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Fat Cats Get New Lease on Life

If you live in Houston, Texas, or Portland, Oregon, and you felt the streets trembling under your feet recently, it wasn't an earthquake. It was...

JaneA Kelley  |  Jan 12th 2012


If you live in Houston, Texas, or Portland, Oregon, and you felt the streets trembling under your feet recently, it wasn’t an earthquake. It was the sound of two morbidly obese cats out on the town in search of a home.

Tiny Tim, weighing in at a colossal 35.4 pounds, was found attempting to move around the Kirkwood area of Houston. He was picked up by BARC, the city’s animal rescue agency, just before Christmas and taken to the city animal shelter.

Some BARC volunteers heard about Tiny Tim and decided they couldn’t let him languish there, so they busted the fat feline out of the clink and brought him to a veterinary clinic, where he’s been boarded ever since. The clinic staff has him on a weight-loss program consisting of low-calorie food and exercise. Somehow, despite his severe obesity, Tiny Tim hasn’t developed diabetes, but because of his weight, the 8-year-old cat already has arthritis and struggles with mobility.

How Tiny Tim ended up on the streets is a mystery. It’s not as though a cat who can barely move is capable of slipping between his owner’s legs and out the door. The volunteers who rescued Tiny Tim have been putting flyers all over the area where he was found and contacting area veterinarians, but they haven’t heard from anyone who’s lost a pudgy puss.

“Its very unusual. This cat should weigh 12 pounds, and it weighs 35,” said veterinarian Dr. Alice Frei, one of his caretakers. “Theres no way a cat in this condition was living on the streets, so this cat had a very loving home.”

Meanwhile, in Portland, Walter arrived at the Oregon Humane Society shelter on Jan. 3, when his owner was forced to surrender him before moving into an assisted-living facility.

At 28 pounds, Walter is the fattest cat ever to have been in OHS’s custody. He weighs more than a big bag of kitty litter!

Walter has actually lost three pounds since he arrived at the shelter. The patient and sweet cat tolerates the exercise, although he’s barely able to move more than a few steps without assistance.But, according to humane society staff, he hates his diet food so much he’s hardly eaten any of it since he arrived.

I’d be worried about a fat cat refusing to eat, because obese cats who don’t eat and lose weight too quickly are particularly prone to potentially fatal fatty liver disease. But I’m sure the OHS staff and veterinarians are watching Walter very carefully to ensure that doesn’t happen.

These frighteningly fat felines might seem funny at first, but their weight is no laughing matter. Just like morbidly obese humans, fat cats run the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other debilitating conditions. Veterinarians are seeing more overweight cats than ever before, and it’s crucial that people understand the importance of a proper diet (including proper portion sizes) and exercise to keep their feline friends healthy.

If your feline friend is obese, I strongly recommend you work with your vet to get him on a weight-loss plan. It’s the best thing you can do to ensure that you and your cat spend many more happy years together.

This is a video of Walter taken by The Oregonian:

(In a reader? Watch the video here.)