Weighty Matters

I want to start a weekly weigh-in of Lincoln to see how his weight is doing, but as we are moving on Monday, it may take a couple days to get that set up. We’re moving to the Des Moines, Iowa area, where my family lives. It will be a big change, but hopefully a great opportunity for us.

I’ve enjoyed living in Chicago the past 12 years, having gone to DePaul University and then working here in the city. But, both my husband and I turned 30 this year, and we find ourselves wanting to start a family and settle down. Iowa is an ideal place to “raise a family” as they say. I will miss the 3 Indian restaurants within a block of our apartment though…

Moving the cats will be quite an experience, I will drive our car with the two of them in the back, and my husband will drive the moving truck. All I can do is hope the ride will be smooth!

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Before and Now…

People ask me how long it took Lincoln to get to his current size. I’d have to say over a year and a half. He just started gradually gaining weight until we realized that he had a serious weight problem.

Within a year of having both cats we realized that we needed to try to do something to get his weight down. Several unsuccessful attempts later, I begged our vet to prescribe food for him. He was pretty unresponsive about it, and said that we needed to accept his weight the way it was. Finally, when I took Belden in for a routine check-up, I mentioned to the vet (different vet, same clinic) about Lincoln and his weight problem. He said he could prescribe the special diet food for Belden since she was a little chunky (not too bad, her weight has stayed the same) and we could get it for both of them. Within a month of putting both cats on the diet food we noticed Lincoln’s weight went down to 30 from a high of 34 pounds.

Here are a couple pictures to illustrate how he looked:

Lincoln and Belden in April 2002 (15 lbs.):
(Belden is gray, Lincoln is buff colored)

Another shot:

Lincoln in February 2005 (30 lbs.):

Another shot:

Lincoln’s Weight Gain

Lincoln was always a big cat – not chubby, but muscular and long. My husband spotted him at the shelter (named “Toby” at that time) and insisted we take a look at him. I had already picked on cat – Belden – and since he had driven me down to the shelter I felt obliged to take a look at the cat he found.

Toby/Lincoln was a big old tom who was approximately 3 years old at the time. He had been neutered upon arriving at the shelter and we did not get any information on where he came from and why he was taken there. A striking fellow, he had blue eyes and was a cream/gray striped. Kind of a Siamese/Tabby mix. He seemed friendly enough and sniffed gently at Leokadia/Belden, who I was holding.

“OK, let’s get him,” I said, feeling like I was being fair since he HAD driven car-less me to the shelter.

After some inital fighting, the cats became fast friends. I took them to the vet to get checked out and at the time Belden weighed 12 pounds and Lincoln was 14.5. They received the first round of vaccines, and had to go back six weeks later for the second round. Then again at the vet they were weighed – B was still at 12, L was at 16! I asked the vet if it was possible for a cat to gain a pound and a half in six weeks and he replied that they must not have weighed him properly the first time. Hmmm…interesting!

Flash forward to November 2003. Lincoln was having problems urinating one night. Concerned, I took him to the emergency vet office with my brother around midnight. The vet found that it was most likely a urinary tract infection. There she also weighed him…and he was at 31 pounds!!!

Some more background: I had noticed over the past year and a half that he had been steadily gaining weight, while B was the same. Concerned, I tried a variety of techniques, all compounded by the fact we had another cat to feed as well. We tried moving Belden’s bowl to a higher ledge where she could jump up and eat. Of course, being a little sneak, she would try to eat out of L’s bowl on the floor. It got to the point where he started sitting in front of his dish guarding it from B and then urinating in front of it to keep her away from it.

My usual vet basically told me to “accept that he would be that big”. Hmmm…

Introducing Lincoln…

When I tell people that we have a 30-pound cat, I get incredulous stares and exclamations of surprise. Then follwed by requests to see actual pictures of said cat.

I first met Lincoln in late April 2002. My roomate and sister was getting married at the end of May and I was moving into a new 1 bedroom apartment and living by myself for the first time ever. I found out that the landlord allowed cats, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to adopt a pair of cats for some companionship.

Conning my husband, who was my boyfried at the time, that I just wanted to “check out” an animal shelter, we headed down to the city-run shelter in Chicago. We came back with two cats, one of them, named Toby at the shelter, would then be named Lincoln. Not in honor of the president, but Lincoln Avenue, one of the streets I lived right off of in the city. Lincoln was a 3 year old male, cream and grey striped tabby mix with blue eyes.

Joining Lincoln was Leokadia, which is quite possibly the worst name ever for a cat. Leokadia was a 4 year old gray female with green eyes. She was promptly renamed Belden, after Belden Avenue, the other street that intersected with Lincoln Avenue where I lived.

Lincoln and Belden came from separate homes with different owners/situations. It would be interesting to see how they would interact with each other.