Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Skinny on the FatBoy

I'm a bit of a meanie in real life: I get a kick out of shocking my mother with seemingly mundane aspects of my life when I call her. Things like having to vaccuum every day, for example, make her positively upset. Explaining how to make yogurt--you let a jar of warm milk sit under a blanket for six hours--makes her inner food-safety inspector positively ill. Perhaps the most fun comes from explaining just what is a boterkoek (cake made with butter, flour, sugar, and a bit of salt) and what goes into the pea soup that Karel makes every winter (lard, lard, bacon, and lard).

Dutch food, in short, is full of the stuff that makes food taste good--and perhaps more importantly, actually triggers your satiety centers, unlike, say, low-fat foods. (I link to the video because it's thought-provoking--it all makes sense, which is a little frightening. It's interesting, that's for sure.) In most other aspects, life in Europe is similar to life in the US: the government is trying to get people to eat more vegetables, while people are steadfastly sticking to their fries. But whereas dietary advice in the US starts with cutting back on fat, in the Netherlands it begins with increasing your veggies.

Ultimately, it's a balance between what you eat and how much you eat, and that's true even for cats. These days Noodle (because not-so-FatBoy is too long a name) is at a healthy weight (just shy of 5.5 kg, or 12 lbs) again, without the use of special diet foods or "indoor" cat diets. Noodle came to us a proper little butterball, tipping the scales at a little over 6 kgs. Losing one pound might not seem like much, but considering that a) this is a cat, who can spend up to 18 hours a day asleep, and b) that he had zero inclination to play and his arthritis was terrible, it's really a marvel that he is the goofball who skitters around with his toy mice these days.

It's worth mentioning this because so many people have fat cats (one of our friends had a cat who died, largely because it was obese) and they don't seem to realize that they can, in fact, do something about it. Noodle, granted, wasn't as badly-off as some, and it was simply a matter of restricting his food intake--same as Shadow's, who weighs 11 lbs on a good day. The health risks for obese pets mostly mirror those for obese humans, but you don't need a general anesthetic to see the dentist.

Life is hard for Noodle: just when he finally becomes active enough to play, he gets put under and taken for a dental.

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