fat catIt’s been two weeks since Ripley decided to reclaim her life. She now eats 1/4 cup of dry food twice a day (at seven in the morning and seven at night) and gets regular exercise by chasing a toy I bought her that consists of a kitty fishing pole with a feather and bell lure. By following this regiment, we hope, she will shed many of her 22 pounds.

However, our experiment has taken a sadly ironic turn. When we tried to weigh Ripley tonight, on the 14th day of her diet, my digital scale answered not with a number but with the sad words, LO BATT.

I looked up my scale on the internet so that I could order a new battery, only to discover that my scale had a lifetime lithium battery that should, in theory, last for as long as the scale. I dug deeper and found a disclaimer on the website that stated that if the scale was used extremely heavily – like in a gym locker room – the battery could die over time. But I had only had the scale for about three years and weighed myself about once a week — maybe twice a week during bouts of low self esteem. How could I have worn out a lifetime lithium battery?

Ben figured it out as soon as I put the question before him. Ripley broke the scale. Since we moved to New York a year ago, Ripley’s favorite place to sleep at night is, yes, on top of the scale. And the scale was probably constantly reading Ripley’s weight for hours at a time, all through the night, crying out for someone to please, please help this obese cat! Twenty-two pounds! Twenty-two pounds!

It must have died quietly sometime in the last two weeks. At the end it was probably only whispering: twenty-two pounds… twenty… two… pounds. The constant weight of my enormous sumo cat was too much for it, lifetime guarantee or no.

So. I don’t know if Ripley is losing weight. She seems hungry all of the time, when before she wasn’t. I take this as a good sign. She has gotten very good at bothering us at almost exactly seven in the morning and seven at night. She has even started begging whenever we’re eating anything, which she’s never done before. On the plus side, she seems to be much more energetic and active – not spending quite as much time in The Office.

In any case, I’m mailing the scale back to the company tomorrow and should get it back in a few weeks. In freak cases like this, they replace the scale for the cost of shipping. Despite not knowing our progress, we’ll keep Ripley on her diet and exercise plan and in high spirits. I’m just worried about where she’ll sleep in the meantime.

Read the first installment of Ripley: Cat on a Diet