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Matthew Sisk: Tricks equal treats and weight gain
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Leia is all grown up.

True, if you ask most kittens who are a few months old, they will insist they are fully grown as well.

Like a little sister watching her big brother play soccer, why should they have to wait? But for Leia, the sentiment is physiologically true.

The last time I examined her was just before her spay surgery, back when she weighed a little less than 7 pounds. I saw her two weeks later for suture removal, but other than online videos, I haven’t seen Leia in almost a year.

Today, she visits me for her first adult checkup.

I enter the exam room, and she’s in her owner’s lap on the couch in the corner. I greet her and her human and walk over to the exam table.

This would usually be when I ask the owner to place the cat on the table. But Leia is far from usual.

Her owner produces the clicker and says “sit,” followed by the click. Leia jumps down in the floor and sits in front of her owner. For this, she receives a pat on the head. I had seen her do this online.

Then Leia surprises me.

“Up, Leia” her owner instructs, then the click. In a flash, Leia and her 12 furry pounds are on the table in front of me.

“Say hello.” CLICK.

And whether I wanted it or not, Leia is head-butting my stomach. Most impressive.

Physically, she’s the same kitten I know, only bigger. And for that matter, just about as big as I want her to get. She’s bordering the overweight range that most cats, sadly, fit into.

I don’t want that for Leia. It predisposes to disease. It appears to be a side effect of her training (treats for tricks, so to speak). We discuss different options, and smaller bits of treat seem to be the fix.

I update Leia’s vaccines and we refill her parasite prevention. Provided she develops no health problems, I shouldn’t see her for a full year.

Serendipity will scuttle that plan in only three months.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at