Meow was a 39-pound cat forfeited at a shelter when his 87-year-old owner was no longer able to care for him. Meow was originally ridiculed when the media stumbled upon him, as one of his favorite foods was hot dogs and he often got stuck inside of things due to his size. Some of us look at this picture and think, “Aw! How cute!”. That’s fine. But the reality is, Meow died a sad and early death because his lungs failed due to the increased pressure on his vital organs from an overflow of fat.
These are the types of things that remind me why I need to get healthy. It’s not just because of Meow, the fat cat, that I’m reminded what obesity can do to my body and organs. It’s because I had an allergy appointment this week and my blood pressure was high – a reminder that constant, chronic stress and obesity almost double my chances for heart disease. It’s because every now and then I get a dull ache in my right ankle – remnants of Plantar Fascia, a type of heel pain I had when I was 15 pounds heavier. It’s because I’m already severely allergic to environmental pollens, and if I gain more weight, the strain on my sinuses would get even worse. It’s also because I want to be a mother one day, and at my current weight, I’d be high-risk for gestational diabetes. I don’t want this post to be a downer, but Meow was a good wake up call for me this week.
We may laugh about a grossly obese cat or the morbidly obese women in bikinis on birthday cards, but it’s no laughing matter. Even though the tagline of this blog started out as “Because fat is funny and food is fun”, death because of obesity is clearly not funny. I’m not laughing about Meow’s death, and I hope you’re not either, because even though his situation was awkwardly uncomfortable and could prompt a few giggles, he’s gone now because somebody didn’t hold up their end of the pet-caretaker bargain. Had he been fed a suitable diet, he’d be alive and snuggling in somebody’s lap today. And when I think about why I want to lose weight, it’s not about wearing cute turquoise jeans or buying a size large. It’s about feeling the sunshine on my face well into my 70s, baking cookies for my grandchildren, and earning the privilege to become a cranky old lady. So tonight, I thank Meow for a painful but necessary prompt to remind me why I need to lose weight. Weight loss isn’t something I can do when I have “time” or when things calm down. I need to do it now, because I will ALWAYS have excuses, but I may not always have my health.
Rest in peace, Meow.