Thursday 24 July 2014

Fancy cat

I went down to visit the outlaws yesterday and one of the items on the To Do List was a visit to the Pet Vet with the grossly obese cat which was foisted on them by one of the grandchildren when that child moved house a few years ago. I've been fortunate in my own health, so that I have been to visit my GP 3 times in the last 20 years: one broken wrist, and two middle-aged-bloke check-ups. Thus, while I'm aghast at having to shell out €50+ for five minutes of medical time, it happens so infrequently that it's not too painful.

Last night we shelled out €70 to service the cat!  And I don't mean stud fees. That's the second or third visit this year.  We were persuaded that the cat needed to get her annual immunization against cat-flu and feline infectious enteritis - that was €40. When I say "we", I mean Herself was persuaded because that kind of attention for a cat is more than my thrifty Scottish granny would have been able to countenance; and I can't have the old dear turning in her grave. Immunization wasn't even on the agenda when we left home, either. Me, I think this is a bit of a bill of goods which vets push at their customers in the same way that undertakers gently persuade you that Great Aunt Maud deserves an oak coffin rather than one made out of particle-board. Nobody I know gets their healthy kids a flu jab every year. That aside, the cat was weighed in at 6 kilos and another 1.5kg bag of Royal Canin Reducing feline diet control pellets was purchased for €20.  It is a rare day indeed that I buy food for myself or my family at €13+ /kg.  Even in Ireland you can buy some fancy cheese at that rate and butcher's meat is way cheaper.  But baby's formula milk (another con) is about the same price.  On our farm, additional food for adult animals works out at 25c/kg.

The bulk of this reducing concoction is: "Rice, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, potato protein, corn, natural flavors, herring meal, flax meal, dried beet pulp, powdered cellulose, calcium carbonate, dried brewers yeast, chicken fat . . . and a smidgeon of . . . rosemary [Rosmarinus officinalis] extract ".  I draw attention to the rosemary extract because another Royal Canin product is called CALM and is marketed thus: "has been specially formulated to assist in the management of stress and anxiety in the feline patient." this has "Chicken by product meal, corn, brewers rice, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, wheat, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, dried plain beet pulp, chicken fat, fish oil . . . and . . . marigold (Tagetes erecta) and (less) rosemary extract".  There are lots of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements but I have to conclude that Marigold extract in minute quantities is claimed to clam neurotic felines.  Is there a difference between dried plain beet pulp and dried beet pulp? And what the heck is brewers rice?  Oh they mean brewer's rice: a harmless cheap filler.

The reducing diet requires the current minders of this feline pillow to feed it not more than 50g a day of the concoction until the beast starts to shed some weight.  I don't see why the old couple can't give the cat 50g of best herring instead or 50g of pork chop for half the price.  It's surely a question of quantity rather than niceties of ingredients if it is a crash-diet.

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