Feral cat addicted to McDonald’s requires training to eat normal cat food again

Credit Ben Curran / Fairfax

Credit Ben Curran / Fairfax

A number of us that visit Whaleoil have identified with Cam’s struggles over the years.  It’s because a lot of us have similar ones.  Be they alcoholism, depression, personality disorders, brain chemistry issues, addictions, or what have you.

Some of us have won some battles, some of us slip back again only to fight the same battles again.

What makes Cameron’s struggle so valuable is that it has been in public, and we’ve all been able to root for someone that is deeply flawed.  Just like us.

His critics attack him for it.  His critics attack him through his flaws (they try to!).  But his critics are cowards who don’t expose their own demons.  Their infidelities, their child and wife beatings, their own struggles with drugs, food, weight, being deadbeat parents, and their tenuous grip on their own sanity in a stressful world.

What does all of this have to do with a feral cat being addicted to McDonald’s you may ask?

Almost 3 years ago, on Anzac Day, I finally conquered the vicious grip that alcohol had on me.  It wasn’t easy, and the year that followed was truly hard.  I had given up before, and been dry for some years.  But I had made the mistake of believing I could start again and control it.

I know better now.

Last year, I realised that I got on top of that demon sufficiently for it no longer to be a daily or even weekly struggle, and so it was time to start working on some other behavioural flaw.

I had fallen into the habit of buying my breakfasts at the McDonalds drive-through most mornings, and some lunches, and some dinners.  I was eating McDonalds 5-10 times a week.  If I had to be honest with myself, I didn’t even like eating it most of the time.  McDonalds, and BK and KFC for that matter, where just lazy ways to get some food.  My life was “too busy” and it was a “too easy” way to feed myself.

So easy that I would arrange appointments in such a way to ensure that I would be able to get my breakfast on the road between 10 and 10:30am on the way to an appointment. (How’s that for truly addictive behaviour?)

So last year I put a stop to that.  Anzac Day 2013 will be my first year clean of that kind of food.

Now, don’t get me wrong – those sorts of meals are just fine in moderation.  I’m not suggesting everyone avoid them altogether.  But here is what happened to me when I gave up McDonalds:

I was sick and had a “hang over” for several days.

Which leads neatly into this story about a feral cat that ended up being in a pretty poor state on a McDonalds diet.

For the past year patrons of the Frankton McDonald’s have been known to grab an extra burger, for the cat who lived in the restaurant’s car park, even to the point where he could barely eat anything else.

But the days of cheeseburgers and fries are over for “Frankie the Frankton Maccas Cat”, with the fast-food loving feline now safe in the care of the Waikato SPCA.

“He’s on a strict cat food-only diet now,” said Waikato SPCA field officer Jessica Watson.

Affectionately dubbed “Frankie” by McDonald’s workers, the black and white cat has been resident under the Golden Arches for the past year or so, ever since the residents of a nearby block of flats were evicted and the then-kitten was left behind.

Frankie set up shop in the car park to survive and quickly learned to follow cars as they came through the drive-through, running up to windows and waiting for patrons to throw him the odd chicken nugget or hunk of beef patty.

But a year of living rough – and a diet of fast food – took its toll and despite attempts by McDonald’s workers and concerned members of the public to catch him, Frankie started to slip into bad health.

“When I first took him home he refused to eat anything because it wasn’t McDonald’s and I seriously considered going back there to get him a burger.

“I would put pet food down and he would give me a look like ‘What is that?’

When it comes to addictive behaviours, I seem to be a top performer.  So I know it well enough:  unless you got to “that point”, then simply knowing you’re stuffing it up isn’t enough.  We all know we’re doing the wrong thing.  That’s the amazing conundrum about it all.  The simple secret is that you actually need to want to change more than you want to continue.  And that moment can take a while to arrive.

My biggest addictions over the last three years have been food, sugar and caffeine.  And you may have noted I was in hospital a few weeks ago.  Otherwise healthy, I’m overweight and was experiencing pain more severe than experienced during labour (confirmed by many – I can’t give a first hand account of this).

A chronic and intense pain does focus the mind, and I had already changed my diet to start some serious weight loss.  I cut out my 1-2 litre a day Coke habit, but I couldn’t do without the caffeine.  So I started drinking Coke Zero instead.

Weight loss was going well, I was feeling great, and I thought I had finally licked it.

And then I ended up in hospital.

Must be the Coke Zero, I decided.  Something in the Coke syrup.  So being the caffeine junky that I am, I switched to V instead.   Problem?  Not long after, I started to feel I was back on the same path that saw me stay in hospital for a week not that long ago.

Damn it.  It’s the caffeine.  Stupid.

I’ve resisted this moment.  I’ve twisted through every loophole.  I’ve taken every way to try to blame everything else.  But my body is over it.  To my body, alcohol, sugar, excessive fat and caffeine are now toxins.

So, I may be a few weeks short, but Anzac Day 2013 will be the marker for when I gave up caffeine after 30+ years of excessive consumption.

How can we be so smart, and yet so fallible?

Perhaps this post is your wake-up call to re-think what you’re doing to yourself that you know is wrong.  You know it has to end at some stage.  Maybe this is the nudge you needed to make today the day.

One thing I know for sure.  I have never met anyone that’s as perfect as they would like you to think they are.  We are all flawed and fallible.  So don’t let your pride get in the way.  And if you are the sort of person that does better with some help, then go get it.

See if you can be smarter than I am and stop your biggest flaw before something or someone makes you.

 

Source:  Stuff


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