Who You Callin’ Fat?

jack in tree

Jackie in his thinner days

So you know my cat Jack, right? Well, his new name is Jackie. That’s because he now shares a striking resemblance to Jackie Gleason. If you have no clue who that is, I’ll tell ya.

Jackie Gleason was an actor and comedian who starred in The Honeymooners in the 1950s. What made him stand out, besides his ability to make people laugh, was his rotundness. In other words, the man sported a rather large girth.

Jackie Gleason

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not prejudiced against those of the extra large variety. My grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousin all fit that description. Fatness sorta runs in my family, which is why I eat ice cream with no added sugar (and am teased for it).

ice cream 3

I suppose my friends have a point. If I’m going to indulge in something as irresistibly decadent as frozen milk with delicious stuff added, I may as well eat the real thing loaded with sugar, right?

Trust me, I make up for it in an assortment of ways. Like sampling the goodies I bake for the humane society staff and my tennis team. I have to be certain they don’t taste awful, don’t I? (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.) Last week I actually dumped 24 mini S’more Cups.

smores 2

Not up to snuff

Anyway, back on topic…Jackie is now to the point where he waddles like a penguin. I take full responsibility for this except when I’m making excuses. And here’s a good one…

waddling penguin

When I trapped Jackie, a semi-feral that turned out to be adoptable, I added him to my furry family. Something told me I couldn’t return him to that scene. He was one of 15 unaltered cats being fed behind a country hotel. Since ferals are rarely fully satisfied in the culinary sense, food became his obsession.

valley ford hotel

Jackie’s first home

Jackie is a challenge in that respect. I’ve always free-fed my other cats without issues. They’re grazers: they don’t gorge like you-know-who. They prefer munching small amounts throughout the day. Well, that’s history. 

Jackie guarding food

Never far from food

Turns out (unbeknownst to me until I noticed Jackie’s expanding waistline) he was licking his bowl clean before proceeding on to Oliver’s, then Savannah’s, then Tippy’s. Those 3  began to look thin as supermodels while Jackie appeared, well…the opposite.

Jack eating 2

Stupid me thought he had a thyroid problem. No such luck. He’s simply a tubby tundra. In fact, sometimes I refer to him by that name when he’s not listening. Even so, Jackie’s an easygoing chap so he probably wouldn’t mind. I can call him anything as long as I don’t call him late for dinner.

So you see my dilemma: how to stop him from bursting a gut while the others don’t starve to death. And I believe I found the solution. I feed Jackie in my office while Oliver, Savannah and Tippy chow down in the guest room before I remove their food. Free feeding is a thing of the past. But as you can see, Oliver and Tippy seem okay with that.

oliver and tippy on patio

Dinner? Yeah, yeah, give us a minute

Savannah, however, isn’t so sure.

Savannah in backyard

WHAT?! No more free-feeding?

Actually, it’s been easier than I thought. Mealtime is the only instance where Jackie moves faster than a crawl. Once he hears that can pop open, he’s like an Olympic sprinter dashing for gold — except his reward is Friskies Chicken in Gravy.

jack with toy

Did I just hear what I think I heard?

Anyway, it will take months to get this guy into shape. But who knows? Maybe someday Jackie will be the feline version of super-fit San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick…minus his muscles…and tattoos…and ability to throw a ball.


To be honest, I’ll just be happy to see Jackie’s waistline again.

Jackie talking

Finally done talking about me now?



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