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5 Ways My Cats Have Helped Me Lose 60 Pounds

It's true: caring for six spoiled house cats helps me lose weight -- and I've lost a lot over the past year.

 |  Sep 16th 2013  |   18 Contributions


Over the past year, I have lost nearly 60 pounds. Besides cutting down on how much I eat, I have been caring for six spoiled house cats. You may wonder, what is so hard about that? How could someone possibly burn enough calories to make a difference just taking care of six cats? Believe me, it takes a lot of work, sweat, and pure muscle.

Let me share a list of just a few ways my furry household helps me burn those extra calories. I dare you to argue with me.

1. Dipping the cat boxes

You want to talk about a never-ending chore! With six cats, I dip the boxes daily, and as soon as I am done, the cats are there to fill them back up. The cats are always sitting there waiting for me to finish each box so they can get in there and mess them up again; sometimes the cats will even use the boxes while I am trying to dip them. Talk about a Sisyphean task.

Mei-Ling is ready to jump in the newly cleaned box -- at least that gives me a reason to lug the jug of litter back in!

2. Lugging massive quantities of heavy jugs of cat litter

I have three large cat boxes for my six cats. Each box takes 28 pounds of litter to fill it. That finds me carrying 84 pounds of litter twice a month. Plus, all of that litter eventually gets lugged out of the house in trash bags, twice as heavy as when it went in.

Wanna give me a hand with these, Oats?

3. Laundry, laundry, laundry

With six cats, I do a lot of laundry. Be it my or my hubby’s clothing, the cats’ beds, removable couch covers, or our bedding that they so love to snuggle in, laundry is a constant cycle of removing cat hair -- only to have the cats commence shedding it all over as soon as everything is hair-free. Plus, there are other gross presents (you know what I mean) left in various locations around the home that need attention with rags and cleaner. Those little gifts get a wash load all to themselves. I don't know anyone who does as much laundry as I do without getting a paycheck for it.

Oats wants to help me put away the laundry by adding extra fur to it.

4. Grooming the cats

This may not sound like it would work any muscle groups, but when you have six cats who all need frequent brushing and regular nail-clipping, it can get crazy. This is especially true when the majority of the cats don’t like having either done, and they wiggle, bite, and generally fight you the whole time you are trying to make them pretty. You would think they would appreciate all the hard work, but no. After their beauty sessions, I get looks of death and shame. Then they return to sharpening their claws on anything not moving and shedding hair so fast you would swear they are using Rogaine.

Brushing Oats is like getting into a wrestling match. Works out all your arm muscles.

5. Vacuuming

Did I mention I have six house cats? I read somewhere that a typical cat grows a total of 60 feet of hair a day. Multiply that by six and that is 360 feet of hair a day in my household. Where is all that hair? Well, eventually it is shed all over my house and furniture. Some months, when shedding is high, it even floats in the air.

Vacuuming and sweeping cat hair is a full-time job in my home, and that definitely works up a sweat. I may only have a 1,200-square-foot home, but vacuuming it twice a week adds up to lots of miles. Don’t even get me started on dusting.

Oats wants to check out the vacuum cleaner bag. It's probably full of hairballs.

As you can see, taking care of cats can help you lose weight. The more cats you have, the more calories you can burn. That sounds like a great excuse to collect more cats to me. Too bad my husband does not agree.

What are the things you do for your cats that burn through calories like nobody’s business? I would love to commiserate with you! Share your stories in the comments below.

"What is this thing? She keeps coming over to look at it."

About Angela Lilly: This plus-sized, longtime-vegetarian, tree-hugging dirt-worshiper geeks out over anything Wookiee, keeps a birding life list with glee, and thinks taking lookalike pictures with her cat Meeko is totally normal. With her Halloween-obsessed, home-haunter hubby of more than two decades and their six house cats, she enjoys her world through writing poetry, macro photography, art collecting, and reading naughty, trashy novels.

Read more by Angela Lilly, and more stories about cats and exercise:

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