Two Cats, One Fat

by Keri K. on September 15, 2009

If you receive the Drs. Foster and Smith cat catalog, you know there are a lot of cats in it – and many of our cat models come from the Rhinelander, WI Animal Shelter. The kitties are paid for their hard day’s work with Drs. Foster and Smith gift certificates, so that we can help the shelter out with their long list of necessities like food, litter, and toys. Many of the cat owners around the office first met their beloved pets right in our photo studio, like I did.

kittens1

Pan and Dozo at their first modeling job, summer '08.

Last summer, I encountered two orange-striped kittens posing behind a Bridgeport Stoneware feeder. I arranged to take one home that very night for a trial period with the rest of our animal family. “Take his brother too,” said one of our photographers. “That way he won’t cry all night here.” You can guess exactly where that led.

Pandemonium and Dozo are now about a year and a half old. This spring, my fiancé and I bought our first home, and because of the amount of painting, patching and re-flooring it required, we decided the cats would be safer and happier temporarily living nearby with my parents, who were glad to have them as houseguests. My mother was a little too glad, because like any grandma, she spoiled them rotten! Two servings of canned food a day plus free-choice kibble meant they were never hungry. Pan developed a pickiness that narrowed his diet to only our Chicken formula canned food and the Kitten formula dry food. Dozo, meanwhile, would swallow his portions whole, then cheerfully help himself to whatever was still in Pan’s bowl. (Check out that kitten photo. Guess which cat is which.)

Recently, the cats moved back in with us, and are experiencing some tough love. Last week at our bi-annual vet clinic here at work, Dozo proved himself to be fifteen and a half pounds. He’s a solidly-built cat, but he shouldn’t be quite that soft around the middle. I explained their previous living (and dining) arrangement to Dr. Kathy, who agreed that two meals a day, and only two meals, would be to Dozo’s benefit. Luckily, he has little interest in table scraps, so we don’t have to break any begging habits. We’ll also try to keep him active – he loves hunting a laser pointer, so it’s easy to keep him jogging up and down the stairs while we watch TV.

Dozo, fall '09

Dozo, fall '09

As any cat owner already knows, the phrase “for your own good” means absolutely nothing to a cat, and Pan has been more resistant to his new lifestyle. He’s at a fine weight for his build, about eleven pounds, but I want more variety in his diet. I do have some experience in convincing a stubborn ferret to switch foods, but Pan can be irritatingly disdainful. He now eats separately from Dozo, so that he can take his dainty time, and I hope is beginning to realize that if he doesn’t finish his supper, it’s a long time until breakfast with no nibbling to hold him over. Adding warm water and a sprinkle of Tuna Flakes helps his appetite. (Pan’s a sucker for Tuna Flakes. I can’t use them as training rewards because he’s so eager to have them he pays no attention to me.)

I hope to have pictures of a slightly sleeker Dozo for you soon! In the meantime, read up on healthy cat nutrition here.


Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maxine E. September 16, 2009 at 10:24 am

Hello to Pandemonium and Dozo’s Mommy or Daddy, Your story is ditto for Gabrielle(Gabs) and Heyu(just Heyu). Gabs is little Miss Finicky Herself and Heyu is the Mchow Down Kitty. I am going insane!!! Great idea using Tuna Flakes on the Food! Just don’t tell The Queen….Ms. Gabrielle Dooda Evers. Now, what to do about Heyu Psycho-kitty Evers!!

Keri T. September 16, 2009 at 11:58 am

Good luck, Maxine! I’ve also been mixing canned food with kibble to convince Pan to try it. He might give me a few dirty looks, but it’s gone in the morning! I think I spend more time making the cats’ and ferrets’ dinners than I do making mine.

Letha Marie Mowry September 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Patches is a pickey eater and will only eat the gravy on his canned food. He was having too many hairball incidents so I changed to some of the “indoor cats only” food whichI fed him one day then back to his “old” food the next. Surprise! He even nibbled some on the meat flakes in his can of food for indoor cats. He hasn’t had a hairball since the change. I will be buying more of the indoor food for him when I am again where it is available. He likes the dry food too as I have mixed that with what I had on hand for him.

Keri T. September 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I actually mix more than one kibble, Letha Marie. It’s generally recommended for ferrets so I continued the practice when we got the kittens. Right now I’m serving them 50% Drs. Foster and Smith Adult and 50% Innova EVO. Did Patches have any digestion issues with changing foods every other day? Pan’s stomach is as sensitive as his feelings, so I have the additional issue of making his changes extra slowly.

Luckily we haven’t had hairball problems so far. I grew up with an Angora-mix cat, and I purposefully chose shorter-haired cats this time!

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