Fat isn’t something you are, it’s something you have…

How 2 cats cured my issues with weight and food…

I used to have a kitty that was a little fatty pie. Miss Melissa Mew. Missy for short. Missy stole our hearts from the minute we saw her struggling to live.

Our big ol’ rescue-cat was lost. We walked and called and searched. Then we went to the shelter to see if anyone found him. No luck, but while we were there, the rescue truck showed up with a kitten found in a garbage can, 15 ounces and half dead. They said she might not live. We adopted her anyway.

Driving back to work, my ex saw someone slow down, toss out a tiny black kitten and speed away. He slammed on the brakes and chased down the kitten. And brought her home. Which is how Lucky came to live with us.
Same age as Missy, same gender, but as different as night and day.

Lucky was a brat… We’d be sitting at the dinner table and a streak of black would fly by — and we’d check our plates to see what was stolen. A slice of buttered bread, or a chicken leg. It was crazy — she’d fly by, grab food and keep going. She didn’t share it with Missy, either, and Missy was far too well behaved to even think of stealing food, even from Lucky, much less us.

Poor Missy was always hungry… She’d meow so pitifully for food. All the time. ALL the time. She played as hard as Lucky did. Two kitties growing up together, chasing each other and wrestling. But Missy was a fatty pie. A little grey tabby and adorably roly poly. We had regular visits to the vet for edemas because she got “stopped up” frequently. That’s just how Missy was built.

Side note — I saw the work of a photographer who traveled the world to photograph lost tribes for National Geographic…

The photo shoots were glorious, and in every lost tribe, I saw the same thing. People came in all sizes. Short and heavy, short and wiry, tall and thin, tall and heavy. I don’t need to tell you that in a tribe that lives deep in the jungles of the world, outside the norms of civilization, the heavy ones were not likely eating everyone else’s food. How preposterous it would be to even think that.

Missy and Lucky ate exactly the same food…

I was much more pedantic back then. I’d put the food bowls down and sit on the floor to wait for Missy and Lucky to finish eating. Missy never stole Lucky’s food, although Lucky often tried to eat Missy’s.

Lucky was as muscular and lean. A lean, mean food-stealing machine. Missy was a little roly poly. Same age, same food. You see what I’m saying here? The vet would always say Missy’s body fat was too high. I’d say I know, but I’m not going to starve her. She eats less than Lucky, because Lucky steals food. We’re built how we’re built.

When I was younger, before Missy & Lucky, I had an eating disorder.

I always thought I was “too fat” even though I never was. When we have disordered eating, we say really dumb things — like size 7 is “too big” when you’re only 5'3". I dieted myself into misery and never dropped enough weight to like the body in the mirror. I got down to a size 3 and still didn’t like the body in the mirror. Now the problem was my thighs. Of course.

But then I got Lucky and Missy. And something about those two kitties changed me. Missy wasn’t worth less because she was overweight. Lucky wasn’t worth more because she was slim and lean. I loved them equally.

I didn’t really even think about it in those words. You know? Just loving them and watching them shifted something in my head. I just stopped equating size with worth.

Years later, I see that life is too short to spend it hating yourself. Yes, I can make sure to eat healthy food “most of” the time. But I’m okay with my chocolate obsession. Also, the ice cream obsession. And cupcakes. You know?

The more we become okay with who we are, the more all those thoughts fade away. At least that’s how it worked for me. Whether you like your body and size, or whether you don’t — it has nothing to do with worth.

Fat isn’t something we are. It’s something we have.

If you made it all the way down here, thanks for reading. ❤



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