Fat Kitty’s Conspiracy Plan

One of the nice things about having my parents come visit last month is that my Christmas shopping has been done for weeks. Sure, I inwardly whined and complained about being dragged from store-to-store by my mom because I hate shopping but you just have to learn to suck it up for people you love. And shopping is what she loves.

Despite my best intentions to hide all our presents in one place, it never fails that I “misplace” at least one item.  Jamie gives me C-R-A-P about it every year because it’s usually his gift. In my defense, I eventually find it, even if it’s five months after the fact.

This year, I’ve misplaced some stocking stuffers, which isn’t overly suspicious but the other missing gift has raised some red flags. I cannot find the gift that Fat Kitty got Jamie: the book, How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You. I suspect foul play.

He pleads the fifth.



Lessons learned at 5 a.m. and 5:10 a.m. and 5:20 a.m….

We learned a couple of things when our fire alarm falsely went off starting at 5 a.m. this morning:

1) Bode can sleep through anything.

2) Fat Kitty (who’s still MIA) is a “save yourself” kinda cat.

The Rebellion of the Fat Cat

Our busy travel season is heating up and someone always gets left in our wake: Fat Kitty.

He’s usually a really great cat–snuggly, loving, gentle and oh-so tolerate of kids pulling him in every direction. He’s not destructive either (with the exception of his flip-flop fet1sh) and so when he acts out he doesn’t think to be mean or aggressive. It’s just not in his nature. When Fat Kitty rebels, he poops. Mainly: where he’s not supposed to.

When we go on extended trips we hire a cat sitter but for a weekend getaway, Fat Dude is on his own and he lets us know exactly what he thinks about it by the brown care packages he has been leaving.

But his latest incident caught us completely by surprise. We had been running errands all day and it was time for Bode’s piano lesson. The last thing Hadley wanted to do was be dragged there so I upped the ante for her. “Why don’t we bring Fat Kitty in the car?”

“Really? I thought he didn’t like it.”
“Who knows? Maybe he’ll change his mind.”

She was referring to the (NON)joy ride he took a few years ago when we looked at the Christmas lights. Terrified, he clung to me the entire time and took days to recover.

I decided it was time for Round 2 of Fat Kitty Torture.

Since I was driving, it was Hadley’s turn to hold him and it was like Ground Hog Day all over again. Excitement over finally leaving the house, then horror he was going in the car. He seized Hadley like she was the last chocolate egg in the Easter basket but after a while, he started to loosen up a bit, even putting up his paws to look out the window.

But be ye not deceived: he hated every minute of it.

We thought he had almost successfully completed the drive when, as we were pulling into the driveway, I caught a whiff of something.

“Does anyone else smell that?”

Bode immediately perked up. “It smells like POOP.”

Then Hadley looked down between her legs and Fat One had poop right on her lap.

Me thinks it’ll be another few years before we take him in the car again.

Introducing the newest member of our family

It’s a bit belated but I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our family: our new deck! We’ve been in our house for almost 10 years and have been using a temporary (read: crappy) paver-stone deck with a patio set I bought at a garage sale years ago.

Those days are no  more! I worked my butt off on a big project all winter and with those funds, we hired someone to build a nice little refuge in our backyard. We still need to stain the pillar and pergola and put up the shade cloth but you get the idea. Our finishing touches were writing our individual prayers on Prayer Flags and stringing them across the entrance.

Yes I’m a little bit obsessed with Nepal. Though reluctant at first, Jamie was all-in when we wrote a “pumpkin” prayer for him.

To christen our deck, we hosted a neighborhood progressive dinner a few weeks ago. And then had a big group of friends over for Family Home Evening last week. I had a gift card to try out Chipotle’s new catering and haven’t had the chance to use it. A non-occasion turned out to be the perfect occasion!But most importantly, what does Fat Kitty think of the new deck? He had a rocky introduction to it a few months ago when the builder had it framed. Jamie painted it with some water-resistant stain and Hadley decided to take Fat Kitty in the backyard. Within minutes, The Fat One jumped onto the wet paint. It wasn’t bad enough that it got all over his feet but his fat gut sags so much he got the paint all over his belly, too.

He was greatly displeased when we had to scrub him down in the bath.

Bathing beauty

But he’s gotten over it.


Is Fat Kitty a Beached Whale in Disguise?

Really, don’t we all have days we feel like this?

On his tombstone: “He died of starvation”


Quite possibly the best cat picture, ever

It has come to this: I am one of the crazies posting cat pictures on the Internet. Oh wait, I’ve been doing that for a while now with my Fat Kitty pictures. I’m not sure why I can’t stop laughing at this picture.

Maybe it’s because Jamie says Fat Kitty isn’t a real cat.

Maybe it’s because Fat Kitty once caught a mouse in our backyard and, not knowing what to do with it, sat on it. Or maybe because it’s just so darn funny.

Fat Kitty on the Lam

Fat Dude has a pretty easy-going life as an inside house cat. He sleeps. He eats. He snuggles. He sleeps some more. And if he’s lucky, we take him for supervised visits in the backyard (remember his first Great Escape?)

Basically, Fat Kitty is our prisoner.

The other night, he made a bid for freedom that failed oh-so miserably. Every night before bedtime, he dutifully waits for Hadley on her bed and falls asleep with her. He’ll usually make his way into our bedroom later and sleeps perched above my head.

He’s like a bit, fat, squishy pillow.

But when I woke up Wednesday morning, he was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t worried. Occasionally he likes to pull an all-nighter with Hadley or wander the house. Jamie opened up our bedroom window a crack and discovered it was raining HARD. It was a shock because we assumed Denver forgot how to rain (it has been that long).

And then I heard a very distinctive MEOW!

It wasn’t his normal morning “hey wassup” meow but rather of a ticked-off cat in distress. I started racing around the house to see what closet he accidentally got locked in this time (don’t judge; it happens). But I couldn’t find him anywhere.

Until I went downstairs and looked outside. There, sitting on the patio was a verrrrrrrry angry Fat Kitty who was locked outside. Remember when I mentioned it was raining? Welp,it rained cats and dogs (pun intended). All. Night. Long.

Every evening in the summer, Jamie opens up the windows and blasts our attic fan to cool down the house. What likely happened that night was he’d opened up the back door and Fat Kitty must have snuck out through the busted screen.

And yes, Jamie will continue to be nagged until it is fixed.

Then, when Jamie locked up the house an hour later he unknowingly locked the Fat One outside. Did I mention the rain storm?

Fat Kitty won’t let us forget about it. But he hasn’t shown any desire to go outside so don’t be watching for him on Prison Break anytime soon.

Especially when it’s raining.

One-week freedom anniversary

Today marks one week that both kids have been in school and I’ve fallen into a nice pattern.

5:30 a.m. Wake up, work.
6:50 a.m. Wake up kids.
7 a.m. Wake up kids again. I really mean it this time. Get Bode breakfast
7:15 a.m. Wake up daughter AGAIN. Threats begin.
7:16-7:54 a.m. Eat breakfast, make beds, get ready, more threats.
7:55 a.m. Walk son to the bus stop
8:15 a.m. Drive Haddie and our carpool to school
8:30-10 a.m. Workout/play
10:30 a.m..-3:10 p.m. Work.
3:11 p.m. Pick-up kids, homework, chaos, dinner.
10:30 p.m. Fall into bed. If I’m lucky.

My level of productivity has astounded even me and it’s helped I haven’t had any glaring deadlines this week. After Labor Day, work meetings/lunches begin but I’m making a concerted effort to keep my first couple of hours free to hike or bike.

My friend Tiffanie asked me to help lead a 20-mile hike with the Scouts on Labor Day so I’ve been exploring some new routes in Boulder. Jamie calls it slacking off. I call it research.

Either way, I win.

As for the kids, they are thriving. Bode starts soccer next week and adores first grade, his teacher, the school and his buddies. In his assessment he tested waaaay above the standard in all his subjects and hopefully he’ll keep at it. I’m relishing our walks to the bus stop and that he still adores me enough to hug, kiss and even take me down in the occasional thumb war.

These are limited days, indeed.

Hadley is also doing really well and will begin swim team and piano lessons in September.

I, of course, was worried because she started a new school but she loves it. Well, she loves most aspects of it except the academic  part (which I suspect will be a battle until she graduates). She has made a BF in class, plays in the treehouse with all the boys at recess (gulp), is thrilled to be learning the violin in orchestra (painful earplug gulp), thinks she’s bilingual with her Spanish class and is counting down the days until her first field trip and the pranks they’ll pull on the boys

In our public school, they went to the museum, to a play or the zoo. Wanna know what her charter school has planned? A 3-day, 2-night camping trip to Mesa Verde National Park.

It’s no wonder she’s liking it.

And I’m really, really happy she’s there. Though there have been some preliminary hiccups/annoyances, I love the beautiful campus (I’ll have to post pictures soon) and the kind of activities they have planned. From their back-to-school picnic to a potluck with all the families in our class to a Fall Festival for the community to a 5K…that’s all within the next month.

And just how is Fat Kitty adjusting to our suddenly-quiet house?

Rather well, I’d have to say.

Fat Kitty’s Soul Mate & Internet Sensation

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes during my painful recovery week. The first five days were decidedly hellish but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jamie has been a tremendous help though he’s been struggling with some pretty severe rheumatism attacks of his own so I have felt guilty every time I ask for assistance. It’s so like him to steal my thunder.

Case in point: after birthing baby Bode, I sent Jamie home from the hospital immediately thereafter stating “you’re useless to me.” He was sicker than he’s ever been and instead of his mom helping me with Bode those first few days, she had to tend to poor Jamie.

My only constant last week was Fat Kitty. I’ll admit it: sometimes when I’m overwhelmed with stress, I look at his lackadaisical life and think, “I’d just like to be him one day.” Let me tell you: I was him–passed out all week long and it was highly overrated.

When Jamie walked into the bedroom one night, he confirmed, “The only thing more pathetic in this house than you is the cat.”

While on the subject, there is a lot of curiosity surrounding Fat Kitty, usually re: what he eats. I hate to disappoint but he honestly is a light eater–he has about 3/4 of a bowl of kitty food per day and the occasional kitty treat. He does not eat human food.

So, how did he get so fat? He was big when we brought him home from the shelter. Possible explanations are that the fat dude is just big-boned (and large stomached). Or maybe he has a thyroid problem.

But my friend Stacey in Calgary sent me an article about a cat that is assuredly Fat Kitty’s evil twin. I mean, take a gander.

Fat Kitty:

Evil twin, Fat Boy.

Fat brothers from another mother.

Anyhew, for anyone who has ever been on diet, you will get a crack out of Fat Dude’s weight-loss plan…and his MacGyver-esque moves to swipe food. He has become an Internet sensation in Canada.

For obvious reasons. Read on:

A fat cat living at a Saskatchewan animal shelter has managed to squeeze his way into the hearts of many.

Fat Boy, an eight-year-old tabby cat, has eaten himself into becoming the Moose Jaw Humane Society’s poster kitty for healthy eating — even if he isn’t entirely sold on the idea.

Even so, he’s generated quite the fan base, which is growing thanks to the society’s Facebook page that includes what they’ve dubbed “Fat Boy Fridays.”

Karla Pratt, the fundraising and promotions director, said Fat Boy was surrendered to them in 2006 because his then-owners said they couldn’t keep him because he was eating their other cats’ food.

In those days, the tubby tabby was known as Boots — but that soon changed after he was allowed out of his kennel and into the free-range cat population.

“We have free-range feeding stations around the shelter for these cats so they can kind of come at their own leisure and eat,” Pratt said. “This was probably not the best idea for a cat that was already a little bit big. He was able to help himself and he did so gladly, and over time he assumed the moniker of Fat Boy.”

It was during one of the feline’s yearly checkups that the vet warned that if staff didn’t get his weight under control, he’d end up with some serious health problems. It was during that visit they discovered he weighed 23 pounds — almost 10 pounds more than he should.

By then, Fat Boy had already developed quite a local following, drawing regular visitors to the humane society to see him. (He is now a permanent resident and no longer up for adoption.)

“People will make a special trip to the shelter just to say hi to Fat Boy,” she said. “We’ve got our regulars who come to visit him and they’re always upset if they can’t find him.”

But there is a place where the popular puss can always be found — Facebook. The society started its site several months ago, and when Fat Boy’s diet officially started five weeks ago, it became a weekly event on the page — with weigh-in Fridays referred to fondly as “Fat Boy Fridays.”

It’s a slow process, to which many dieters can attest. With a goal to weigh 15 pounds, Fat Boy has some distance to go — and he isn’t making it easy for staff. While he hasn’t lost his easygoing, couch potato personality, he’s shown staff he can be quite the resourceful furball when it comes to food.

They were stumped during a previous weigh-in when they discovered he’d gained back the two ounces he’d lost the week before. The answer soon became clear.

“We went out into the main cat adoption room and here he was stealing food from one of the caged cats’ kennels,” Pratt said. “He had reached in, tipped the bowl over and was scarfing it down off the floor as quickly as he could like a ravenous wolf.”

That particular problem was fixed by putting the caged cats’ food dishes at the back of the cages where they’re out of reach. Staff have had to be equally resourceful in keeping up with Fat Boy’s other methods of securing extra food while contending with restricted-calorie food and smaller, controlled portions.

“He is very determined to get any food that we have down,” Pratt said. “He’s in there like a dirty shirt, so we really have to be careful where we leave the food even around the shelter now. We do have a food room and we have to keep everything else locked up in cupboards where he cannot open the doors or else get a big Rubbermaid tub type of thing where he can’t get into it — because he will actually rip the bags open. So we need to be very strict with him, that’s for sure.”

One method they’ve tried has been a box with a hole cut out — big enough for only the slimmer cats to squeeze through to get the food inside. It’s still a work in progress as staff discovered Fat Boy was reaching in and grabbing the forbidden food.

“He’s a bit of a MacGyver,” Pratt said.

Throughout the process, Fat Boy has had plenty of support, with the Facebook page showing comments from right across North America.

Fat Boy’s girlfriend, six-year-old Mama Cat, has been equally loyal, Pratt said.

“He is her big ball of fun,” she said. “She has told us that she will not judge him by his size and she will remain loyal to him no matter how famous he gets.”

Pratt said she hopes pet owners learn the importance of keeping their furry family members at a healthy weight.

“He’s going to set a good example for all the other overweight felines out there, and dogs too for that matter,” Pratt said. “It’s never too late to lose weight and get onto a healthy regime.”

(See Fat Boy on CNN).

Summer Doldrums and Fat Kitty Torture Techniques

One of the few positives to come out of my recovery period (I’m currently on Day 7) is my home-bound kids have been forced to come up with their own entertainment.

Why would that be a good thing? We’ve had such an active, amazing summer that the mere thought of school sent shockwaves through them. Now that the doldrums have set in, their return to school next week won’t be nearly as traumatic.

Waking up at 7 a.m. is another story.

Though I’m grateful I’m feeling better every day and now only have very minor, sporadic chest pain, my house arrest has confirmed to me I am not a homebody. Here are a few things we’ve been doing:

1) Hung with friends. My friend Tina came over on Monday with besties Nolan and Rowan. Gone are the days when they played dress-up and got nekkid but they still had a grand time slip ‘n sliding and burying Haddie in the sand. Clothed this time.

2) Ate. Many supportive friends have brought over treats. When in doubt with how to pander to the sickly, food is a good choice.

3) Showed Mommy new tricks in an effort to induce a real heart attack.

4) Weeded the kids’ overgrown pumpkin patch. That was Day 5. And the ultimate evidence I was bored out of my mind.

5) Witnessed a miracle Fat Kitty catch a mouse in the garden. Unsure of what to do with the little critter, he did the ultimate in animal torture: he sat on it.

(Hadley commemorated the occasion by drawing this picture of the mouse in his mouth).

4) Played soccer with Fat Kitty. Or rather, at him.

Me: “Bode, don’t kick the ball at poor Fat Kitty!”

Bode: “But Mommy, he’s the goal!”