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All of our animals have always been fat. Captain OCD has always fed the animals. I’ve reasoned, wheedled, cajoled, pouted, yelled. I’ve told him that he’s doing them no favors (“But they’re hungry! Look at her sad little face.”). I’ve told him that he will have vet-delivery duties so he’s the one who gets yelled at for enabling obese animals. I’ve provided progressively smaller scoops. I’ve told him just one scoop, not heaping, per animal. I’ve provided progressively smaller bowls. When the only outside cat comes in, the cat who tends to get skinny in the summer, he pours more food in the bowl because she’s so skinny and she’s getting older and so must be coddled, even though she’s probably just polished off a muskrat. That she hasn’t been that skinny for a few years and is now, in fact, the size of a normal cat, is lost on him. As is the fact that the other two pigs are sitting on their fat haunches in a line behind her, eyes boring into her as she nervously chews the food, intimidating her into leaving so they can scarf up every last crumb.

This is not the normal-sized outside cat (looks as if we require our animals to have the same color scheme):

biscuits

But that’s not how he works. If there’s a scoop, it must be heaped. A bowl must be overflowing no matter how many scoops it takes to accomplish that. One squirt from the shampoo bottle isn’t enough because he’s constitutionally incapable of doing anything in singular. So it’s three pumps of shampoo, four pumps of dishwashing soap, two napkins with dinner (only mine – why would he need a napkin when his pants are already dirty?), and always more than one scoop of cat food. This must not be unique to our home because the vet said he keeps the cat food locked up and no one else is in his family is allowed to feed the cat because they all overfeed it

I also wondered why our dog was so hopeful during every meal, acting as if she’d get fed from our plates even though she never has been, but I admired her unflagging hope. I’d say to her, “Like that pathetic look has ever worked before.” Until one morning I got up early and interrupted Captain OCD’s lunch-making routine. Busted. Apparently every morning has been Christmas morning for the animals: Chunks of cheese, pieces of lunch meat torn off in hunks from the corner because it’s too much bother to peel off a slice, maybe some tuna from a fork, a little reheated teriyaki chicken and rice. So that’s how he knows that one of the cats is fond of cantaloupe. 

With our current dog (about four years old), I took over the feeding duties (I’ve rearranged my schedule so that a scoop once a day from the garbage can on the porch to the bowl two feet away isn’t too much of a hardship) so she’s not fat. The cats, however, still are. He feeds them early in the morning, when he’s up and I’m not, or else they’ll be obnoxious and wake me up, and one thing I’m not going to do is get up early to feed the stupid cats. I didn’t do it for the kids so, if nothing else, I don’t want the kids to think I’m playing favorites. I believe in equal-opportunity neglect. I feed the cats a little bit late at night when I’m up and he’s not so they won’t wake us up in the middle of the night being obnoxious. Every morning I go in that room and am slightly irritated because there’s evidence that he’s done the same thing he’s done for the past nearly 27 years.

About a week ago I had a brainstorm. Now, every morning I go in there and dump about half the cat food back into the bin. A quick study, I am.