We had some bad news this week.
I took my stepson – Percy, the cat – to the vets the other day to have his routine jabs.
I say routine as if I know what they are, whereas in fact the only thing I know about them is that they set me back the best part of 100 quid.
Watching Percy have these injections always annoys me, for when the vet sticks the needle in, my cat sits obediently and looks completely unperturbed.
Indeed last time he had these jabs, he reclined on his back and began browsing a copy of Hello magazine.
However, if I go near Percy with so much as, say, a small harmless brush, he turns into a raging tiger and I end up bloodied and hopping round the kitchen, unsuccessfully trying to suppress the urge to utter a wide and colourful array of profanities.
But back to the vet… After these jabs, the vet – a very pleasant young girl with an ever-so-slight aroma of King Charles Spaniel – did some other general checks, one of which was to weigh young Percy.
It was at this point she frowned at the scales and said, ‘I’ll try that again’.
So she did. The exact same weight was displayed on the little digital monitor display thing, for which there must be a term, but I don’t know what it is so I’m going to refer to it as a little digital monitor display thing.
‘Well I’m afraid Mr Canavan,’ she said in a tone reminiscent of my high school teacher reprimanding me for pouring a bottle of water over Gemima Ellerton’s head during geography, ‘your cat is overweight’.
I didn’t know what the correct reaction was to that, so I waited for a moment and then played it safe. ‘Oh’, I said.
‘Yes, it’s nothing too much to worry about,’ she continued, ‘but for a cat of his age he should be less than that’.
‘Oh’ I said again; I was struggling, I’ve never had a conversation about cat weight before.
The vet was very nice after that – I think because she sensed I might burst into tears and wail ‘but Elizabeth and I have always tried to do the best for our child’ – and gently told me that we had to cut back on what we feed him.
It turns out the leftovers of a tin of tuna, a couple of Whiskas’ sachets, a bowlful of dried biscuits, and the fluff off my right sock is too much on a day-to-day basis.
It has not been easy though.
In the first week on his new reduced diet, he has been very temperamental.
He paces the kitchen shooting moody looks in our direction, and hasn’t once contributed to the housework, despite my express order that he hoover the back bedroom.
We’ve managed to cut his diet by about half (occasionally I relent and give him a little extra sock fluff), though it has led to a couple of sleepless nights due to the little rascal hopping into our bedroom in the early hours and loudly meowing, howling and generally causing a scene.
I think, however, I solved this at 4am on Monday by violently throwing him headfirst out of the window. He’s been a lot quieter since, though on the downside he is walking with a heavy limp.
(That last paragraph, for any RSPCA officers reading, was a joke; I threw him feet first out the window).
But hopefully, helped by our new-found discipline in the feeding department, we’ll get him down to his fighting weight soon.
We are booked in for another appointment at the vets in a fortnight, though I think I’ll let Mrs Canavan take Percy to that one – being admonished a second time for raising an unhealthy child might be too much to take.
If you want to get in shape, just go for a walk
Tone Tee. Have you heard of them?
Due to the fact that a large part of my working day involves watching television (and my non-working days too come to think of it), I have. Several times. And the advert gets more wonderful on each occasion.
The ToneTee, for those not au fait with this mind-blowing product, costs a bargain £19.95 and, according to the ad, will change your life.
Using special “360 degree hi-tech fabric” (whatever the flip that is), this is a T-shirt that, in a nutshell, transforms any fella carrying a bit of weight into a six-packed hunk.
That’s right. Just by pulling on a T-shirt, you can have a body like David Beckham (though unfortunately not the face).
The advert begins by showing several overweight people looking morose and down-on-their-luck. They’re clearly sitting around thinking ‘woe is me, I’m too big to be accepted by normal society – whatever can I do?’
Then they put on this T-shirt (which, judging by how tight it is, must take several hours to squeeze into) and suddenly they are ridiculously slim (though turning blue because they can no longer breathe).
The ad then shows the same blokes as before, but no longer are they miserable. No, now they are all smiley and happy and out on dates with attractive women. In one scene a gentleman wearing a Tone Tee shirt walks down a high street and every single women turns to admire his beautifully toned torso.
What the ad doesn’t show, of course, is the moment this bloke goes out on a date with one of these ladies, takes off his T-shirt off front of her, and is transformed from slimline good-looker into flabby loser.
It’s an advert which taps into the fears and hang-ups of today’s folk, this generation where young girls want to be the air-brushed size zero model on the front of a fashion magazine without realising that it’s actually OK to be a normal weight and have a few bumps and lumps. Young men are just as hung-up about things, hence the Tone Tee.
If the makers of it can afford to pay for TV adverts, it is obviously selling well, but it seems a bit of a sad situation to me. If you want to get in shape, I’d suggest going for a walk of an evening, as opposed to buying a T-shirt.