'Shawshank Redemption Principle' governs full-time indoor cats

This article is about the failure of trying to get an obese full-time indoor cat outside for exercise. It was probably the first attempt. Things will improve with patience if that is what the caregiver wants.

This is an instructive video on a couple or more areas of domestic cat caregiving. The cat is Roxie. She is a tortoiseshell-and-white. She was a nice svelte charmer when she was adopted but ended up a tubalub in quite a short time. 

She became addicted to 'therapy eating' to alleviate her boredom. She also enjoyed watching feline television aka looking out the window at the birds and the bees. 


But that was the totality of her mental stimulation. Not enough. So, her loving caregiver throught that he'd take her out to his gorgeous back garden. So impressive. So big with a gardener on a motorised, sit-on lawnmower.

The Shawshank Principle governing indoor cats

It was all but impossible to get her into a harness for the lead. He managed with only one scratch. But she wouldn't go outside because she'd be programmed to remain inside. He never got around to walking her on a lead but that would've been impossible too.

The mental glass wall between her and the enticing outside was too much for her to overcome. She was frightened of the outside space. This happens.

When prisoners are locked up for 30 years, they often can't face the outside world anymore. Remember The Shawshank Redemption film? The old man who looked after the library who was finally released and within a short time hanged himself in a hostel. Too much for him. He could not cope with the real world. He had become institutionalised.

That happens to cats. They, too, can become institutionalised. But it can be overcome with patience. The guy in the video should make a second one. He should put the harness back on and open the patio door wide.

He should make a coffee and wait and wait and wait until his cat ventures forth gingerly into the terrifying world of freedom. She'll go outside eventually. I guarantee it. But on the lead so she is supervised. He'll have to train her to accept the lead though. That'll need more patience.

I have seen the exact same thing when staying with Helmi Flick in the US. Her cats are full-time indoor cats and they won't go through the open patio door.

But when she has passed through those doors to the outside, she'll beg to be allowed to do it again. That I guarantee as well.

But at this stage the man has a failure on his hands in trying to get his cat to lose some weight through exercise.

Feeding changes needed

The next stage is to put aside the clever automatic dry cat food feeder and provide high quality wet cat food only at prescribed times in prescribed quantities. Little by little she'll lose weight. He needs to do some maths to work out her weight loss diet. 

The best way to lose weight is by eating less not exercising more.

Feline weight loss should be slow to avoid hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) please note.

Here is an infographic on weight loss.

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