Weight Watchers

November 30, 2009


“Blimey, Switzerland has banned minarets!”, observed my Dad, as he lounged in his recently acquired lounge pants, watching the news. It says a great deal about the social activity of the area that he has chosen to buy trousers in which to ‘lounge’, unlike the days of yore when he bought items like ‘Disco Shirts’.

The Mushroom looked perplexed. “Minarets? Why?”

“I suppose the Swiss see it as a political statement or something.”, he replied.

“I don’t get it.” The Mushroom’s brow furrowed, like the time about six weeks after The Baby was born when she ventured into the kitchen, looked at the appliances, found herself putting laundry into the fridge, cried, and had to be escorted out. “How can minarets be political? Is it a sexism thing?”

My Dad turned around to look at her.

“Well, no, I don’t think so. Why would it be sexism?”

“I don’t know, maybe cos they’re dancers, but personally I’d have thought cheerleaders would have been more offensive. Have they banned those too?”

My Dad stared at her. A ball of tumbleweed rolled past the tiny, floor level window. Literally.

“Minarets, love. MINARETS. Not Majorettes.”

The Mushroom looked down. “Oh.”

There was a silence. I could tell they were both thinking about the time she thought Maris Pipers were called ‘Morris Pipers’ and were in some way connected to Morris Dancers. Neither brought this up, though. The Mushroom wouldn’t out of embarrassment. My Dad wouldn’t out of fear of having the tupperware dish within reach of The Mushroom being hurled at him.

“Anyhoo, where’s Fatty?”, asked my Dad, in a bit to change the subject and also to distract The Mushroom from the fact that they live in a place where there is, really, tumbleweed.

Hmm. I am tiring a little of the regular asides regarding my weight. I have put weight on. A bit. I have put a bit of weight on. Well, some. Quite a lot. I now weigh the same as a basset hound. Still, nobody likes to be referred to as ‘Fatty’ by one’s father, does one?

Fluffy Usurper isn’t fat. He doesn’t get called ‘Fatty’.

“How much are you feeding him?”, asked my Dad the other day, looking at the side of my bag of Iams, after another observation of my increasing girth.

“I’m just filling his bowl.”, replied The Mushroom, bin liner in hand, going in to the spare room to change my litter tray. A clue, there, my friend. A cat’s litter tray should only really need changing once a week and even then, it shouldn’t be much to write home about. My litter tray?  It looks like The Rockies in there.

“It says here a grown cat should have a cup of this a day. Would you say a cup full is a bowl full?”

There was no answer.

“How much would you say a bowl full was, then?”

I can see smugness creep into my Dad’s face. The Mushroom is Always Right in all things food related. Salt? Bad. Saturated fats? Bad. Eating chips with every meal and claiming a potato is a vegetable so it’s okay? Bad. Can I have cake for breakfast? No you frigging can’t. Feeding your cat enough to keep a St Bernard? Very Bad.

“I would say it is about five cups’ full. “, she admits.

“So we’ve been feeding Zeebs five times as much food as he needs.”

“Yes.”

There was a pause.

“Oops.”

Oops? What are you, some kind of Feeder like those people in Ohio who tube feed their wives lard to stop them running away with the newsagent  or something? Five times the amount of food I need? This is outrageous!

“Aren’t cats supposed to self-regulate what they eat, though?”, she thought to retort. Don’t try and turn this around on me, lady.  Anyway, it was a bit late, as she’d already said ‘oops’, a universally acknowledged statement of guilt.

“I think he’s been comfort eating because he’s depressed because we got a kitten.”, says my Dad.

I like your argument, Dad. Afterall, it’s nothing new. Younger, sleeker model arrives; older, less fluffy model comfort eats meaty biscuits. I’m sure it’s been happening to the Mormons for years. It has not, however, been happening here. Cos Fluffy Usurper’s popularity is on the wane.

The only person who is allowed to disturb The Mushroom’s sleep is The Baby. If anyone else does this, the full extent of The Mushroom’s Madness is unveiled.  If my Dad has the TV on an iota too loud, say, things will be thrown from the bedroom in his direction until he either turns it down or she is forced to leave the bedroom and cut the plug off with her bare teeth. So, thus, what you categorically do not do at three o’clock in the morning is sink your jaws into The Mushroom’s arm and try and play chase with it.

“This thing is frigging feral!”, she mutters, removing his teeth from her flesh and removing him from the room.

Poor Fluffy Usurper, I thought, as I lounged in my own lounge fur, nestled into the warmth of duvet. Exiled to the bathroom for the night for biting arms. Gutted. Tomorrow, I mused, I’ll teach you how to pull hair with your teeth.

So why am I putting on weight? I’m putting on weight because they’re putting too much food in my bowl, because I can’t really go outside cos it’s frigging freezing and there’s a cat next door who is the size of a Volvo and, recently, because I’ve discovered where they keep the Baby Iams and they are lush.

And with that thought I stretched, purring mightily. Maybe having a kitten is not so bad after all.

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