Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 62)

Murray is fat. And for the longest time we’ve tried to ignore the fact that we may have had anything to do with It. I’ve suggested that he’s overweight because he steals food from us. I’ve blamed the baby for sneaking food to him. I’ve even suggested that Murray is overweight because of being bottle-fed.

Certainly he’s fat because he was bottle-fed.

A couple of months ago, someone suggested that Murray is fat due to genetics. I mentioned this to Toby.

“You should ask the woman who adopted Murray’s sister if her cat is fat too.”

I thought about this. But how would Kate feel if some strange and potentially crazy cat lady emailed her about her cat?

Dear Kate,

Hey there. My name is Michele. I know we don’t know each other very well and we’ve never actually met in person, but I adopted Eleanor’s brother, Murray. How are you? How is Eleanor? Is she fat?



How would she respond? Would she immediately write back saying, “OMG! YES! ELEANOR IS HUGE! Let’s schedule a play date!” Would she suggest I get a life? I just didn’t feel right about bugging her about the weight of her feline. Plus, I think I secretly wanted to blame Murray’s expanding gut on genetics. Basically, if I never knew the truth, I could forever blissfully assume that Murray was fat because of his mother and father and not because of what I had or hadn’t done.

On Saturday I went to the Empty Cages Collective adoption event at Muddy Paws. While there, I finally met Kate, Eleanor’s mum.

“Kate! It’s so nice to meet you! How is Eleanor?” I asked.

She explained that Eleanor is equally as insane and strange and amazing and awesome and hilarious as Murray. We swapped stories about their eccentric nature. We joked about whether or not they would recognize one another. The more we spoke, the more I realized that our cats, separated very early on, were still oddly similar.

Perhaps they are so genetically similar that Eleanor is fat too?

And so I asked. “Kate, is Eleanor fat?”

She immediately shook her head. “Oh, no, not at all. Eleanor is not fat at all. The opposite actually. She’s actually quite skinny. I think it’s because she never stops moving!”

I nodded. Murray moves around a lot as well but sleeps as much. I wanted to ask her if Eleanor eats Entenmann’s, banana nut muffins, pancakes, corn, broccoli, waffles, and scrambled eggs. I wanted to ask her if Eleanor steels food whenever she isn’t paying attention. I wanted to ask her if Eleanor licks sticks of butter, oiled pans, and muffin holders.

But Eleanor is fit. Murray’s sister is svelte. Murray isn’t fat because he was bottle fed—Eleanor was bottle fed as well. Murray isn’t fat because our son likes to give him tiny bits of waffles. And genetics apparently have nothing to do with Murray’s expanding waistline.

I fear I have run out of excuses.

I’m the mother of the fat kid and the only thing I have left to blame it on is me.


  1. Genetics still can something to do with it. I have brother and sister kitties – the male is huge while the female is skinny. Apollo’s (the male) “step-sister” (my coworkers kitty who wasn’t in the same litter, but from the same momma) looked identical to Apollo – weight and all. I think they may have had the same father too. Just because Murray and Eleanor are litter-mates doesn’t mean they have the exact same genetics.

    He’s a cutie just the way he is!


  2. But he is a happy fat kid. That’s gotta mean something!


  3. He makes us REALLY happy, like unbelievably happy. This cat brings me inexplicable joy. :]


  4. Yeah, what everybody else said. I have 2 cats and my mom has one of their sisters and their mom and my friend has the other 2 brothers. My friend’s two are like Jack Sprat and his wife, no joke. Murray looks like a ghostling next to Max. The others are all different sizes but Max’s brother housemate, Pinto, is super skinny. We try to blame Max’s fat on Pinto because whenever Max wants to play Pinto steals the toy and won’t let him but it could be anything. I was there the day they were born and Max was always the biggest.

    And HAPPY. Happy is important.


  5. Hi Michelle,
    I love your blog, have been reading for several months now – have a 3 month old boy and read your blog while I was pregnant as sort of a guide of how I might be feeling when he came along!
    Anyway, plese put Max on a diet so you can share a long and happy life together. It is no joking matter. (and leave the real fatcats to DC! hee hee).


  6. We have a cat that eats frozen french fries (while still frozen), tortilla chips, corn, olives, etc. When ever we cook anything with canned tomatoes, he will cry for them and we can’t leave the kitchen unattended. He once got to an opened can and then vomited it up on our hallway wall. That said, he is very skinny. I bet it’s genetics.


  7. Tee hee. My daughter’s name is Eleanor (Ellie). I thought it was a kinda formal name for a kid, let alone a cat. Ha!

    My mom likes to plump up pets too. We left our dogs with my parents for four months while they were awaiting their entrance to the UK. They returned them to us easily five pounds heavier each (these are small dogs). My mom just shrugged innocently and said, “What? They were hungry.”


  8. My Eleanor is famous by association! She is indeed skinny, expect for her stomach pooch.
    Not much of a thief, but does need to investigate everything you are doing or have brought into the apt.
    If only we could find out how the other kittens in the litter turned out…


  9. My mom’s cats ate all the meatballs off an entire pizza. It was right in front of my mom and sister and they didn’t notice until they went to get another slice. One of the cats is FAT, the other is slender. It’s funny because the fat one is more active and the slender one hides most of the time.


  10. I have brother and sister cats and the male turned out hugely fat. The female is skinny as a rail. And they eat the same amounts of food. I do know that there were different fathers involved. I watched their mother as she was getting pregnant.


  11. Our three cats – all littermates – are of varying weight. Of course, I am pretty sure they all have different fathers so that might play into it as well, but seriously. Conor (our girl) is the greediest little thing ever (she steals whatever we have on the counter – last week it was bread for croutons, the week before little mushroom dumplings) and is tiny – the husband says she is like a little puff of air. Paddington is our big boy. He is huge! He looks like Murray in the photo above, except black and white. He eats a lot, but less than his sister. Steven is the only one who is normal cat size.

    You never know what is making Murray fat. A lot of it is probably genetics. A friend who has been into cat rescuing for years said that when you get cats whose fathers might have been feral they might be genetically a bit more prone to weight gain (she says this is probably due what the feral fathers had to deal with, like climate- keep warm- and also so they can get bigger to ward off the other cats…). Who knows.

    My parents have a dog who gained a shitload of weight (she was only 5 pounds, so it was noticeable) and we kept trying to figure out what was going on. Turns out my mother – who loves to bake- was slipping her bits of sugar cookies while they sat up watching television late at night.


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