My cat Lotus was getting lonely and out of shape, so I got her a membership at a health club for pets.
I got her the membership card, the fuchsia workout suit, and a little equipment bag. She spent the first half hour trying to get inside the bag.
The place has everything. There's an exercise room, two tracks (one for cats, one for dogs) and a co-ed health bar that serves a shake made with tuna chunks and soy milk.
I signed her up for an exercise class and stood outside the door watching. The instructor was a big tomcat with one gold ear ring.
Lotus spent half an hour doing stretches to music with 15 cats and a Lhasa Apso with an identity problem. It was just like the Y, except no one at the Y stops in the middle of class to lick her leg.
From what I can see, Pet Gym is like any other health club. They've got some well-muscled animals there, and a few Chihuahuas. When the members aren't working out they hang around sniffing each other--the usual.
After aerobics, Lotus tried a little weight training. They attached wires to her paws, and she did reps by batting at a mechanical bird.
Then she tried something that was supposed to be the feline version of a stair stepper. It wasn't really stepping, it was more like climbing an expensive set of curtains. She liked that, and I knew why.
Lotus didn't like everything about Pet Gym. I couldn't get her anywhere near the whirlpool. She did try the sauna, until the steam hissed at her.
She came out with her fur stuck to her body and gave me a look that said, "What have you done to me?" I got her a rub-down to make up for it.
While Lotus was being Rolfed, I checked out the book and video shop. I bought her a copy of the Morris workout tape, "Furniture Scratching to the Oldies". I think it'll make a nice change from those National Geographic bird specials she likes to watch.
All in all, I think the club was good for her, and it may even improve her social life. As we were leaving, I saw her giving her number to a well-groomed Persian.
Well, it's her business. I'm not going to act like the father of a teen-age girl, asking her questions about what she does on her dates. I figure, if she's old enough to join a health club, she's old enough to date.
Besides, she's fixed.
Illustrations by Bonnie Dean