The people who know us best instinctively know how to push our buttons. So naturally my brother knows one of the easiest ways to get me riled up is to tell me my cat is a porker.
“Buddy’s looking like he’s put on the pounds,” he’ll say casually. “How much are you feeding this cat?”
“Buddy is NOT fat!” I’ll reply indignantly. “It just looks that way because he’s meatloafing.”
“No, I’m pretty sure he’s just fat.”
Well now he may be right. Buddy isn’t exactly fat, but he’s on the wrong side of skinny and a few bags of Temptations away from being kinda chubby. Now is the time to nip this in the Bud and bring his weight back down before it, uh, balloons.
This is by far the fattest-looking photo of Buddy I could find. He’s in a super-meatloaf pose here, looking like a chonkmaster.
This photo was taken a few days later.
(Above: Buddy in super-chonk meatloaf pose, left, and Buddy in a photo taken a few days later. The way a cat sits or stands can dramatically change the way his or her body looks.)
The problem is, Buddy has mastered the art of the guilt trip.
When he’s legitimately hungry he isn’t shy about meowing for his meals, but what he does in between meals is much worse. When I head into the kitchen for a beverage or a snack, Buddy will pad right up to the doorway and stop, looking at me with his big, expectant eyes. His gaze will follow me as he sits there all hopeful.
And if I leave the kitchen without opening his treat cabinet, those big green eyes become accusatory, as if I’ve committed a profound betrayal of his trust by not giving him the ultra-processed kitty crack he loves.
It’s the complete silence that gets me. No meows, no complaints, just dead silence and those big eyes.
Worse yet, he’ll park himself right next to me and watch me eat a bowl of cereal or a cookie, continuing the silent act. What kind of horrible Big Buddy gets a snack for himself but not his Little Buddy?
So yeah. It’s diet time.
Buddy doesn’t know the dreaded D-word. He’s about to learn. But his diet may be harder on me than it is on him.
They’ve all drawn blood, most notably a deep three-inch wound across my forearm that continues to bleed even after I washed it out and applied antibacterial cream.
That’s where my cat latched on in his determination to register his displeasure.
What could prompt such action? Was he terrified by something, reacting violently out of instinct? Did he lash out at me because I was abusive? Did I accidentally step on his tail?
Buddy was angry because, while he has almost the entire run of the place, one room usually remains off-limits to him. A single room!
So tonight, after meowing and complaining, the little lunatic ran full speed into the living room and launched himself at me, latching onto my left arm and raking his claws against my skin. One second I’m reading, the next I’ve got nine or 10 pounds of angry cat doing an impression of a paper shredder on my arm.
I know it was a brat move because of his “I want it now!” whimper as he clawed me, and because he’s done the same thing many times. Without fail, it’s because he’s not getting something he wants.
There are phases. Bud could be a good boy for two months, the image of a well-behaved cat, then one day I won’t give him any more treats because he’s already had too many, and he’ll complain with his “But I want it now!” yowl as he’s biting down on my feet.
Or maybe he wants to go sit on the balcony, but I don’t let him go out because I’m leaving soon and I can’t just leave him unsupervised on a balcony only 18 feet from the ground.
And sometimes it’s just because Bud sees I’m getting ready for bed, and he doesn’t want to go to sleep, so he launches himself at me with claws extended and teeth ready to chomp down.
Over the years I’ve had a few girlfriends tell me I’d be a great dad. Stupidly, I believed them. Now I’m not so sure. If my cat is a legendary brat, thanks in part to his disposition but mostly because I dote on him, what chance would my kids have?
Well, it’s half to dinner o’clock. I’d better get on that quick, or Mr. Scratchalot is going to give me matching tattoos on my other arm.
You’re always going on about food as if your Big Buddy doesn’t ply you with snacks. I know he does, because you’re getting chubby.
But that’s beside the point: You’re a cat! You don’t need humans to feed you. You could venture outside and grab yourself a nice juicy mouse or a plump bird!
It’s time for you to get in touch with your roots and your inner predator, Buddy.
– Rodent Hunter in Rhode Island
Dear Rodent Hunter,
First of all, I am NOT chubby. It’s called a primordial pouch, okay? Cats from fierce warrior lineages have them to protect us from the claws of our opponents and the talons of raptors. (The avian kind, not the dinosaurs, although if dinosaurs were still around I’d kick their asses too.)
Secondly, I would totally go outside and hunt me some snacks, but I can’t. It’s in my contract. When you make a living off your devastating good looks like I do, you can’t just get into scraps like a common cat.
If you say so. But humans are constantly leaving tasty treats all over the place. You just need to know where and when to look.
For example, did you know humans eat whipped cream in the bathroom? It’s true! The next time your Big Buddy is shaving his whiskers, find some way to make a distraction that will draw him out of the bathroom.
While he’s distracted you can eat the whipped cream. There will be entire globs of it all around the sink! Just gobble it all down really fast and get out before Big Buddy realizes you’re eating his yummy snacks.
You’ll have plenty of time to savor the taste of that delicious whipped cream once you’re out of the bathroom. When you taste it, I want you to think of me. That’s the taste of victory, Buddy!
– Rodent Hunter in Rhode Island
Dear Rodent Hunter,
Thanks, my friend! It’s nice to know my readers love me so much. Big Buddy usually shaves at night.
Tonight I feast on sweet, yummy whipped cream!
WHAT THE &$@#, DUDE?!? That was NOT whipped cream! It didn’t taste like victory either. It was gross! I had to wash my mouth out eight times and eat half a bowl of kibble just to get the taste off my tongue, and then I got sick.
Do you think Big Buddy knew I was going to steal his whipped cream? He knew, right? That’s why he put that disgusting fake whipped cream for me to find. It’s the only logical explanation.
You’re as sharp as you are handsome, Buddy! That’s got to be what happened. Your Big Buddy must’ve known and he played a prank on you. Makes total sense.
I eat the whipped cream all the time when my human shaves, and it is creamy and delicious! Maybe you should try again. Be really slick about it so your human doesn’t know you’re coming and put the fake whipped cream out for you. Be stealthy!
When you outsmart your human and you get that first taste of milky, creamy, silky deliciousness, remember that you’re a genius and you’ve earned it. Your persistence will pay off!
Let me know how it goes. 🙂
I was outwitted again. 😦 I don’t know how he knew I was going to steal his whipped cream again, but somehow Big Buddy found out and pulled another fast one on me. What’s that saying? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on you again!
Well I won’t give him the satisfaction of a third time! I’m done trying to steal whipped cream for the time being.
I’m really sorry to hear that, bro. You’re really missing out on a yummy treat. Oh well.
What about…? Nah. Nevermind. It’s better you don’t know about the cakes.
Come on, dude! Don’t hold out on me! What are these cakes you speak of? I’m already getting hungry.
Okay, okay. If you insist. But I must warn you, these things are so delicious you might never go back to cat food again.
They’re called urinal cakes and they’re usually pink, like the color of fresh turkey…
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.