him home. The shock is seared in my memory.

The family had been out for the evening and I’d kept watch over the house like usual. They think I’m sleeping on the back of the sofa, but I’m not. I keep one eye open on the bird situation – also the dog situation and the strange cat situation.

It’s a lot of work. Every so often a dog comes in our yard and I have to run all over the place from window to door to window to alert everyone to the intruder.

Even worse is when the mangy Manx from up the street comes over. He saunters into my backyard like he owns it. Even though I’m not allowed to go outside, it’s still MY yard! He thinks he’s all that because he’s an indoor/outdoor cat, but he’s not. He’s just scruffy and dirty and has a terrible attitude.

Anyway, I’d just relaxed when the family returned and they’d brought me a present – a huge carpeted tree for me to climb on! I was so excited! I jumped up to the top and surveyed my domain and that’s when I saw him – a tiny ball of tabby-striped fluff.

I couldn’t believe it. I jumped down to the floor and he bounded up to me and tried to kiss me. He actually put his paw on my face.

I ran over to her and climbed into her lap. “You’re not serious, are you?” I asked. “You’re not going to let this kitten-thing stay. It’s just a joke, right?”

She rubbed my cheeks and scratched my chin and said, “Oh, look! Milo is so happy to get a little brother!” It’s like she doesn’t even know me.

He’s NOT my brother. I had brothers and they were not tabbies of below-normal intelligence, like this thing called Thor.

I slipped into the bedroom and hid under the bed. I stayed there a good long while, hoping they’d get rid of that thing. But they didn’t. And I got hungry, so I came out.

But I digress. Trying to slim down Thor by chasing him all over the house is just another one of the jobs added to my already overfilled schedule.

Probably my most important job is ensuring Dad gets enough attention. I don’t know where he lives during the day, but he’s gone for hours and hours. When he comes back, I rush to the door to greet him.

When he gets ready for bed, I jump up and give him extra head rubs. After he’s settled, I curl up on his head. The poor guy has so little fur up there, I worry he will catch cold. So even though he pushes me and says stuff like, “Knock it off, Milo!” I stay in position. I want to keep him around because when she starts talking about kittens, he says, “No more cats.”

Obviously, he and I are the only ones with any sense around here.

Oh, look, she’s back and she’s opening the food tub!

I should just ignore her. I should just sit in her chair and pretend I don’t hear the rattling of food as it pours into my bowl. But if I do that then Thor will eat all of his and mine, too. I can’t let that happen – fat cats die young and I actually kind of like the tubby tabby. Let’s keep that just between us, OK?

This Front Porch column originally appeared in The Spokesman Review on July 19, 2014.

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