Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 44)

Murray is getting fat—like really fat. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago he looked like this:

And now he looks like this:

Tobyjoe has accused me for years of making everyone I live with fat. Which is just absurd since he’s always been the one to cook. (I do bake, but Tobyjoe doesn’t really eat sweets; it ain’t me!) I’ve always brushed it off. But lately, as I look at Murray, I’ve been asking myself: did I make Murray fat?

Murray loves to eat. He loves to eat more than any other cat I’ve ever known. Murray even puts Schmitty’s eating habits to shame. Pancakes? Yup. Chips? Yes. Bread? Muffins? Cupcakes? Yes, yup and you betcha. But Murray eats vegetables, grains and eggs as well. The only item I’ve seen him turn his head away from and bury with his paw has been fish.

I feed our cats one can of wet cat food twice a day. They split one can twice a day. They also have some low cal hard stuff that I put out all the time, which they simply refuse to eat now that they know there’s good stuff on the way. Even Pookum, our eldest, eats the wet stuff now.

Two days ago, I woke up to my same morning ritual. I filled the kettle for the french press. I opened my computer on the way to the bathroom. I peed. I brushed my teeth, tied my hair back, and washed my face. I returned to the kitchen, made Em’s morning bottle and prepared his solid meal. I got a can of food out for the cats and fed the fatties in three different bowls. I moved one out of the circle a bit for Pookum (who gets harassed otherwise). I sat down to read email.

A few minutes later, Murray jumped up onto the sofa next to me. He was soaking wet. I checked to see where it was coming from, and to get a better idea of what this mysterious liquid was. I discovered that his entire underbelly is sopping wet.

“What have you done, Murray?” I asked. “Did you fall in the toilet again? Is this pee? Were you in the sink? What have you done?”

I followed the trail of water from the sofa to the food bowl in the kitchen. A giant puddle of water surrounded the now empty water bowl. You see, Murray had decided that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So, instead of moving his body and positioning it around the water bowl in order to eat, he plopped his belly down right overtop of it. Because God forbid Murray have to walk a little out of his way in order to start eating. God forbid Murray should potentially arrive late for the morning buffet. God forbid someone else get to his bowl before he does. God forbid he get some exercise on his way to eat. God forbid all of that.

And so it brings me great pain to write what I’m about to write but Murray has to go on a diet. The problem is, I am not sure how to put a cat on a successful diet. The last time I tried this, I created the grumpiest cat in the world.

Is he going to stop loving me? And with that comment, perhaps Tobyjoe is right.


  1. I’ve been up for over four hours. Reading that made the fact that I have to be up for at least seven more hours bearable.

    Wish I had something more elaborate to say, but I don’t have cats and our dog tends to lose weight mostly from us brushing her (she is PUFFY).


  2. A raw food diet seems to have helped Tornado Kitty lose weight. Not that she’s normal-sized, still, but she’s doing way better than when I got her. It is more expensive and less convenient than feeding her a regular diet, but the hardest part is if there are other cats around eating their “normal” food, because the raw food just doesn’t seem to be as appetizing to her – or probably any cat – as the normal wet food.


  3. I have never seen someone successfully put a cat on a diet. Especially a food stealing master like the Mur-man. Let us know if you figure it out!


  4. Kizz: That’s been my experience as well. Murray the Furry Man is quite a thief. If we don’t feed him, he’ll find a way to eat something. For example, the other day I woke up to find the trash bag (I left it near the front door to be taken out the next morning) ripped open, food all over the floor. He’ll find a way, that one. Or he’ll eat paper, (which he’s been doing lately).


  5. We have put our cats on diet and they did respond rather well. My cat, wooster, has what appears to be a similar body type to murry and as much as we put her on a diet she has never lost her belly. Our vet said that it probably something having to do with her being the runt.

    You may want to find ways of encouraging murry not to steal food because as long as he is stealing and you try to put him on a diet; 1 your house will be a mess of stole goods 2 he will never loose the weight.

    So good luck, you’ll need it.


  6. Orville went through a similiar “hoovering period” not long after we adopted him. Now, we only feed Orville weight control dry food – no wet. (Sorry big guy!) He does get Temptations for treats. And we started using a measuring cup to make sure we were feeding him the right-ish amount. He was pretty meowy in the beginning. And I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but we feed him small amounts throughout the day – so he doesn’t hoover his daily quota in one sitting. He still has some love handles, but it’s definitely better.


  7. Aw, bummer. Sorry to hear the little guy is getting chunky. I have the same situation with our beloved 5-year-old kitty, Miles. He is a total porker and looooves to eat. When our eldest cat passed away last year, we made the decision to stop wet food entirely and just feed him crunchies. We even WEIGHED the stuff, and Miles, to keep track of his awesome weight loss.

    Fast-forward a few months. Miles hasn’t lost an ounce. He devours his crunchies and begs like no cat I’ve ever known. (My hubby maintains the begging is my fault.) Meanwhile, Miles waddles around and howls for breakfast as soon as we get up. We now have a 1-year old cat, Emma. She eats like a pig too but has maintained a slim figure.

    My point? Diets did nothing for Miles, and he is still fat and extremely happy. I guess we can try to modify their diets a little, and love them to bits. Good luck! He is such a handsome guy.
    Catherine, Florida


  8. He is awesome. As usual hilarious. I always wished people were covered in fur. This way when we get fat we just look pretty fucking cute. But yeah, it sounds like your kitty may be just a wee bit effing lazy. You should play catch with him with something REALLY heavy. Maybe the exercise will work and he can keep on eating. A cat that hates fish – odd!!! but I had a husky that hated shrimp. I once went to work and left her a bowl of food with a shrimp on top. when i came home every bit of food was gone and the shrimp was lying alone in the middle of the bowl. And shrimp tails were her favorite :)


  9. Dunno if I have anything to say that would help you, other than to not feed him people food. I had my cat for 8 years or so before he moved in with my mom, while I moved to Maryland. She started feeding him people food like ice cream, chips, etc..and he gained quite a bit of weight.

    Not sure I want to say not to feed wet food though, maybe some kind of low-cal version of it? They seem to have much softer and shiner hair when they eat wet over dry. Maybe a mix of both dry and wet?


  10. I… refuse to believe that second picture is unretouched. Is that fake and everyone else gets the joke but me, or is that seriously him? I’m amazed!


  11. That’s him alright. But the iPhone adds ten pounds. And it’s a bad angle. Yeah. That.


  12. HA! That photo at first glance looks like some sick ad for Graco!

    We have two ~10 month old kitties who get fed half of a 13 oz can of food twice per day (Evo or California Naturals). The side of the can says to feed them half a can per 6-8 lbs of body weight per day. I always feel like maybe I’m under-feeding them, but it sounds like your guys are fed even less… Anyway, our kitties are brothers, but couldn’t be more different. Zot is big (already ~11 lbs) and has a chunk of extra skin and fur around the belly. Piglet is lean and about 2 lbs lighter than Zot. They eat the same food (although, admittedly, Zot is a hungrier fellow). It’s just like babies – there are so many individual differences between animals, including body type. Sometimes I throw treats to my guys so they can get exercise while they’re getting food. Maybe that would work with Murray?? Ugh, I don’t know – what I do know is that growing up I had a cat who ate everything just like Murray. Poor sweet girl ended up with feline diabetes (insulin shots and all) and now I’m super scared of the same thing happening. Good luck!


  13. My brother and his wife put their cats on a diet. It really worked and they both slimmed down quite a bit but it sucks at first.
    Basically they feed one cat at a time, twice a day, in portions (i guess what the bag recommends). They put one in the bathroom with the food, let him eat until he is done, and then let the next one.
    I don’t know… It’s a lot of work, but there were definitely results


  14. There are some quality weight control wet foods out there for cats, too. The key is to measure and ONLY feed them the recommended amount. They can still have treats (like 1 or 2), but it has to be limited. As for the stealing of the food, I got nothing! He’s a crafty kitty!


  15. I think the wet food is the culprit. High calorie and too easy to eat. Perhaps start by cutting back on the wet food, splitting one can per day and then work back from there. I have always thought that canned food is bad for their teeth and you should feed primarily a high quality dry food with wet only as a treat, say a spoonful every so often. The dry food keeps their teeth clean and they have to work a little harder to get it. Also bad teeth in kitties leads to heart conditions. Just a thought.


  16. Hey, Michelle-

    Believe me, i understand. This is my Gus:


    In that photo he was about 22 lbs. I have gotten him down to 19. However, I think that is about where he will stay.

    I feed the cats Solid Gold Katzen-Flocken dry food and we are really stringent about feeding them the recommended amount. We can’t control if someone eats more than they are supposed to out of each bowl but we feed only in the morning and only at night, about 1/2-3/4 cups per bowl. (Or so). It seems to have worked for Gus, at least those 3-ish pounds.

    Also though – when I first brought Gus to an American vet, I was so nervous that I was going to be told I was a terrible pet owner because he is so fat. But i wasn’t. I was told that he is just a REALLY BIG CAT. And yes, he could lose 2-3 lbs, but he would never be svelte like our others. He’s just plain big. (And yes, he was once a tiny kitten!) So before you beat yourself up about it, see what your vet thinks.


  17. BY THE WAY- before Gus lost his weight I had him for a while eating wet food, then after that keeping out dry food at all times. Either way is a recipe for an overeating cat to get chubs, I think. It’s the doling out of the dry at regular intervals and amounts that has helped him lose the weight (also we moved into a house, which has more room for him to run, so that helped too). So I’m not sure you have to get anything super fancy, as long as you keep to the recommended amount at set times of the day.


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