The Pet Lady


Perhaps while savoring a martini, you could read my letter and offer some sage advice. My 8-year-old rotund feline is dieting and consequently has become a Royal Pain in the Ass. When hungry, which is most of the time, Ginkgo employs piercing stares, meowing, racing toward her dish at any movement I make, and standing like a sentry next to her bowl. She is also quite the actress, looking bewildered and confused at the food shortage. I am thankful for those rare moments she is sated or snoring.

In our first year together, Ginkgo gained 3 pounds, one-fourth of her initial total weight; I was liberally feeding her small amounts whenever she wanted, apparently quite often. Then for six months she protested being put on a diet but lost weight. I grew lax, giving her a bit extra to save my sanity. I recently realized she is a butterball again. I wonder how large she would grow unchecked, eating all the Flaked Tuna Supreme she desired.

Should I acquiesce and let her be a fat happy cat so we can call a truce? Or should I be responsibly strict, not liking her most of the time but reducing her to a healthy weight to perhaps prolong her life, yet prolonging our torment?

Frustrated Cat Companion


You must be frustrated indeed, dear Frustrated, to be constantly confronted by the baleful stare your fur friend deploys pointedly over her empty dishes. Have you attempted to distract sweet Ginkgo with catnip? Lolling about in herbal bliss could potentially occupy her for up to nine minutes at a time.

However, allow the Pet Lady to go out on a proverbial limb and, from that vantage point, query, in a noncommittal manner: What is so very wrong with a fat cat? Yes, as with humans, lugging about additional poundage is not terribly healthy, but the cats look so cute all chubby in their little fur suits. And they are so very, very happy to eat and eat and eat—should not we endeavor to strike some sort of balance betwixt militantly maintaining the physical well-being of our pet friends and providing them with happy, happy lives?

In the Pet Lady’s youth, the Pet Family cat was such a fat cat that he was actually named Fat Cat, and he was fed liberally throughout the day by all the Family members. Paradoxically, he lived to a fine, dignified, fat old age. Perhaps, dear Frustrated, love conquers the corporeal ill effects of cat fatness. Another dear reader in your selfsame shoes arrived at the plan of feeding her fat little cat, Ruby, as much as she wanted to eat, but only of the special diet cat food. This, to the P.L., seems a happy compromise.

Best to you and Ginkgo, and cheers!

The Pet Lady

Pet difficulties? Send photos and letters to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104, or e-mail