This Is What $54 Worth Of Good Cat Food Looks Like…

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For the past several weeks, I have been re-training my European Burmese cat Kazu to eat moist cat food so that she will lose weight. She is a very fussy eater, and it has been a guessing game, trying to determine which foods she will eat. My conclusion is that Kazu will only eat food which has had little to no processing, and is considered “human grade”. This little lady is insisting on a whole food diet, which is fine with me, but the kind of food she likes is expensive!

Today I decided to stock up, so I went to C&C Pet Foods (great place for discounted pet food in Burbank) and purchased 32 three ounce cans, 6 three ounce pouches and 1 six ounce can, which came to a total of $54. That’s pretty pricey if you ask me! However, Kazu has refused other brands of foods, so I have to stick with a small handful of brands (Tiki Cat, Weruva, and B.F.F.) which are not available at stores like Petco or PetSmart.

If you have a finicky pet, I would HIGHLY recommend these brands of pet food, because they are high quality and quite palatable to most pets.

My Cat Needs A Body Transformation

For the first time in the thirty years that I have had cats, I share my home and my heart with an obese cat. My six year old European Burmese Kazu is of small stature, and her normal weight should be somewhere around nine pounds. She was nine pounds until just under a year ago, when her weight began creeping up. I noticed instead of walking down the stairs like she used to do, she hopped down the stairs, mainly as a result of her increasing belly girth and her short legs, both of which interfered with normal transit.

8.18.15 Kazu

One day in May, my roommate remarked that Kazu was rather stout, then began asking questions about her. Since my roommate was new to the household, she could clearly see that my cat was overweight. Was she constipated? Well, yes, Kazu has had bouts of constipation since kittenhood. Did Kazu drink enough water? Yes, I think she does. Does Kazu overeat? Honestly, I really don’t think so. Kazu doesn’t usually beg for food, and she normally doesn’t like moist cat food or people food. Out of concern for my little girl, I took her to the vet, who told me that my cat was fat and that there was nothing I could do about it. I then got a second opinion which was the same. I then addressed the constipation issue by trying glycerin suppositories, but there wasn’t much of a change in Kazu’s bowel habits, and neither of us enjoyed the process.

By early August, Kazu’s weight shot up to twelve pounds, which prompted me to take her to a third vet. Thankfully, that vet (Dr. Lavely at Limehouse Veterinary) was willing to take the time to chat at length about the problems which I had regarding switching the household to scheduled feeding times (erratic schedule, often not home, greedy male cat who eats everything, Kazu’s finicky palate). It’s been about a week since we visited Dr. Lavely, and the feeding has definitely been very erratic, which is why I still have dry food out at all times for the cats to eat. I keep trying to give Kazu people food and moist cat food, but her response is inconsistent. On some days, she readily accepts the food I put out for her, while on other days, she barely even sniffs the food before walking away. I am hoping that Kazu begins to accept the offerings I give her, because that is the only way she will lose weight. I even bought a very expensive moist cat food which has human grade ingredients in hopes that she transitions over to moist food. My goal is to get her to lose three pounds in a healthy way over the next year. Kazu is relatively active and plays with her siblings frequently. She also plays toys and is the only cat out of the three who knows how to play fetch and even initiates games of fetch on a regular basis.

I guess Kazu is my first feline body transformation client!

Feeding Time

My tubby girl Kazu

My tubby girl Kazu

Over the past year, my European Burmese cat Kazu has put on considerable weight, and is now rather tubby at 11.5 pounds when she really should be 9.5 pounds. Since I have never had an overweight cat before, and also since my other two cats are rather svelte, I am wracking my brain trying to figure out a solution which would get Kazu to drop weight. When I took Kazu to the vet to investigate her sudden weight gain, the vet told me that all I could really do was to address her chronic constipation via dietary fiber and glycerin suppositories. When I tried feeding Kazu wet food with fiber mixed in, she refused it, but I wasn’t surprised since she isn’t a fan of canned food. On the one occasion in which I decided to try a suppository on her, neither she nor I were happy about the experience, and though I think the treatment helped to move things along a bit that day, I am not convinced that the mild boost in bathroom activity warranted me torturing my poor cat on a regular basis.

I feed my cats a low calorie, high protein, grain-free, dry formula to which they have free range all day. This is partially because I have always done that with the cats I have had since 1986, and because I am always so freakishly busy that I am gone for the entire day and unable to accommodate scheduled feedings. Kazu’s breeder suggested that I consider a timed feeder, but that wouldn’t work in our household because my American Burmese boy Tenshi is so food-motivated that he would chomp down all the food in the feeder, leaving none for the other two cats to eat.

I think at this point, I will try to add fiber by another means, and will measure out food so that about 1/3 cup of dry food is allotted per cat per day. I will have to portion the food out in the morning before I leave and just keep an eye on how much Kazu is actually consuming, though I know she isn’t a big eater. In addition, I have been trying to get Kazu to exercise more, even though she is relatively active. All three of my cats play “grab-ass” (my favorite terminology for the rough-housing they all do) on most days, and Kazu loves playing fetch with socks and toys, so I will try to encourage as much play as I can when I am home. It isn’t exactly easy to put a six year old cat on an exercise plan, but if I can do it for humans, I am certainly up for the challenge with a feline!

I Just Had To Get A New Pillow

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The combination of a poorly cooled townhouse (the result of an untimely coil leak in the central air conditioning), night sweats, cats who think it’s cool to use me as a natural radiator, aches and pains in my hips, legs, shoulders, forearms and hands, and a recurrent neck strain have all robbed me of sleep almost every night this summer. With the exception of the cat issue, I was determined to find solutions to all of the sleep robbing elements in my life.

The central air conditioning is finally going to be replaced within the next week (HALLELUJAH!), the night sweats have abated somewhat (due to better hormonal balance in my perimenopausal body), and the aches and pains have been better as a result of fantastic chiropractic work by Dr. Ryan Pendon and Dr. Ryan Chapman from Urban Med. I realized that the neck strain was aggravated by pillows which did a horrible job of supporting my noggin, so I figured I could buy new ones.

Since I always buy new pillows for my bed every year in the autumn months, and wasn’t quite due for a new set, I hesitated on making a purchase. But the pillows I had been sleeping on since November were no longer fluffable, and at night, my head would sink right onto the mattress. I could literally feel the mattress through the pillows! I will admit that I am highly sensitive to tactile changes, just like the princess who could feel the pea through 20 mattresses. So I toughed it out and figured that I would just somehow get used to having deflated pillows. Then I got one of those mailers from Bed, Bath and Beyond, with a 20% off coupon on any one item. After thinking about it for a week, I decided to buy one pillow at a 20% discount.

I ended up with an IsotonicĀ® Indulgenceā„¢ Side Sleeper Pillow, originally priced at $59 but which I paid $47 and some change for after using my coupon. This pillow is for side sleepers, but isn’t as firm as some of the other side sleeper pillows I found. Since I always start out my night on my back, I can’t deal with a very firm pillow because it wrenches my neck into an uncomfortable flexed position. The perfect pillow has to be a perfect balance of support and softness, with some loft, but soft enough that it doesn’t feel like my head is resting on a Bosu ball. So far (it has been a couple of nights since I started using this pillow to sleep on), this pillow is doing the trick for me.

Now I only have to deal with one, or actually, THREE issues which interrupt my slumber. The cats rule the roost in our house and have free access to my room, which means that if they want to wrap their perspiration-inducing, furry bodies around me in the middle of the night, I am not exactly going to do anything to prevent them from doing so. However, it is a small price to pay for their constant and unconditional love!

How Shima Stole My Heart

I came across this piece when I was looking for something else in my files. It was written to honor my sweet cat Shima who is now 6 years old:
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Back in early 2009, I was nursing a broken heart after my first American Burmese boy went missing. I had contacted a breeder and made arrangements the last week of April to drive to Northern California to pick up an Am Burm male kitten.

The Wednesday prior to my trip, I had to pick up kitten food for the new boy. It had been 7 years since I had lived with a kitten, so I needed to purchase kitten food. It would have been MUCH more convenient to go to a pet store closer to work, but for whatever reason, I decided to go to another store near my house. And I felt a compulsion to do this. I should have known something special would occur there.

I was in the store no more than 5 minutes when I heard mewing. Not meowing. Mewing, from a kitten who was clearly very young. Then a woman came down the aisle I was in, holding a pet carrier. From this carrier I heard the mewing again. I chatted briefly with the woman, who stated that she had heard mewing in her backyard, and found this abandoned kitten. She had come to the store hoping to get some advice on how to feed the kitten since she had never done such a thing.

I peeked inside the carrier and saw a 3-1/2 week old silver spotted tabby female whose ears had come up only a couple of days prior. I reached into the carrier and scooped her into my arms, whereupon she immediately stopped mewing and snuggled into my neck.

The woman was delighted and stated that it was the first time the kitten had stopped mewing. In the meantime, the store manager brought over some kitten formula and I proceeded to feed her. I promised the woman that I would care for the kitten and find a good home for her. Little did I know she would steal my heart and that the “good home” would be mine!

Suddenly my life was defined by feedings every two hours, little to no sleep, de-worming, weaning, and lots of attention to this little creature. Shima is now six years old, slightly shy, very affectionate, and a complete marvel to me. She still likes to sleep on my chest despite the fact that she is almost too big to do that easily! When she was very little I would wrap her against my chest like a little papoose. She’d nod off to sleep in that position.

Shima was probably born around March 25th, but I have set her birthday at March 18th, the same day that my first burmese boy had gone missing.

It was meant to be for us to meet that day…

My Lumpy Cat

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I have three cats:
an American Burmese male named Tenshi, a silver spotted tabby female named Shima, and a European Burmese female named Kazu. Tenshi is built like a miniature puma, sleek and well muscled, and he maintains a perfect weight despite being a complete pig and prone to eating ANY food that he can get his paws on. Shima is my slender girl, long limbed and with a long tail.

Then there is Kazu. Over the past year or so, Kazu has put on considerable weight, and it troubles me to know that in almost 30 years of having cats, I now have an overweight cat! She is a small cat, consistent with the size of most Burmese, but she weighs 11.2 pounds now. She should be 9 pounds.

I know you may be saying, “She doesn’t look overweight”, but trust me, this little lady has a midsection that is downright lumpy! The vet doesn’t have a good answer for why Kazu is overweight, and I can’t figure out what to do with her. One consideration is the fact that she has always been constipated, but I doubt that my cat is actually THAT full of crap!

Look at Kazu’s deep chest in the picture below. You can see that she has some mass to her and is a muscular cat, which is also consistent with the Burmese breed. Perhaps she is in her “off-season bulking phase”!

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My Cat Loves Socks And Underwear

sweet KazuI have a very affectionate, playful cream European Burmese cat who is an absolute joy to live with. However, don’t be fooled by her adorable face and sweet demeanor. Kazu is quite mischievous and has a tendency to steal underwear and socks. It doesn’t matter if they are clean or dirty, or even if they are brand new. Kazu just has a strange fixation on those wardrobe items. I have watched her dig through the laundry basket to find a random sock, then trot all over the house with her little treasure. Here is a photo of a recent sock heist which ended at the food bowl: Sock

Kazu will often make a game of her conquest by tossing the item into the air with a whip of her little head so that she can chase after it, and at times will initiate a game of fetch utilizing the pilfered piece of clothing. Because of my cat’s habit, I must put away clean laundry immediately, and I also have to keep Kazu out of my closet so that she can’t go in there and hop into the dirty laundry bin. My morning ritual consists of hiding my underwear and socks so that she won’t steal them as I am showering.

More recently, Kazu has fallen into the habit of running off with my Incrediwear therapeutic sleeves. If I have to wash dishes, I will take my arm sleeve off and leave it on the coffee table or kitchen counter, only to discover that she has stolen it. Apparently she enjoys the anionic technology of Incrediwear products! In all the years that I have lived with cats (a few decades!), I have never encountered a cat who steals small articles of clothing. It’s an amusing character trait which makes Kazu even more endearing.

Cat Naps

Ever since my dear friend and meditation teacher Rob died, I have been more aware of little moments I can capture during the course of a typical day which can also serve as brief meditation sessions. One thing I have gotten into the habit of lately is pausing before I stretch and get out of bed, allowing myself to enjoy a moment of stillness. I spend a couple of minutes observing my breathing, how energy flows through me, and how the room feels, looks and sounds. It’s a welcome change from the rushed manner in which I used to hit the ground running as soon as I woke up.

Kazu and Tenshi, my dogs trapped in cats' bodies

Kazu and Tenshi, my dogs trapped in cats’ bodies


My rescue kitty and nap buddy Shima

My rescue kitty and nap buddy Shima

The most fulfilling and endearing moments I have allowed myself to indulge in are the ones I spend with my cats. Two of my cats are very doglike and love everyone, while the third cat is extremely attached to me. All three are sweet and tend to demand a lot of my attention when I am home, but I often keep my interaction with them to a minimum because I am in the midst of a pile of work and usually typing or running around the house doing chores. Like faithful dogs, my cats will often follow me from room to room, looking up at me expectantly, purring away and doling out unconditional love.

I have made a concerted effort lately to greet my cats with pets and kisses in the morning while they are sprawled out on my bed. When I come home, I will often lie on the floor, bed, or sofa with them, taking a few moments to just be with them. My shy rescue cat, Shima, will frequently lie on my chest while I pet her, and if we are both very relaxed, we will take a nap together in this position. Every once in a while, a feeling of guilt will wash over me, even though I know I will most likely finish all the items on my to-do list for the day. But this feeling passes quickly, and I remember how important the bonding process with pets is. Even as I write this I have all three cats in the living room with me, with my boy lying alongside my left leg.

My blue male Burmese, Tenshi, is very much a dude and exhibits alpha type behavior with the other two (female) cats. But he also loves to be hugged and squeezed, will push his face into my hands and actually likes having his muzzle grabbed and scratched and his belly softly rubbed while he is on his back. He is also a lap kitty and will often snuggle with me while I write away. My female European Burmese, Kazu, will sometimes take up residence on my lap, and at other times, will rest her head on her favorite pillow just like a human would, and will watch me work. Kazu is also the cat who plays fetch, greets me at the door most faithfully, and purrs if I merely look at her. Basically, my cats make it very easy for me to steal moments of presence and joy with them. I just wasn’t paying enough attention to their signals before Rob died.
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If you have pets and you find yourself ignoring them because of your workload, do yourself and them a favor by pausing each day to bond with them. I am not talking about a couple of quick pets, I am referring to a true connection in which your animal senses that you are fully interacting and remaining in the moment. There have been particularly hectic times in which I became so incredibly busy that my cats got nothing more than a perfunctory tickle under the chin or an ear scratch, but considering how highly socialized two of them are and how needy my rescue cat is, I definitely neglected them somewhat during those times. It doesn’t seem fair to them, especially considering the fact that they greet me at the door, hang out with me in whatever room I am in, and sleep by my side at night. Who knows? Maybe if I had a daily nap with Shima atop my chest, all my stress would easily melt away.

My Cats Are Dogs Trapped In Cat Bodies

Shima the part feral shy girl

Shima the part feral shy girl

All three of my cats are five years old and have been with me since they were kittens. I have one rescue, Shima, who came into the household when she was three weeks old, so I became Mommy in a big way and bottle raised her. Since Shima’s feline mother was feral, Shima’s personality is understandably very skittish, and she needs a lot of coaxing to warm up to strangers. She even runs away from me if I move too quickly. She is very much a feline in her mannerisms and personality, and fits the stereotype of the aloof cat who doesn’t interact much with humans.

My Labrador trapped in a cat's body

My Labrador trapped in a cat’s body

In stark contrast, my two Burmese cats are like dogs, following ANY human around the house, even complete strangers, playing fetch, begging and grabbing treats with their paws on command. My European Burmese, Kazu, dutifully waits for me to enter the house from the garage when I come home and purrs instantly upon seeing me without me petting her. Kazu has the coloring and the personality of a Labrador Retriever, and is always so happy and sweet. I could definitely learn a thing or two from her about how to be in a state of contentment all the time. Another characteristic which Kazu shares with dogs is her innate penchant for fetching. The first time Kazu approached me with a toy and nudged me, I hadn’t realized that she had an instinct to fetch, but I soon discovered that this was something she enjoyed immensely. During her fetching sessions, in which she will continue to fetch for as long as I throw the toy, she purrs the instant she drops the toy next to me and begins to nudge my hand if I don’t pick up the toy immediately.

Check out Kazu’s fetching talents here:

Tenshi my boyMy American Burmese, Tenshi, is the alpha male of the group and loves meeting new people. He is such an in-your-face cat that he rubbed against the legs of the plumber during a recent visit to our house and investigated every single thing the plumber was working on, prompting the plumber to laugh and remark on the doglike nature of my cat. Tenshi walks with a swagger that I have only seen in a few tomcats over the years (pretty impressive for a eunuch!), and he picks on Shima and Kazu regularly. He gets very jealous if people give the other cats attention and will literally shove them away or hit them in the face to scare them off. If I go on a trip for a few days, Tenshi glues himself to me and doesn’t allow me out of his sight. Whenever I go into our trophy room, Tenshi will yell at me until I come back into the main house.

Though I love dogs, I lament the fact that I can’t have them. At least my two Burmese cats make up for it by acting exactly like dogs!